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NY District Attorney Seeks to Dismantle the Legacy of Tough Marijuana Enforcement Laws

October 26, 2018, on Criminal Defense Articles, Drug Crimes |

Drug laws throughout the United States have long resulted in offenders facing harsh punishments. That is why getting help from an Albany drug crime lawyer is essential to fight for your future. In recent years, the good news is that authorities in New York have begun to scale back enforcement of marijuana laws so fewer people face criminal charges or jail time for the simple possession of marijuana. The problem is, there are thousands of people who have old marijuana convictions on their records who are still feeling the long-term effects of those convictions.

Now, however, the New York Times writes that there may be a solution on the horizon for those with a past history of criminal charges related to marijuana.

New York DA Is Helping People with Marijuana Convictions

While New York authorities aren't pursuing criminal charges and aggressive penalties in many marijuana cases now, those with past convictions on their record have found themselves facing problems renting apartments, getting jobs, or accessing educational opportunities. Further, outstanding warrants related to marijuana charges are also causing serious problems, despite the fact that law enforcement officials are no longer aggressively pursuing charges against new offenders.

Fortunately, DAs throughout New York have begun to explore ways to mitigate the problem by vacating misdemeanor marijuana warrants from the past. In fact, according to the New York Times, district attorneys in both Manhattan and Brooklyn have begun to take action to help individuals who have criminal records through vacating past warrants.

The District Attorney in Manhattan is expected to vacate misdemeanor marijuana warrants that date back all the way to 1978. And, the Brooklyn DA has gone further, not only vacating 3,438 open marijuana warrants but also providing options for people with convictions for marijuana possession to have their convictions vacated and to have the underlying criminal charges dismissed.

The DAs who are taking these steps are encouraging those with misdemeanor arrest warrants or with criminal convictions to come forward to get their legal problems resolved so they will no longer continue to be burdened by New York's legacy of touch marijuana enforcement.

As the Times explains, the steps taken by these DAs in New York is part of a larger shift in the enforcement of marijuana laws across different states. There are now nine states where marijuana is legal, and many cities have begun to move forward to clear old convictions related to marijuana offenses.

While this is promising news, there is still a possibility that those who are found with various types of criminal substances will end up being charged and potentially convicted of serious crimes. If you are accused of a drug offense, it is important you have an advocate to represent your interests and help you navigate the criminal justice system.

An Albany drug crime lawyer can help you if you are facing charges and want to reduce the chances of a guilty verdict and can assist you if you want to try to get a past misdemeanor offense vacated so you won't have to worry about your old marijuana conviction affecting your future.

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