The U.S. drug war is still alive and well in New York and across the nation, according to a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency reports that overall drug arrests increased by 5.63 percent in 2016, with 1.57 million people taken into custody. That number is more than triple the combined arrest total for all violent crimes. Nearly 85 percent of all drug violation arrests were for drug possession.

Despite the American public’s increasing support for the legalization of marijuana, the FBI reports that 41 percent of all 2016 drug arrests involved the substance. Further, most marijuana arrests were for simple possession.

According to a Drug Policy Alliance report, the nation’s drug laws are enforced in a discriminatory fashion. For example, African-Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for 29 percent of all those arrested for drug violations and 35 percent of those sentenced to prison for drug possession. Meanwhile, noncitizens and legal permanent residents can be deported for even minor drug violations.

Individuals convicted of drug crimes can face severe punishments, including incarceration, heavy fines and even deportation. However, defendants may be able to avoid conviction or have the charges against them reduced by contacting a criminal defense attorney. An attorney could use a number of defense strategies to dispute the drug charges and protect the client’s future. For example, police may have violated a defendant’s rights during the arrest process, which could cause the case to be dismissed. In other cases, it may be possible to get the most serious penalties reduced if the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

Source: The Huffington Post, “There Was One Arrest For Drug Possession Every 25 Seconds In 2016“, Jag Davies, Sept. 27, 2017