The law turns a blind eye to no one. Of course there are cases where people in power break the law for years unnoticed but the majority of the time their indiscretions come to light and they are forced to face the music, just like the rest of us.
Former Damascus Police Chief Tony Richardson had pled guilty to charges in March and last October. The charges were part of a plea agreement according to this WVEC brief.
Richardson admitted he sold methamphetamines and prescription drugs while he was police chief. He was officially charged with 8 drug offenses and one gun charge. The sentence called for 5 years on each drug charge and 2 years on the gun charge.
Likely part of the plea agreement, the judge, Judge Byrd Sergent in Washington County Circuit Court suspended the bulk of the drug sentences. What was left was a 5 year prison term that Richardson is set to serve.
A sentence suspension is not uncommon and is particularly common in cases where the defendant has no criminal past. By suspending the bulk of Richardson’s prison term, the judge allows him to serve less time while keeping supervision over him for a period following incarceration.
A suspended sentence typically means there will be a period of probation or post release supervision after the prison term is served. During this supervision period, Richardson will have to abide by certain terms like staying drug free and not getting in additional trouble.
If Richardson abides by the terms of his supervision after his prison term, the supervision period will be allowed to expire. However, if he were to violate the supervision terms, his sentence could be activated and he could be sent back to prison.
Probation and parole supervision are typically very effective methods of control for the criminal justice system and they are usually more desirable then a prison sentence for the defendant.
If you are facing criminal charges and want to know if you might be eligible for probation instead of a prison term, give us a call. There are several factors that play into how a judge determines your sentence and our attorneys can help you evaluate your case.