How can the national budget can effect drug possession charges in Denton, Texas? President Trump recently made public his proposed national budget for drug possession. In the Trump Proposed Budget were spending priorities to combat the Nation’s opioid crisis. Some common opioids include heroin, cocaine, morphine and prescription drugs such as hydrocodone (synthesized from codeine) and OxyContin (a brand name for oxycodone). The first thing you need to know is that the President of the United States does not set the budget for the Country nor, does the President control how tax dollars are allocated. However, as President, he can draw public attention to things he believes are a priority. The public interest can, in turn, put pressure on Congress to reflect those priorities in the budget that is passed.

Congress has recently passed a two-year budget and it did include $6 billion dollars to fight the opioid crisis. Congress did not, in the budget, legislate exactly how and where the money would be spent. Instead, Congress directed that the Health and Human Services Department to allocate the money. As the Health and Human Services Department is part of the Executive Branch, the spending of the money will be done according to President Trump’s plan for fighting the opioid crisis.

So, what’s in the plan? President Trump’s proposed budget emphasized spending money on prevention, treatment and recovery from addiction. Notably, additional spending on law enforcement efforts were not emphasized. It was proposed by Trump that the Drug Enforcement Agency only receive one-half of one percent of the 6 billion dollars in approved spending. Far more money was recommended to go to drug therapies to treat addiction and drugs to reverse the effects of over doses. The proposed budget also allocated $500 million to support public-private partnerships that will work on prevention, treatment, overdose reversal medications and non-addictive pain therapies. President Trump’s proposed budget, while not the law, gives us excellent insight into how his Health and Human Services Department will spend the money provided by Congress.

With the current public emphasis on treatment and recovery, persons accused of illegally possessing heroin, cocaine or prescription opiates can expect less harsh treatment in the Justice System than in times past. In fact, emphasizing treatment and recovery has been a priority in many Texas law enforcement jurisdictions for the last several years. Denton County, Texas has created not one but, two different Drug Court Programs to serve defendants charged with possession of heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs. Today, if a defendant accused of drug possession is willing to work the program, that person can exit the Justice System without serving prison time, without a felony conviction and without a permanent criminal record.

A first offense of possession of heroin, cocaine or prescription drugs can be routed to the Denton County First Offender Drug Program (FODP). This is a six month program that emphasizes abstinence from drugs and substance counseling. It is a minimally invasive program that is aimed at casual users who are not addicted but, need additional accountability to keep from continued illegal drug possession and the possibility of dependence in the future. For people with current drug abuse issues there is Drug Court.

Defendant’s charged with illegal possession of heroin, cocaine or prescription drugs, who have a history with drug possession, can still get treatment through the Justice System. The Denton County Drug Court is a program of formal probation wherein drug testing, treatment and counseling is emphasized. This program is open to defendants with multiple drug possession charges and to people who may have already committed probation violations be testing positive for drugs while on probation. The object of the Drug Court to give people who have been accused of possession of controlled substances more than once an alternative to incarceration. It is an especially helpful option when a defendant is accused of violating probation by testing positive for drugs while on probation.

Probation violations and subsequent drug possession cases often result in incarceration specifically because previous attempts at community supervision have failed. However, Denton County drug charges are now being handled much differently. There is hope that a person can be charged with possession of a controlled substance or violating probation and receive treatment instead of incarceration. The prevention, treatment and recovery model is growing into toddler-hood for Denton County possession of controlled substance charges. We may be seeing this models birth at the federal level.

Contact the Law Offices of The Peugh Law Firm

While drug possession may seem like a minor offense, the possible penalties show that the state of Texas considers it to be a very serious crime. You could end up spending the rest of your life in prison. In addition to being sentenced to years and years in prison you may also be fined thousands of dollars. Because of these potential consequences, even if you have been charged with one of the less serious drug possession offenses you should immediately contact an attorney who has experience defending those accused of drug possession. The staff at the The Peugh Law Firm has years of experience successfully defending clients in Denton County criminal courts who have been accused of possession, distribution and manufacturing offenses. Contact us at (940) 566-0271 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

 

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