An Ohio woman who was initially detained on charges related to alleged shoplifting was also charged with several drug offenses after police searched her purse.
Ohio prisons are 30 percent over capacity right now, which is one of the reasons that many experts are supporting a ballot measure that would make the possession of a low-level drug a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Ohio is heading to the polls and will be voting on Issue 1, a proposal that's getting a lot of pushback.
Ohio residents reading the newspapers or listening to the news often hear that a certain person or group has been charged with committing a number of crimes and mostly assume that if someone has been charged with committing a crime, they most certainly must have committed it. However, many people are not aware of the process known as criminal charge stacking-the process of adding more criminal charges than is actually fair.
While many people facing criminal charges may find themselves getting a prison sentence, this is not always the result of a conviction. Depending on the type of the crime one has committed, the severity of it, the defendant's criminal history, their age and the effect of the crime on others, different types of sentences could be pursued. Alternative sentencing can be especially beneficial when it comes to dealing with minor drug crimes, as an Ohio defendant could get treatment for an addiction rather than penalized for it.
Many Ohio residents may not even be aware that they have controlled substances in their pockets or that they commonly ingest substances that are considered drugs. Prescription drugs, such as opioids, are considered controlled substances, but possessing them is legal if the person has a valid prescription for it.
A previous post highlighted how lightly many individuals take the term 'misdemeanor' and accept criminal charges, including those related to drug crimes, classified as such. However, even the slightest blemish on one's record can have long-term repercussions-it can prevent someone from getting the job they want, live in the building they have been coveting and even play a role in child custody and visitation disputes.
When someone has made the offer of pleading down a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, many people jump at the chance without fully understanding what it is that they are agreeing to. This is especially the case when someone is facing drug charges, as a means to avoid the uncertainty of a criminal trial and the cost of going through the long haul. But a new podcast focusing on the criminal justice system in Ohio highlights the flaws in this way of thinking.
As mentioned recently on this blog, the penalties associated to a conviction for various criminal charges, including drug crimes, can be life changing. A criminal record prevents a person from moving on with their life and becoming a productive member of society, even if they have paid back their debt to society. A single blemish on someone's record can prevent a person from getting a job, living in certain locales and applying from certain jobs. It doesn't get any better as time goes on -- in fact the frustration of not being able to move about freely and earn a living might be enough to turn a person back to a life of crime.
An indictment is issued by a grand jury to charge someone of committing a serious crime. A grand jury completes a formal investigation, comprising of sworn testimony and physical evidence, before determining if there is probably cause for criminal charges. An indictment is considered to have more weight than a criminal complaint. An arrest takes place after the indictment is issued.
Sometimes, one mistake snowballs into another and without realizing it, someone can turn a bad situation into a worse one. An example of this is running away from the scene of the crime or accident that one might be accused of partaking in. This is perhaps the predicament a 39-year-old man in Ohio finds himself in, as he faces multiple charges associated with bringing drugs into a jail after getting arrested. These charges are in addition to the original ones he is facing, relating to the crimes he was arrested for.