Drug charges can change the course of a person’s life. One moment you are a football hero at a big university in New York, and then, in one fell swoop, police stop you for running a red light and find drugs in your car. Suddenly you are facing drug charges and everything you have worked so hard for in your life falls into jeopardy.

On July 29, a Syracuse football star and his brother were arrested in Syracuse and charged possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, as well as fifth and seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance. Police say they found marijuana, an open container of alcohol, 180 Lortab pills and drug scales and plastic baggies. The brothers were arraigned in City Court and released.

At a time when the school’s football players are looking forward to training camp, both brothers will have to focus their attention on the charges against them. Drug charges in New York are treated seriously, and the consequences for conviction can be devastating, particularly where there may be evidence of intent to sell. The head football coach has only said he is aware of the charges against his player and the matter will be handled internally in accordance with university and athletic department policy.

When a star athlete is accused of wrongdoing, his story becomes a popular media focus. But regardless of his fame, that individual is allowed the same presumption of innocence to which we are all entitled. With the potential consequences so serious, cases like this become the perfect time for the criminal justice system to slow down and take a careful look at every detail. It is also a good time for those accused to follow suit. During difficult times like these, an attorney experienced in the defense of drug charges may offer some understanding and support while a fair and unbiased outcome is sought.

Source: WSYR-TV, “SU wide receiver arrested on felony drug charges,” July 31, 2011.