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New bill provides viable alternative for drug possession charges

An arrest on drug possession charges and other allegations related to drugs in Ohio can cause significant problems in a person's life. With the possibility of jail time, fines and more, it is a profound negative on the person's record. In addition, the arrest and conviction does little to help those who are suffering from an addiction and need treatment more than they need incarceration. Having a viable defense against drug charges is only part of the process. If there is a drug diversion program available, this can be beneficial.

Keeping track of the laws related to these issues is key and a recent vote brings the state closer to tilting toward treatment instead of punishment. Those who are dealing with drug charges should be aware of this as they prepare for their case. An overwhelming majority in the Ohio House of Representatives voted to reform the drug laws and provide treatment instead of a conviction for people who are addicted. Currently, an estimated 1,600 of the 2,600 people who are incarcerated for drug possession had small amounts on them. The goal of the new bill is to seek alternatives to punishing people for being addicted.

This does not mean that all people will be able to get out of a jail sentence due to addiction. However, the court will have the right to give treatment instead of convicting people. Those facing serious crimes will not be considered candidates. If the bill is passed, there will also be an increase in criminal records being sealed so those with lower-level crimes on their record can have a better chance of getting jobs they otherwise would not have gotten.

Some instances in which a person was charged with possession felonies would be reduced to misdemeanors. These individuals would have access to treatment. Also, the amount of marijuana and hash that currently warrants charges for aggravated drug trafficking will be raised to reduce the number of people dealing with these charges.

Although the new law has not been put into action yet, it is a good sign for people who have been charged with drug possession. Treatment and drug diversion are effective in many cases and for the state it is cost-effective. Still, before the law is changed, those dealing with drug possession charges should remember they have rights to a strong defense. A law firm that understands all aspects of drug charges should be called for guidance and help to combat the charges.

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