One of America’s great challenges is that of dealing with the opiate epidemic.
We can debate the cause, but the reality is we now have to deal with millions of people who are addicted to pills and heroin. They are now dying because of Chinese Carfentanil and Fentanyl being substituted by the dealers for heroin. There is another side to addiction. It causes a lot of collateral crime. People have to have money to support the habit, and that causes them to steal. Usually, they steal from their family first. Grandparents are the first and most likely victims because of their age and the ease of deception.
Addicts also steal from their parents, taking jewelry, money and anything they can pawn. Addicts, if they still have a job also steal from their employers, taking anything they can pawn,
Pawnshops are the ultimate enablers
The unethical practices of pawnshops are at the core of the problem. They are basically legal loan sharks that charge usually around 300% for short term “loans”. In reality, most of the time, it is not a loan, but rather their way of getting around being charged with dealing in stolen property. They have the person sign a statement saying the property is theirs and provide a fingerprint and then turn a blind eye to the obvious fact that many of the items are really stolen from relatives, neighbors and employers. If the same addict comes in day after day and pawns dozens of new items, it has to be obvious to the pawn shop operators that the items are stolen. The pawn shops are the ones really profiting from the addiction crisis. If an addict shows up several times a week with new items, still in new packaging, how can the pawn shop operator not know the items have to be stolen? Sadly, it is the addict that is prosecuted for “defrauding a pawn broker” when in truth and in fact, the pawn shop is a willing participant.
The Florida Guideline score sheet can go through the roof and an addict can face decades in prison. There need to be legislation tightening this loophole in the law. Addiction is a treatable illness and incarceration accomplishes nothing.
I have handled many cases where addicts are charged with dealing in stolen property. Sometimes you can get them in the “Drug Court” intervention program and escape State prison. Drug Court really works and is a sensible alternative to incarceration. Long term treatment is effective but most people cannot afford it. If you have a son or daughter struggling with addiction and an arrest, give me a call to discuss alternatives. Parents know that dealing with an adult child’s addiction is a struggle and a tough battle, but it is not impossible task. As a criminal defense lawyer, my goal is to treat the problem, not the symptom. Addiction is the cause of many criminal offenses and you have to treat the cause first. Call me at my office in Sarasota at 941 366 3506 to talk or in Ft. Myers at 239 334 8890
ALL COMMUNICATION AND CORRESPONDENCE IS CONFIDENTIAL