Several factors warrant probation; a first offense, mitigating factors such as no prior history or that the client went into counseling, or if the client agreed to work with undercover agents—all of these can be a reason for the judge to suspend jail time. If you’re at a felony level, the judge can send you to prison, or he can suspend the prison sentence and put you on probation. Sometimes along with felony probation comes a jail term that can be from a minimum of thirty to maybe a hundred and eighty days, depending on the judge.
Most of the time for a simple possession charge, if we can’t get the felony knocked out we can get a recommendation from the prosecutor to put the individual on probation. The judge will put them on probation and impose a thirty-day jail sentence instead of sending them to prison. Sometimes we can go even further and get work release for that person so they don’t lose their job. We can sometimes put them on home confinement with electronic monitoring.
Would the Courts Consider a First Time Offender’s Clean Record?
Absolutely! In most of those cases, before any kind of sentencing the court orders what they call a pre-sentence report. The individual will report to a probation agency which will compile a bunch of information about the client. I find a lot of times that the probation reports prepared by those companies or the probation officers are not complete, so I prepare my own for my clients and I submit letters from their employers, church leaders, family members– anything that I can to give the judge information about my client before sentencing to get the best possible outcome.
To get the suspended jail time or get home confinement instead of the time in jail, I’ll tell my clients to go do their best to get any kind of job and show the judges that you are working. Go get yourself enrolled in school, we can say that you’re in school and you’re trying to make a change and that you’re trying to better yourself. All of that information shows that the client is trying to be a productive member of society.
What Have You Seen Drug Charges Do to Someone’s Employment Prospects?
When it comes to someone’s criminal record, the top problem for people would be theft. The next one on the list would probably drug charges. When employers see a conviction for drug charges, they often just assume the worst: that this person is using drugs and they’re out of control.
Another thing that we haven’t really talked about is that a drug conviction will be reported to the driver’s license division and they will suspend your license for six months, whether it involved a vehicle or not. You could be in your house or on the back porch of your apartment complex smoking some marijuana; your neighbor calls, the police comes to investigate, you admit to it and they find it. You go to court and you’re convicted. That conviction then gets reported to driver’s license division automatically.
People don’t realize this is possible and it’s often a shock to them. “The thing didn’t involve my car, I wasn’t even driving, I wasn’t even near my car, I didn’t even have my keys in my pocket and they’re suspending my driving licenses?” This is just one of the things they do to discourage people from these kinds of charges. When you combine drug charge and no license, it makes it hard for people to find a job and get where they need to go.
For more information on Probation in Drug Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (801) 554-5220 today.