Wheeling Criminal Law Blog

Helping your teen when they are charged with a drug offense

Parents can struggle with all sorts of hurdles as they raise children, some of which are emotional in nature, others financial. Some challenges can be both, such as a teenager who is charged with a drug offense. These cases can result in fines, shatter a young person's opportunities and create an overwhelming amount of stress and uncertainty for teens and their parents as well. Whether you are angry or worried about how this situation will affect your child's future, this is no time to become complacent and you should do whatever you can to help protect your child's future.

Unfortunately, some parents simply throw in the towel when they find out that their teen has been charged with a drug offense. For example, a parent may be extremely angry with their child or they may not understand all of the details surrounding the situation. For example, peer pressure can play a major role in these scenarios and some people are even falsely accused of a drug offense altogether. As a caring parent, it is important for you to do whatever you can to help your child. From helping them with drug treatment programs to defending their legal rights in court, there are many different ways in which a parent can step in.

How does drug addiction treatment work?

If you’ve received drug charges in West Virginia, you may feel as though the whole world is against you. In this case, seeking treatment for underlying addiction issues might be something to consider. Drug addiction often leads to legal woes and can also ravage a person’s home and work life. The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers the following advice in this case, which can help you find the right drug treatment for your specific needs.

First, it’s important to understand why certain treatments are successful. Certain principles must be in place for a person to have a good chance of recovery, such as the inclusion of behavioral counseling. While detox (the process of allowing substances to leave a person’s body) is crucial, it’s only the first step in addiction recovery. After detox, a participant in a drug rehab program must remain long enough for the treatment to be effective.

Understanding field sobriety tests

If you are like a lot of people in West Virginia, you might not fully understand what happens during a traffic stop that turns into an investigation for suspected drunk driving. Based on what you see in movies or on television shows, you might know that some type of roadside tests are used but it is important to understand these tests and what they are actually used for if you are ever in this situation.

Many people might believe that field sobriety tests are part of how law enforcement officers prove that a driver is intoxicated. That, however, is not true. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, these tests are really only used to provide just enough evidence for a police officer to legally arrest a driver by indicating that the driver might be impaired. There is no way that these tests could ever prove impairment. 

How do you get a presidential pardon?

Following your conviction for a federal crime in Ohio County (and the subsequent payment of your debt to society), you will re-enter the community ready to enjoy the many rights and privileges you did previously. However, having a federal conviction on your record prevents your regaining certain rights (such as voting in an election or owning a firearm). It might also make it difficult to secure housing or find a job. Fully regaining your previous civic stature may be possible if you are able to secure a presidential pardon. Is that possible, and if so, how would you go about securing it? 

The Office of the President of the United States receives countless requests for pardons every year, and only a relatively small amount of those are granted. Yet if you have a strong case to present, you could find yourself amongst those lucky few. According to the U.S. Justice Department, you must wait a minimum of five years from either the date your confinement ended (or the date you were sentenced if you were not confined) in order for your petition to be considered. Petitions for pardons are to be submitted to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, who will then turn your case over to the Attorney General's Office for review. After an investigation, your petition is then turned over to the President (with the Attorney General's recommendations) for final review. 

What are the problems with eyewitness lineups?

Eyewitness lineups are used by prosecutors to help determine the perpetrator of a crime. Unfortunately, the results of eyewitness lineup procedures may be inaccurate and could lead to the wrongful conviction of an innocent person. Flaws in the eyewitness lineup process may contribute to these errors. Despite these errors, however, eyewitness identification is used as admissible evidence in court and can easily sway a jury. The Innocence Project reported that eyewitness misidentification is involved in 70 percent of cases that were overturned by a jury after DNA evidence proved the person was innocent of committing a crime.

First, eyewitness identification procedures are often led by an administrator that knows the details of the case. This enables the administrator to intentionally or inadvertently lead the witness to choose a certain person from the lineup. Ideally, the administrator should be blind to the case and should read from a script. The witness should be told that the perpetrator may or may not be in the actual lineup.

Implied consent law in West Virginia

Similarly to many other states, West Virginia has an implied consent law when it comes to DUI. During a traffic stop, a police officer may find it suitable to place a driver under arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Although the results of a breathalyzer test are inadmissible in court, the police officer would likely require the driver to submit to a chemical test at the station. By getting behind the wheel, the driver has implicitly consented to such a test, and refusal can lead to legal consequences. 

Drivers are well within their rights to refuse a breathalyzer test. However, chemical tests are much different and much more accurate. 

Diversion programs may help to keep your children safer

Juveniles who are at risk or are being raised in homes where structure and discipline are lacking are often at a significantly higher risk of becoming involved in criminal behavior in West Virginia. Prevention of offensive behavior often requires an intervention that is customized to a point that allows at-risk youth to feel valued and understood. While there are many forms of intervention, it is imperative that professionals assess the best method for treating juveniles with differing needs for the most successful output.

One method of intervention is called a diversion program. These programs can have a pointed focus, but often contain a variety of aspects that are designed to provide youth with educational opportunities, friendship, support and the chance to network within the community. In addition to providing services on an individual level, many diversion programs may provide support for the entire family. 

Multiple felony charges entered against suspected bomber

Most people in West Virginia and around the nation likely heard accounts over several days about suspicious packages that had been mailed to multiple high-profile politicians or other prominent figures. In less than a week after the first package was apprehended, a man in Florida had been arrested in connection with the events.

As reported by National Public Radio, the defendant has to date been charged with a series of federal crimes that could send him to prison for as long as 48 years if he is convicted of all counts as they currently stand. The United States Attorney General is reported as indicating that the ultimate charges to be faced by the man are subject to change. It is not clear if that means additional charges may be added to the case, if there may be changes to deletions to any of the current charges or both. 

Packages containing explosives likely all come from one source

While bombing incidents remain relatively uncommon in the United States, including West Virginia, a series of suspicious packages containing explosive devices addressed to several prominent individuals in the fields of politics and media is of concern for law enforcement from local to national levels.

Similarities between the devices suggest that the same individual or individuals may be responsible for all of them. Authorities have not yet identified a specific individual or individuals, however, although the investigation is ongoing. Though not sophisticated, the explosive devices that authorities have intercepted thus far are similar in style to one another, and authorities describe them as potentially effective. At this time, none of the devices have exploded. 

Facing federal wire fraud charges in Wheeling

If you are facing federal charges that include one or more counts of wire fraud, you likely have questions about what this means. Although a basic outline can give you some clarity, these charges usually mean a complicated case and potentially severe penalties. Therefore, it is important to get help from a qualified attorney who can advise you based on your particular situation.

Wire fraud charges mean that prosecutors allege you intentionally used interstate or international communications in the course of pursuing a scheme to defraud. Thus, these charges are often present as part of a white-collar prosecution. They can stand alone or in conjunction with other types of fraud charges.

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