Wheeling Criminal Law Blog

Prescription drugs and addiction

If you are like many people in West Virginia, you have heard or read reports about the ongoing problem of drug addiction in the United States. No longer is this problem focused solely on illegal substances like cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin. Today, there is a widespread problem associated with addictions to legal prescription medications.

As explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are one of the most commonly abused substances. They are highly addictive and have long been prescribed relatively freely by doctors for their effective ability to control and ease pain. Other medications that may contribute to serious addictions are those used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These stimulants may initially control a problem but then may likely cause another problem. The same thing is true of drugs used to help people with sleep disorders or serious anxiety.

State considers change to SNAP ban for drug offenders

There are many people in West Virginia who struggle with drug addiction today, just as there are around the country. As the nation continues to search for ways to combat the growing opioid epidemic and other challenges associated with substance addiction and abuse, the state of West Virginia is looking at one change it might be able to make on its own.

Back in the 1990s, West Virginia was one of the states that put in place a law that would forever prevent a person convicted of a felony drug offense from receiving what many commonly refer to as food stamps. The official name for this assistance program is the Supplemental Assistance Program. This program provides a valuable service to people by allowing them the ability to buy groceries and feed themselves.

Future uncertain after mistrial in murder case

People who live in West Virginia and hear about defendants being put on trial for serious crimes such as rape or murder may often wonder what type of chance those defendants really have at getting fair treatment or consideration by juries. In some cases, media stories and reports seem to make it feel all but impossible that a defendant will be found guilty of the charges against them. A recent case in Kanawha County, however, illustrates that this is not always the case. 

As reported by WVMetroNews.com, a man was facing trial for allegedly murdering another man not quite two years ago. The killing took place during a supposed drug deal at the home of the man who died.

Virginia's drug classifications and laws

Tempting as it is, taking a couple of pills from a friend's prescription is not a good idea. In Virginia, it is illegal to share prescription medication, especially when it falls into a particular classification.

Virginia statutes dictate the way prescription medication gets handled, including labeling requirements. If law enforcement discovers you have a vial of pills prescribed to someone else, you could face harsh legal consequences.

Can I really expunge a criminal record?

If you have ever been arrested in West Virginia, you know how important it is to understand who may have access to any records pertaining to this event. Even if you were never convicted and charges against you were dropped, it would be nice to know that the experience is not something that will come up and haunt you later on, such as during a job search. Many people are able to seek a formal expungement of their criminal records but that is something that might be more complicated today than a couple of decades ago.

As explained by Slate, one problem defendants experience today is that the internet may have records showing mug shots or providing other details about an arrest posted in multiple locations. These may be obtained in various ways and an official expungement is not able to eliminate all of them. In fact, attempting to force this to happen may actually violate the provisions of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Finding a good job after a criminal conviction

People who live in West Virginia and who are looking for a new job know that they will likely have to compete with many other candidates to get the role they want. Employers will carefully review applications for experience and relevant education. They are also likely to review criminal records which people with convictions in their past may be concerned about. However, getting a good job after a conviction is possible.

As explained by Monster, even though criminal background checks have become standard processes for most companies today, the mere presence of a criminal past does not automatically disqualify a candidate. In fact, more than eight out of ten hiring managers are said to believe that the same amount of value can be provided to an organization by a person with or without a criminal history. This is based on data from the Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute.

What does your breath say about what is in your blood?

It is common knowledge that the near-universal standard for determining drunkenness is a blood-alcohol content measurement of .08. Yet as you have likely noticed, law enforcement officials in Wheeling develop make their initial BAC recording using a breath testing device. This prompts the question of how can your breath offer an indication of the alcohol concentration of your blood? 

Information shared by The Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership offers the answer. The alcohol used in beverages is called ethanol. It is a water-soluble compound which can pass through cellular membranes through a process known as "passive diffusion." After you ingest it, ethanol molecules pass through the lining of your gastrointestinal tract and enter into the bloodstream, where they are carried throughout your body (including to your brain, where they inhibit the function of neurons, causing the symptoms of intoxication). 

Quartet rescued from Clear Creek mine facing criminal charges

A cliche often associated with criminal activity in Ohio County is that those involved "have been punished enough." While this is often said in an effort to justify a reduced penalty, there may be elements of truth to it. One of the basic tenants of criminal prosecution is that the punishment should fit the crime. In instances where little to no malicious intent was present (and the alleged perpetrators ended up suffering as consequences of their own foolish actions), then is might be argued that further criminal penalties might be excessive. 

Recently a group of four friends set out to explore an abandoned coal mine in Clear Creek became the focus of media attention after they became lost during their trek into the mine. One was ultimately able to escape on his own, while the other three were found only after an exhaustive four-day search. Some say they entered the mine to try to steal copper that is believed to be in there, yet the four maintain that their journey was for recreation only. 

How are sexual assault and abuse defined?

Many may think that the definition of sexual assault has become open to interpretation. Whereas at one time, many might have thought "sexual assault" only meant rape, today the term is seemingly applied to any offense of a sexual nature. The fact of the matter is that sexual assault was never simply limited to rape, but always included any assaulting actions related to sexual activity. You should also know that West Virginia law also distinguishes between sexual assault and sexual abuse. The question is what category of offense the crime you were accused of committing in Wheeling falls under? 

According to the West Virginia Legislature, "sexual assault" is defined as you initiating sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person without that person's consent (for the purposes of this law, "sexual intrusion" means "penetration, however slight, of the female sex organ or of the anus of any person by an object"). "Sexual abuse," on the other hand, is considered subjecting another person to any form of sexual contact, which the state defines as "any intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the breasts, buttocks, anus or any part of the sex organs of another person, or intentional touching of any part of another person's body by the actor's sex organs."

Are you under investigation for possible pretexting?

Let us say you have a position in management for a large corporation you began working for about six months ago. Company information is leaking out, and, possibly because you are new to the team, you are among those investigation for “pretexting.” What is pretexting, and is it a crime?

Social engineering

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