If you get busted for drugs in New York you are in serious trouble. While campaigns everywhere tell us that drug addiction is a disease, there is a good chance that will never be mentioned in court as they lock you up for your crime. This is why you need an aggressive Westchester County drug crime lawyer who can possibly get you treatment instead of jail time.

Today, drug use is an epidemic, there is no denying that. People are abusing illicit drugs and prescription drugs more than ever before. The supply and demand for these drugs is evident but getting your hands on the supply is another story. Addiction is a disease and can cause people to do things they never dreamed of in times of desperation. This is why the crime rate for drug abusers is so high.

People, when seeking out drugs, will rob, steal, assault, and worse. Many of these people that commit these crimes are not hardened criminals and if they didn’t have the disease of addiction, they would never engage in this type of behavior. So when an arrest is made in a case where addiction is the true culprit, it is crucial to contact a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in getting you treatment instead of jail time.

Incarcerating these types of criminals is why recidivism rates as so high. Nearly 80 percent of all people incarcerated are drug abusers and 50 percent are clinically addicted. 60 percent of all people arrested are high. About 80 percent will commit crimes after release, and 95 percent will return to prison. This is a constant reminder that the system currently in place isn’t working.

Over the years, the courts have been recognizing that treatment vs. incarceration is a better option for everyone. Treatment, in conjunction with various programs reduces the rate of recidivism respectively. Possession alone of illegal substances is a crime but it is important to clarify and build a defense as to why you were in possession of these substances.

In 1973, New York enacted New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws which mandated lengthy prison sentences for drug offenders. This was long before the true scope of drug addiction was revealed and brought to the public eye. The law was amended several times, the last amendment taking place in 2009.

The final amendment included changes including the removal of mandatory prison sentences for some drug offenses, and the reduction of minimum sentence lengths for others. In October 2009, Article 216 of the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) became effective, expanding judicial discretion to offer drug court alternatives to certain addicted non-violent offenders.

When a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney presents these figures in court and ask the court for treatment, the odds are in your favor, if you seek help from someone who knows what they are doing. Arrested or not, you do have rights. If you have been arrested for a drug crime, this is serious business and your future is on the line if you do not act swiftly. Call an experienced Westchester County drug crime lawyer now.

By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.

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