It’s a mother’s worst nightmare — you discover your daughter is addicted to opioids, pregnant with your grandchild, and facing drug possession charges!
In a recent 2017 study compiled by the Missouri Foundation for Health, in the past ten years, the number of babies born addicted to narcotics in Missouri has increased by an astounding 538%! This nightmare is a genuine reality for many Missouri grandmothers.
Add a mandatory minimum sentence to this scenario. Even a compassionate, reasonable judge will have no choice in the matter. A mandatory minimum sentence is just that — mandatory! Judges are not allowed to rewrite the law.
Drug possession charges are no laughing matter in Missouri.
According to FindLaw.com, cocaine possession charges start with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail. That’s a Class C felony on a person’s record.
One year may seem like a small amount of time, but for a pregnant momma, that’s a hugely important year. Your pregnant daughter may end up in jail and even give birth while incarcerated. That’s enough to make you cry!
Prenatal care is sure to be less than “five-star” under these circumstances. Diet, exercise, and good environment help an unborn baby’s healthy development. The stress of the prison environment is bad enough for mother and baby. Think about the roomies! How about frozen TV dinners every night?
If an expectant mother is addicted to opioids, she will need access to withdrawal meds such as Suboxone to wean herself and the baby off of narcotics. Getting access to these drugs can be challenging enough for an addicted expectant momma outside of prison.
A recent news story in The Riverfront Times reminds us of the grim facts. Pregnant, addicted women often receive bottom-of-the-barrel treatment by society and even from those who should be their most trusted ally — their OB-GYN. Shame and stigma follow these expectant mothers everywhere!
It’s easy to understand this attitude, though. Addiction is so harmful to the unborn child. C’mon! Get your act together, right? Throwing stones only injures the innocent in this scenario.
Encouragement and compassionate, nurturing care are important for every expectant mother — for the sake of both mother and baby. Mandatory minimum sentencing punishes an unborn citizen in this respect. It’s the legal setting for a modern-day Les Miserable.
Addiction and drug possession charges carry long-lasting consequences. Besides the social stigma, there’s the criminal record. Imagine spending a year in jail, then attempting to get hired or to rent a decent apartment.
Meanwhile, what do you do if you or a loved one are currently facing drug possession charges, pregnant or not? You need prompt access to both medical and legal help.
Hope and medical help for pregnant addicts is now available in the St. Louis area through the efforts of an amazing woman and a growing team — Dr. Jaye Shyken of the Women and Infant Substance Help Center (also known as the WISH Center). It’s a branch of St. Mary’s Hospital.
Concrete personalized action plan. Proven ways and methods to break addiction. Accountability. Dignity. One can only hope this one-of-a kind program at the WISH center will take off like wildfire around our nation. The epidemic of addicted mommas and babies is no longer an issue we can ignore.
Is there any legal hope or help, despite mandatory minimum sentencing?
Yes and YES! You definitely don’t want to end up with the maximum possible sentence. Your very first step is to reach out for expert legal help.
You need an aggressive, experienced criminal defense lawyer. It pays to explore and know your options — even possible probation for a first-time offender. Attorney Steimel of the greater St. Louis area knows Missouri drug possession laws. He will fight for your best future in court. Call 636-244-3737 today. Don’t face criminal charges without timely expert legal help!