I am an Assistant Public Defender. Everyday, I meet clients who are pulled over for minor (or made-up) reasons, have their cars searched, and end up facing drug charges. In arguing with the prosecutor, I try to point out that mostly the poor and minorities are being pulled over and searched. Their answer is usually the same: those people are breaking the law! I try to point out that the problem with this is that mostly EVERYONE is breaking or has broken the law at some point – these people are just being prosecuted.
This made me think about just how much time I could legally be sentenced to in my State given the penalties for certain crimes (or, so-called “crimes)…
I have been in possession of marijuana for at least 1200 days of my life. This is just an estimation based off of how often I have had marijuana – I partake here and there, and have gone years without it at times. If we just count each separate day I committed this first-degree misdemeanor, that puts me away for 1200 years.
I have stolen from about 15 hotels, I surmise. I collect towels, you could say. This is 15 years, or so.
I experimented with shoplifting when I was young. This is 2 years.
I have stolen prescription medication from family members repeatedly. This is 10 years.
I have possessed “trafficking” amounts of pain pills at least 3 times in my life. This is 90 years in prison – with 9 of those years being mandatory minimum, day-for-day (no reduction or gain time for good behavior) sentences.
DUI? I have been so lucky, for I should probably be in jail for 20 years.
Driving on a suspended license? 10 years.
I’ve tried cocaine thrice. That’s another 15 years.
I’ve been in possession of “magic mushrooms” at least 10 times. That’s 50 years.
I’ve had various other drugs in my life, including possessing alcohol as a minor, that adds at least another 150 years.
When all is said and done, my maximum exposure, which any judge is free to give, and many in this State do, is at least 1500 years, give or take a century or two.