In a trend that is sweeping the nation, the “tough on crime” era may be relaxing, just a little. In Ohio, county prosecutors are pushing for laws that would relax some current stances on crime that have been around for some time. This includes changing some offenses from felonies to misdemeanors and changing the offenses that carry a mandatory prison term. This would allow for better management of the already overworked legal system.
According to the Columbus Dispatch some of the offenses they are looking to make misdemeanors include assaulting a teacher or bus driver when no injury occurs, illegal use of food stamps, unauthorized use of cable or telecommunications, and injuring a police animal. As misdemeanors, the maximum sentence these crimes would likely carry is one year in jail.
Another big change would be the option of sending second time drug offenders to treatment rather than prison. Currently, first time offenders can get a 2nd chance but prosecutors want judges to have this option with second time offenders, encouraging rehabilitation rather than straight incarceration.
Also changing the drug laws is a proposed increase on the amount of drugs that would trigger a mandatory prison sentence. By reducing the amount of charges that carry a minimum prison sentence, the law would put much of the decision back in the hands of the judges, a good move in my opinion.
The war on drugs may not have been completely lost yet but it has become obvious over the past few decades that mass imprisonment of non violent offenders is not offering any relief. Another look at the laws is necessary and this move may be a step in the right direction.
Facing prison time can be difficult, especially if you know you pose no danger to society. Being convicted of a drug offense is a frightening prospect and I understand the stress you may be going through. Contact our attorneys to discuss your case today so we can look at your options.