A former Hampton Roads Regional Jail guard was recently sentenced for an offense that left him unemployed and on the other side of the jail cell bars. Once tasked with guarding convicts, William McKnight Jr. will now be spending some years in the state prison sentence.
According to the Associated Press, the 57 year old man was caught bringing controlled substances into the jail where he worked. The illegal drug trade is alive and well in America’s jails and prisons and oftentimes the people supplying the goods are the professionals paid to be there.
In a plea agreement, McKnight pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute an imitation controlled substance. The prosecution declined to pursue the more serious charge of introducing controlled substance into a penal institution.
Judge Johnny E. Morrison sentenced the man to 5 years with all but 2 suspended. This means that Morrison will serve time in prison, followed by a period of supervised probation.
Drug charges can carry extremely serious penalties. Suspended sentences are somewhat common, however, for first time non-violent offenders. A suspended sentence means that the offender will serve probation in lieu of jail time.
If McKnight violates this term of probation, however he could be sent back to jail. A sentence “activation” can occur, by the order of a judge, when a probationer or parolee violates any of the rules set forth.
Although probation is no walk in the park, it is seriously preferable to serving active time. Studies show that having representation can increase your chance of getting a suspended sentence. If you are facing Virginia criminal charges and want to know what penalty you may be facing, call me for a consultation on your case.