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People charged with drug crimes need to wise up

We are often struck by the misconceptions people have about drug charges.

Perhaps it's because they are on drugs and aren't thinking clearly - or they are just avoiding the painful possibility of arrest and prosecution.

Unfortunately, ignorance does not lead to bliss in a court of law. If you subscribe to any of these common misconceptions, we urge you to wise up, and to stay out of serious trouble.

Misconception: Legalizing marijuana did not legalize impaired driving

Oregon legalized the use of recreational marijuana a year ago. Almost immediately, the number of arrests for driving under the influence skyrocketed. You may avoid one criminal charge, but if you are reckless behind the wheel, you will surely face another.

Misconception: A gift of illegal drugs does not make them any less illegal

Many people suppose that if they give drugs to a friend, that does not constitute delivery of an illegal substance because they accepted no money for it.

Misconception: When police ask consent to search your vehicle or home, it would be rude to refuse

Giving police permission to search is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make. Once you give consent to search, there is little that you can do to have that evidence suppressed.

Misconception: Prescription medicines are not on the same level of seriousness as controlled substances

The punishment under the law is exactly the same for illegal prescription pills as for street drugs.

Misconception: If you have a prescription, it's not against the law.

An expired prescription does not entitle you to have illegal pills in your possession. Law enforcement will come down on you if you lack a current and valid prescription - or even if you carry the pills without the prescription on the label.

Misconception: People who are high and scared imagine that the police are on their side

Police are happy to hear your story, and they may appear sensitive and supportive as you confess to illegal activity. This is "good cop" technique. What you say, no matter how sympathetic the police may seem, will definitely be used against you. Let your attorney do your talking.

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