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Drug Charges in New York: An Overview From A Criminal Defense Attorney

Interviewer: What are the different kind of drugs, that you see your clients dealing with here as a criminal defense attorney?

Lisa Pelosi: Here in New York, there’s been an increase in heroine coming into New York State, and other states as well. We’re seeing a lot of people arrested for heroine arrests, we’re also seeing a continued increase in certain pills, such as Oxycodone, Percocet and so on.

Marijuana is Currently Becoming More Decriminalized in Various States Across the US

Interviewer: What about marijuana usage, is that still common.

Lisa Pelosi: Everybody knows that people are using marijuana, it’s becoming a bit more decriminalized in various states including New York State in terms of people who are smoking it. But people are still being arrested for selling marijuana, or having large amounts of marijuana, the police will still make an arrest for people who are selling marijuana. But for small usage, and amounts, the arrests are going down for it’s being decriminalized a bit and that people are getting summons rather than being brought into the system formally.

The Differences Between a Possession Case and an Intent To Sell Case

Interviewer: What are some of the major differences between possession versus the intent to sell kind of case?

Lisa Pelosi: The courts are more open to giving someone a chance, who are arrested for use amounts that are on the person or in their car, something like that. As lawyers, we can do a lot more as a criminal defense attorney for people who are using the drugs. It opens the doors for various treatment programs, and even to the extent of getting cases dismissed for clients. So people who are using drugs and want to get help, criminal justice system, is more lenient with trying to help those people, as opposed to people who are in the drug business for selling drugs to make money.

The District Attorney’s Office Takes Strict Notice of Drugs in the Vicinity of Schools and Courts

Especially near schools, the courts and judges, and the district attorney’s offices, are less likely to try to give someone a second chance if people are caught selling. Every now and then, you have situations where at a low level, people are addicts who are selling to support their own habit. With those cases, we try to explain that to the prosecutor to get the addict to selling for his or her own use, a better deal, including treatment.

The Evidence Utilized to Prosecute a Drug Related Offense in New York

Interviewer: What does the prosecutor look for in a drug case?

Lisa Pelosi: The prosecutor will always look for how much drugs people have on their person and whether or not it’s for sale as indicated by when the persons arrested. If they have a lot of money on them or high amount of drugs. They’ll also look at drug paraphernalia, for example. A pipe, people who are using a crack, or rolled up bills for people who are doing cocaine. Those would be signs of an addict versus someone who’s just selling solely for the purpose of financial gain.

Being a Former Prosecutor Helps a Criminal Defense Attorney to Deal with Cases on Many Different Level

Interviewer: Does being a former prosecutor help out with drug cases specifically? Kind of knowing what direction they are going to be headed?

Lisa Pelosi: I think being a former prosecutor always helps me defend my clients because I have a firsthand knowledge of how the district attorney’s offices work. I think that having that background helps me to have a better understanding of what the district attorney is looking for, when someone is arrested.  It’s always a goal of mine, and when dealing with drug cases, working with the person arrested and their family. If they are abusing drugs I try to get them help because otherwise, putting them in jail and letting them stay in jail is not going to help the problem. They are just going to get out and reoffend because they are still going to be needing drugs and they will do the same. So people who need drugs, or who are addicts need to do to survive.

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