A Florida congressman has been sentenced to one year of probation. The misdemeanor drug charges against the republican representative resulted from a cocaine purchase from an undercover agent in Washington, D.C., in October. Hours after the purchase, federal agents visited the representative at his apartment and informed him of his charges. During court proceedings, the accused admitted to having purchased 3.5 grams of the substance. Cocaine possession is a misdemeanor with a statutory maximum sentence of six months in prison along with a $1,000 fine.
A Drug Enforcement Administration official indicated that the congressman was identified to authorities by an individual suspected to be dealing drugs. This is the first instance in more than 30 years of a sitting U.S. congressman being charged with a drug offense. The spokesman for John Boehner, Speaker of the House, indicated that the matter belonged in the courts and that the issue was between the representative, his constituents and his family.
The congressman acknowledged in court that he had made an irresponsible choice that has affected both his constituents and his family. He also admitted that he battles with alcoholism. The representative plans to seek counseling and treatment in order to come out of the incident stronger. He also indicated a desire to continue to serve the country. He represents the 19th Congressional District of Florida, having been elected to his post in 2012.
Drug charges can be particularly embarrassing to those who have high-profile careers and positions. As penalties are considered by the court, public service and a lack of prior record may help in limiting the extent of the punishment imposed. A lawyer may help in presenting positive contributions, achievements and plans for treatment to the court in order to reduce the severity of a sentence.
Source: WKRC, “Florida Congressman from Cincinnati Pleads Guilty to Drug Charge”, December 10, 2013
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