Iowa residents who have been arrested for a drug offense know that this can be an incredibly stressful ordeal. Illegal substances, even those such as marijuana, which are legal in other states, carry serious penalties. Even prescription drugs, which can be legally possessed and taken with a valid prescription, become illegal contraband in the hands of a person who acquires them without a prescription.
Statutory penalties for possessing even a small quantity of drugs may include the possibility of a prison sentence, large fines and other serious consequences. For drug distribution, cultivation or manufacturing crimes, the consequences can be even more severe. People who are convicted of drug crimes may also be subject to a driver's license revocation, making a bad situation even worse.
Fortunately, however, every person accused of a felony or serious misdemeanor drug offense is entitled to assert their legal rights. But, the right is important, especially when the criminal defense strategy is often the only thing standing between a person and a major criminal conviction.
The fact is that everybody makes mistakes, but a drug conviction shouldn't have to follow a person for the rest of their lives, limiting their future job and education prospects. For some first-time offenders, it may be possible to enter into a diversion program, which could allow a person to eliminate any convictions from their criminal record. For people who have serious substance abuse problems and are willing to work through their issues and stop using, one of Iowa's drug court programs might be a practical solution.