Sometimes, a person is charged with a drug offense when he or she is completely innocent. In other cases, the person is guilty of a relatively minor crime like misdemeanor possession, but prosecutors charge them with a more serious felony, like distribution. This raises the stakes of the outcome of the case, because it raises the possibility of harsher penalties.
A woman who had a New York man living in her home says that he was the one selling drugs, not her. Nevertheless, police arrested the woman earlier this year on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute.
The arrest came in February, after police raided the woman’s home. They claim to have found 12.5 grams of crack cocaine and 12.2 grams of heroin inside.
While under questioning, the woman admitted being addicted to drugs, and said that a man living in the home, originally from Brooklyn, was supporting her habit. While apparently using drugs to control her, the man forced her to sell drugs that he brought into the home, she said. It does not appear that the Brooklyn man was arrested.
In a case like this, prosecutors may pressure the defendant to accept a plea bargain, which generally means a reduced charge in exchange for a guilty plea. But readers should recall that every criminal defendant, including those facing drug charges, is innocent until proven guilty. Nobody charged with a drug crime should accept a plea bargain without consulting with a defense attorney first.
The woman has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony possession.
Source: Rutland Herald, “Woman denies drug trafficking charge,” April 16, 2014