New Drug Bill to Lower Penalties for Possession of Controlled Substances Gains Support from Criminal Lawyers

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According to the Los Angeles Times (May 2nd, 2013), lawmakers have voted to make possession of controlled substances (heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, and others) a misdemeanor rather than a felony offense. MacGregor & Collins Orange County criminal lawyers believe the decision to be hugely beneficial to decreasing prison overcrowding as well as improving rehabilitation rates amongst controlled substance abusers.

SB 649 California

Possession of a controlled substance can now result in a misdemeanor.

If we put them in an environment where drug use is accepted and then take away their opportunities to obtain a legitimate income once they are released, no one is going to benefit. I think we will see very positive results in the long run from SB 649.

According to the Los Angeles Times (May 2nd, 2013), lawmakers have voted to make possession of controlled substances (heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, and others) a misdemeanor rather than a felony offense. MacGregor & Collins Orange County criminal lawyers believe the decision to be hugely beneficial to decreasing prison overcrowding as well as improving rehabilitation rates amongst controlled substance abusers.

The LA Times reports that the bill met a great deal of resistance from the California State Sheriffs Association, California District Attorneys Association, and the California Police Chiefs Association, as the measure is considered amongst many law enforcement groups to be a threat to public safety.

Senator Jim Nielsen, a major opponent to the bill, argues that this measure could have negative consequences. “They know they don’t have to go to treatment. They can walk away and there is no consequence. This particular bill will reward that continued criminality,” said Nielson to the Los Angeles Times.

SB 649 cleared the senate floor with a 23-14 vote. Although this could lead to possession of controlled substance charges being reduced to a misdemeanor, the prosecution will be given the ultimate authority.

Randy Collins, Orange County criminal attorney, has represented several controlled substance offenders and believes the bill is increasing the State’s chances of success when dealing with drug addicts and abusers. “Politicians have long struggled with the idea that incarceration for drug crimes can make problems worse. There is no question in my mind that true rehabilitation favors those who avoid incarceration. Jail and prison overcrowding in California is a serious problem. Politicians have to make real concessions to keep dangerous criminals in jail and give non-violent offenders a second chance. Not only is this in the best interest of California as a whole, it has the best chance of truly rehabilitating hard-core drug users.

“The opposition is under the impression that this may result in dangerous drug offenders being let loose on the streets, but that is simply not the case. Many of these drug users want to stop using. If we put them in an environment where drug use is accepted and then take away their opportunities to obtain a legitimate income once they are released, no one is going to benefit. I think we will see very positive results in the long run from SB 649,” said Attorney Collins.

About MacGregor & Collins, LLP

MacGregor & Collins, LLP is a law firm that represents those facing charges for controlled substances including heroin, crystal meth, vicodin, oxycontin, and more. If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges, consulting with Orange County criminal attorneys for a free professional case evaluation may be in your best interest.

Call 949-250-6097 to get the information you are looking for from a MacGregor & Collins legal professional.

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