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Competing pressures may open opportunities in drug crime cases

Statistics show that the United States locks up more people than any other country. Arkansas has its fair share of individuals incarcerated at any given time. Indeed, as we noted in a post last year, overcrowding in state and county facilities is such a big problem that pressure is mounting to find ways to relieve the strain.

The recognition behind such movements is that incarceration costs states and counties a lot of money. They also affirm that certain human conditions, such as mental illness and drug abuse, can lead people to commit crimes they might not otherwise. Additionally, they recognize that jails and prisons don't always help individuals convicted of drug crime charges get back on a more positive track with their lives.

Those skilled in criminal defense know these competing pressures create opportunities for finding alternatives that deliver better outcomes for clients and the community. Leveraging those opportunities, though, depends on having experienced counsel at your side.

Just such pressures may have been what were at the root of one recent case that made some headlines in the Little Rock area. It involved a 39-year-old former licensed practical nurse who pleaded guilty to stealing drugs from a nursing home patient.

In exchange for her plea, the woman agreed to give up her LPN license, pay a $1,000 fine and fulfill four years of probation. At her sentencing earlier this month, the judge ordered the woman to undergo random drug testing. She must also complete 40 hours of community service.

Every case is different, but in this instance, the defendant has the hope that upon completion of the terms of her sentence she can move to have her conviction expunged.

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