Judging from national statistics, much Iowa law enforcement work focuses on drug-related activities, especially simple drug possession. The Uniform Crime Report from the FBI identified a 5.63 percent increase in drug arrests in 2016 from 2015. Nationwide in 2016, police took over 1.57 million people into custody on drug charges. These arrests represented more than triple the number of people arrested for all types of violent crimes in the aggregate.
Despite a rising arrest rate and the Trump administration’s desire to renew the drug war, public opinion has moved towards decriminalizing drug activity. A report from the Drug Policy Alliance shows that a majority of people want marijuana to be legal. Most people now disapprove of arresting people and locking them up over drug possession.
Opinion polls conducted during the last presidential election produced strong majorities in several states against the drug war. Over 60 percent of respondents in two New England states supported the end of drug-related arrests. A Mid-Atlantic state continues to introduce legislation meant to decriminalize drug use. The massive amount of drug-related arrests documented by the FBI translates into social and economic harm. Drug arrests impact people’s ability to support themselves and their families.
A conviction on drug charges could impose serious consequences on a person, such as prison time and difficulty gaining employment. After an arrest, a person might develop a defense strategy with the aid of an attorney. The attorney could examine the circumstances of the arrest and in some cases challenged the validity of the search that led to the seizure of the drugs as being a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.