According to court documents, a woman who was charged as one of 14 people who allegedly sold synthetic drugs at businesses in Victoria pleaded guilty. The woman's plea was entered on March 17. The court sentenced her to 7 years probation on a deferred adjudication, which means that if she successfully completes its terms, there will be no conviction on her record. If she violates, however, she will face the maximum sentence for the charges.
The woman pleaded guilty to participating in organized crime and two counts of delivering controlled substances. In addition to the probation, she will also be required to complete 400 hours of community service. She is the owner of Needful Things, an area business located in Victoria. The woman was charged with working together with at least one other person at the business to deliver substances that were either hallucinogenic or that mimicked the effects of marijuana. Both types of synthetic drugs were outlawed by the state's legislature several years ago.
The woman indicated that she was unaware that what she was selling had been outlawed. The business's distributor had apparently provided documentation stating the products were legal. If she had gone to trial and had been found guilty, however, the minimum prison sentence she would have faced would have been 10 years. The woman's charges followed law enforcement raids conducted at her business as well as four other Victoria businesses.
When people are facing criminal charges, the stakes are often very high. In many cases, people must carefully weigh the risks and benefits of going to trial. In the event the risks outweigh the possible benefits, a criminal defense attorney might help by strongly advocating for his or her client to secure a favorable plea, such as in this woman's case.
Sourcee: Victoria Advocate, "Woman sentenced to probation in synthetic drug case," Jessica Priest, March 19, 2015