Interviewer: How long have you been handling drug cases alone?
Eric Sachs: I’ve been handling drug cases for 29 years. I started in 1985 when I was an Assistant District Attorney and I used to actually prosecute drug cases. Nineteen Eighty-Nine to the present I defend people who are accused of being involved in some sort of a drug case, whether it’s drugs regarding a DUI or drugs regarding to any kind of possession or sale or any other crime that drugs would be involved in some fashion and anybody being charged with any kind of a drug charge.
Drug Trends and Habits Have Evolved With the Passage of Time
Interviewer: Over the years have you seen any trends and changes in drug habits or the sort of individual?
Eric Sachs: The habits have changed. The drugs have changed. Back in the ‘80’s it was cocaine, which when went to crack, which came back again into heroin and PCP. Then we saw the next generation, the younger generation, get involved in going through other propellants, people that were sniffing glue back in the ‘60’s, they’re back to sniffing some of the glue. They were getting involved in Red Bolt and some of the energy drinks and sometimes there are propellants other than nitric oxide that are used in some of the more toxic chemicals.
The spray cans that somehow or other the younger generation would be able to get a hold of and they were actually using those chemicals as drugs to get high and they were selling them and possessing them as well. As our society has changed, some people’s use of drugs has not changed; it’s just whatever drug of choice seems to be out there.
Marijuana, Cocaine and Heroin Along with Oxycodone, Vicodin and OxyContin are the Most Commonly Abused Drugs in New York
It changes a little bit. Marijuana is still prevalent but it’s legalized in a lot of places or non-criminalized in some places, and you have medical marijuana, but heroin seems to be coming back around again as well.
Interviewer: What are the most common ones that you hear of?
Eric Sachs: The most common drugs we see nowadays is still marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
We also have Oxycodone, Vicodin, OxyContin. Various pain killers are also big out there, and that leads into the next question as to the possession and the possession with intent to sell.
The Difference between Drug Possession Charges and an Intent to Sell Charge
Interviewer: What’s the difference between a possessioncase where there’s an intent to sell charge?
Eric Sachs: It used to be very subjective as to who decided you had the intent to sell, and one of the indicia would be how are these drugs packaged. If you have one package, you go to the pharmacy, the doctor prescribes for you 100 pain killers and they’re all in one package with your name on it. That’s basically you just have that one pack. Then if I have one package with 100 pills in it but it doesn’t have my name on it, that’s when you can get into trouble with the law because how do I know that that’s yours. Then it becomes the defendant’s burden to show that it’s his medication; he has a prescription for it.Now, if you take that same 100 pills and you put them all into 100 separate glassines, it appears and it looks as if you have it that way because you have the intent to sell it. Even though you didn’t sell it to anybody and the police come and they find you …
The Packaging is a Determining Factor on Whether the Charge is going to be Possession or Intent to Sell
Let’s skip down the road that you’ve already argued whether or not the police had the legal right to stop you and confront you and find these drugs on you, the packaging itself leads to that charge of intent to sell it, because why would you put each pill in its own little package when you could have them all together.
Same thing that happened with the heroin, the marijuana. You’d have these glassines. If you have 1 or 5 or 10 or 100, you start to lose the credibility of an argument of saying that’s my personal use as opposed it’s packaged this way so I can sell it to 100 different people.
By Eric Sachs