Drug Addiction and Criminal Defense

There are a variety of reasons individuals experiment or become addicted to drugs, such as: social history, genetic disposition, use by friends and/or family members, income level, how the individual handles stress, etc.  A list from most addictive to least addictive substances include:

1) Heroin – the most addictive substance.  Users often feel intense drug cravings and withdraw when denied this substance.
2) Crack Cocaine – crack is the most potent form of cocaine.  Due to the fact that the high lasts approximately 15 minutes, it leads to repeated use which speeds up the onset of addiction.
3) Nicotine – State and community laws criminalize tobacco use for persons under aged.  The number of smokers who have tried to quit and failed is a testament to how addictive tobacco is.
4) Methadone – it is often used to treat opiate addictions.  This substance is also addictive, and can lead to withdraw symptoms.  This is viewed as a lesser evil when treated under medical supervision.
5) Methamphetamine/Crystal Meth – Ecstasy also is in the same class of drugs as methamphetamine.
6) Alcohol – severe alcohol withdraw can lead to death in the wrong circumstances.
7) Cocaine – although this does not get into the bloodstream as quickly as crack cocaine, this drug also has a short high and tolerance can build over time.  Addiction can lead to intense cravings.
8) Amphetamines (for example: addreall, ritalin) – often abused for benefits such as weight loss, energy, confidence, and focus.
9) Benzodiazepines (for example: xanax, valium, klonopin) – used to calm nerve.  Tolerance can build, making it more difficult to quit.
10) GHB – This is a club drug, that addicts need to constantly take to avoid severe withdraw symptoms.
Persons with substance abuse issues often need experienced criminal defense lawyers, such as Attorney Daniel Hilf of the law firm Hilf & Hilf, PLC.  Hilf & Hilf, PLC is located at 1775 W. Big Beaver Road in Troy, Michigan  48084.
The use and abuse of these substances go hand in hand with the criminal justice system in several different ways.  First, possession in itself of several of the above substances and paraphernalia related to some of the above substances is illegal.  Second, the use of some of these substances can lead to risky or uncharacteristic behavior such as driving under the influence, domestic violence, sex offenses, or other crimes.  Third, addiction can lead to criminal activity such as retail fraud, larceny, prescription fraud, and other offenses to support or maintain the addiction.  Fourth, addiction can lead to an acceptance of a criminal lifestyle, and a rejection of the addict’s previous value system, which makes it easier for the individual to participate in criminal acts.
There are many mentally ill persons who use drugs and/or alcohol to self medicate.  Persons with both a mental health and a drug/alcohol issue are often referred to as dual diagnosis.  These matters are often the most complex and challenging for the criminal justice system.  In some instances, the solution is as simple as a psychiatrist finding the right medication for the person to take.
Sadly, most inmates are in jail or prison, at least in some part, for a substance abuse or alcohol issue.  Studies have shown that jail or prison alone, without effective rehabilitative services, does not promote recovery.  Even though the individual might be clean, he or she is likely to return to drug or alcohol use without help.
There are services available through the Court system that in many cases lead to a sober lifestyle: drug testing; inpatient drug treatment; outpatient drug treatment; NA/AA meetings; mental health treatment; potential for incarceration for any treatment program, probation, or parole violations; in some instances the ability to keep the conviction offense from appearing on the individual’s record (in Michigan this commonly occurs for drug offenses under section 333.7411 or for offenders under the age of 21 years through HYTA).
A more recent development is the proliferation of adult treatment courts (ATC).  Adult treatment courts, recognize that relapse might be part of the recovery process, but stress that personal accountability is a key component to recovery.  In adult treatment court programs usually intense treatment is combined with individual scrutiny.  Through the support and support services offered the individual tries to learn what stressors lead to relapse.  Potential rewards which may be available include the ability to maintain a restricted drivers license, possible expungement of the conviction, the creation of a support system for the individual, acknowledgement of the individual through his or her success of maintaining sobriety.
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the Court system, not everyone is successful.  There are some individuals who are not ready for, serious about, or able to recover from their addictions.  In some instances the funding for these programs is too poor to help those that need the help.  The rewards of recovery are worth the effort.  The individual who recovers is often able to repair their strained relationship with family and children.  The individual who recovers is able to develop meaningful self worth and a feeling of self accomplishment.  The individual who recovers is often able to pursue a great career.  The individual who recovers is often able to help others maintain a sober lifestyle.
When a person with a substance issue is charged with a crime, the first step is to obtain an experienced criminal defense lawyer that will do everything to help them.  When it comes to drug/alcohol experimenting or addicted clients, the lawyer should be well versed in the practice of law and advocacy, as well as have knowledge of the different available programs to lessen the possible punishment.  For the client who wants to be helped, the lawyer should try and advocate for rehabilitative services.  For a client who are not guilty of the offense or offenses for which he or she is charged, every effort should be made to gain acquittal.  With the motivated client, the experienced criminal defense lawyer may make the greatest difference in the result that is achieved.
Sometimes in life you only have 1 opportunity to reach the right result.
Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you make for yourself and your family. There are many lawyers who claim to do more than what they are able – just as there are many surgeons in the world that are no better than butchers. Do not settle for a legal hack job. Practicing law is a skill that develops over time with experience, commitment, dedication, and God given talent. There are no amateur attorneys at Hilf & Hilf, PLC – only professionals that are guided by the humanity in the individuals we serve, and the drive not to settle for what is easy over what is right.
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