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Drug crimes and consequences change with Oregon decriminalization

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

There has been a great deal of attention paid to Oregon’s pending changes to the state’s drug laws. The common term that is used is “decriminalization.” While that is a simple, one word description of the new laws – voted for as Measure 110 – it does not specifically mean that people will not be arrested and charged on drug crimes. It means that some crimes will be treated less severely and the charges and accompanying penalties will be less harsh than they were before. There are three critical factors with the new law. It is imperative to understand them. Even with adjustments to the law, it is always wise to have legal assistance to craft a strong defense.

The main aspects of Measure 110 in Oregon

The new law will change how drug possession is handed; it will alter the penalties for felonies with large amounts of drugs; and it shifts how tax revenue for legal marijuana sales is dispersed. For those who previously would have been charged with a misdemeanor for drug possession, that will be changed to an act with penalties comparable a traffic offense. This applies to drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and oxycodone. The fine will be for $100, but the person can be assessed to determine if there is a substance abuse problem and treated accordingly.

If a person would have been charged with a felony in instances where they possess a large amount of drugs, the charges will be reduced to misdemeanors. Examples are if a person was allegedly involved in drug distribution or trafficking. Finally, with the marijuana taxes, millions will be shifted toward treatment at Addiction Recovery Centers. People who are facing charges before the new law goes into effect on Feb. 1 may be worried as to how this will impact them. It is still unclear, but prosecutors are determining what steps to take and are informing law enforcement that new cases will no longer be charged if the new law applies.

Despite Measure 110, legal assistance can be beneficial

Even with these changes, people who are arrested for drug crimes should still be cognizant of the need for a legal advocate to assist them in dealing with the charges. Since the prosecutors and law enforcement are still assessing the changes and concluding how they will do their jobs, people who are arrested should make certain they are fully protected. Consulting with a firm that has experience with drug crimes and all areas of criminal defense may be essential.