No Such Thing as Harmless Drug-Related Pranks

No Such Thing as Harmless Drug-Related PranksAs our current society shifts into a new kind of tolerance for drugs of all sorts, especially marijuana, people may feel a false sense of security regarding how narcotics are seen and handled in the law. Those who would never even walk into a smoke-shop even five years ago might be tempted now to take risks they shouldn’t. Whether that’s attempting to smuggle something into the state, buy, sell, or otherwise distribute any sort of controlled substance, the whole country is seeing a rise in people who just don’t see the big deal.

But it is a big deal. And you could face multiple criminal charges if you are suspected of any drug crime – even one you think is a harmless “prank.”

Earlier in April, a Florida bride and her wedding caterer demonstrated this callousness by lacing all the food at the wedding with cannabis without the knowledge of any of the guests — or even the groom. The bride probably expected her guests to get pleasantly loose and happy for her big day and probably assumed that, should everything go the way she hopes, no one would feel any need to mention her “party favors” afterwards. After all, she knows them.

Unfortunately for her and her caterer, that’s not what happened at all. While cannabis will not kill anyone, it can still make people incredibly sick (especially those who are not users themselves). Her little prank sent several guests to the hospital. It also meant that every single one of her guests would test positive for the drug for a while after, possibly jeopardizing several important aspects of their lives, like their jobs, their security clearances (if they held them), and maybe even their custody agreements. She didn’t help matters further when she claimed not to know what was happening when a stoned, paranoid guest texted her about how everyone was feeling.

The bride and her caterer have since been charged with purposeful negligence, delivery of marijuana, and violating the state’s  Anti-Tampering Act. Even if she is not given additional charges pressed by some of her victims, she is still facing serious time behind bars and thousands in fines alongside a new, terrible reputation. Not an ideal way to start a marriage.

Were her actions really a big deal?

Yes, they were. In the grand scheme of things, buying a joint off the street or bringing something back from your trip to Colorado may not be a life-threatening, immoral decision – but it is still illegal. You are still breaking a law (and maybe multiple laws), and if you are caught and charged, you can still be severely punished for it. More important, this “prank” harmed a lot of people. While anaphylaxis is a rare allergic reaction – especially for weed – what the bride and her caterer did could have potentially killed someone.

When your drug offense involves other people, it becomes an even more serious issue that can affect you, your reputation, and your family for the rest of your life. People won’t wait to hear your side of the story, or how serious it really was, or what drugs were involved. They will see you have been convicted of a drug crime, maybe even see you spent time behind bars for it, and they will judge you accordingly.

The best way to protect yourself is to take these crimes as seriously as the law will, and make sure you have a Franklin drug defense attorney to protect you and your rights if you’re arrested.

What drug charges would she face in Tennessee?

Should someone attempt a similar prank in Tennessee, they could face a laundry list of charges and potential consequences. While other states have been legalizing marijuana like falling dominos, our state very firmly still sees it as a purely illegal substance. It’s considered a Schedule VI drug which, while not the most dangerous and forbidden on the list, can result in a felony conviction with up to 6 years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines.

Do not make the mistake of assuming that is as bad as it can get. The more involved and complicated your offenses, the more you can be charged with and punished for — especially when people are involved without their consent. For example, you can face Class D felony fraud charges if you “knowingly or intentionally” distribute a Schedule VI drug like marijuana, which means a $5,000 fine plus other associated fines and fees. Your offense classification can and will change depending on how much of the substance was involved and what it was used for, on top of charges pressed by other parties.

For example, a Tennessee court would likely have found our bride in violation of the Consumer Protection Act of 1977, which prohibits unfair or deceptive distribution of goods or product. In addition, any of those drugged guests who needed medical attention might feel inclined to press assault charges. An assault charge alone, like a drug charge, can carry years of prison time and thousands of fines with it. When you combine all these violations, someone could potentially face decades behind bars and fines upwards of $50,000.

No one can erase the past, but that does not mean there is nothing for those accused to do. Whether you’re being charged for lacing wedding food or selling joints or any other drug-related offense, the best thing you can do for yourself is seek aggressive, experienced criminal defense representation. When you hire the right Franklin criminal defense attorney, they can work through the details of your case to both strengthen and advocate for it. Years of school and training enable attorneys to weaken the prosecution and protecting the rights of their clients, ensuring the fair treatment they are entitled to. Even if your charges are too severe to be dropped completely, a skilled criminal defense attorney can work to lessen your sentence and fines, and may even be able to work out a treatment alternative to prison.

This can only happen if you take the necessary initiative as soon as you’re able. Don’t trust an uninvested public attorney with something this serious and delicate, and do not make the mistake of trying to represent yourself. This is your life, your family, your savings, your freedom.

Here in Franklin, the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates have decades of experience advocating for those charged with drug-related offenses. We work tirelessly to defend our clients while keeping them and their loved ones informed and involved every step of the way. We have offices to serve you in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood, and throughout Tennessee. To get started for free, call us today at 615-977-9370  or use our contact form.