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If you’ve been arrested for the unlawful possession of drugs, it is extremely important that you seek legal representation. While possession charges vary in nature and severity, all of them carry potentially devastating repercussions. You will want a law firm both adept at handling the intricacies of a drug law case and sympathetic to your personal situation. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we can proudly say that we epitomize both of these assets. For years, we’ve helped our clients face their legal ordeals head-on and reduce their prospective penalties. Whether you’re facing probation, community service, heavy fines or jail time, we know how to best approach a case so as to tilt the odds in your favor. Some other consequences of conviction may include forfeiture of your personal assets, a freezing of your spending accounts, entry into mandatory treatment programs, and enrollment in scheduled drug tests. An additional point to note: there are many drug crimes that are considered felonies. If you are convicted of a felony, your life will be permanently altered for the worse. Your permanent record will be marred, and you’ll suffer all the tagalong disadvantages. You will no longer be able to own a firearm, and finding steady employment will become more challenging. Because of this, if you are facing felony charges you will want to retain the counsel of a law firm with expertise in knocking felony charges to misdemeanors- and Kaplan Lawyers PC is just such a firm.

Quick Facts

  • Not all drugs are created equal. Possession of drugs like heroin and crack cocaine often result in more severe penalties. Drugs are classified into different categories, called “schedules,” as in: “codeine is a Schedule-II drug.” For reference, Kaplan Lawyers PC has provided a full drug possession / penalty chart.
  • Likewise, not all drug crimes are adjudicated in the same way. In virtually all circumstances, the distribution or selling of drugs is considered a more serious crime than drug possession / use.
  • In 2013, a study showed that a little over 50% of all inmates in the United States of America were incarcerated, at least partially, because of a drug-related offense. Of this 50%, a great majority of inmates (approx. 91%) are serving time due to drug trafficking infringements. Only a small percentage of inmates are serving lengthy jail sentences for mere possession.
  • Carrying drug paraphernalia is likewise a crime. Even if you have no actual drugs on your person, possession of items like pipes and bongs, or equipment used to measure and package drugs, may result in arrest.
  • Prescription drugs that are categorized as technically “legal” yet are “controlled” are also illegal to carry without a proper prescription, and their resale is not allowed.

The Evolution of the Rockefeller Laws

New York is famous for its ultra-draconian drug regulations, the “Rockefeller Laws,” (so named after the initiator of these codified set of laws, then-mayor Nelson Rockefeller.) These stringent guidelines set out to reduce narcotic drug crimes by imposing heavier-than-average fines and sentences for all offenders and, importantly, exponentially rising fines and sentences for repeat offenders.

For example: getting caught selling (2) ounces heroin or other opiates, marijuana, cocaine or other similar drugs, or possessing (4) ounces of these drugs meant a minimum sentence of (15) years in prison.

The strict nature of these laws earned New York the reputation of having the country’s firmest drug laws, and the schema was soon imitated. States like Michigan also adopted similarly stringent codes.

Reaction to these laws, however, were not all as favorable.

In 2009, the Rockefeller Laws were revised. Public opinion was that the Rockefeller Laws were too strict, and they led to unjustly harsh verdicts. The main point of contention, that being the minimum sentence, was removed. Henceforth, judges were able to use their discretion and sentence light offenders to probationary periods, treatment alternatives, or shorter, less severe jail sentences.