Drug-related charges can severely alter the life of a White Plains, New York, resident. They can also affect people’s perception of an accused person. An ordinary citizen can be perceived as a criminal. A New York man, who once received praise for defending himself against muggers, is now facing this blemish to his reputation because of drug charges.

In 1984, Bernard Goetz made national news when he defended himself on a subway train in New York. The now 66-year-old was charged with attempted murder for that incident, in which he shot four young men who he claimed had tried to mug him. Goetz was acquitted of the attempted murder charge but was unable to escape a weapons charge conviction. Nonetheless, he was touted by many as a symbol of self-defense and even immortalized in a pop song.

Now, 30 years later, Goetz is defending himself again after he was apprehended for allegedly selling marijuana, valued at $30, to an undercover police officer last December. The suspect rejected a plea deal to serve just 10 days of community service, stating that a jury can decide his fate. His hearing is set for June at the same New York county court where he was tried in 1985.

Drug charges, which often involve drug possession and distribution, should not be taken lightly. Such charges can easily lead to serious repercussions and even be elevated to a federal level.

The right criminal defense strategy will usually weigh whether or not agreeing to a plea deal will be beneficial for a suspect. There is also the option to fight for the dismissal of the charges, where careful scrutiny of evidence, witness testimony and the validity of arrest warrants and charges will be conducted.

Source: Wtvq.com, “NY man who shot subway muggers in 1984 now faces drug charges,” April 24, 2014