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legalgems, Lawyer
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I received two tickets within three hours for inhalation of

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I received two tickets within three hours for inhalation of toxic vapors. Both times I was taken to the hospital by ambulance and released. I have a history of drug abuse but had a year clean when this relapse happened. I was living in a sober living facility at the time. The thing is I'm had no intention of relapsing. I got my finger cut off at work several months prior and since narcotic pain relievers were not an option I was put on a non narcotic pain reliever called gabapentin. Since the pain in my finger was getting better I stopped taking them. I was on a very high dose. What I didn't know was that stopping this medication cold turkey can cause a whole host of horrible withdrawal effects. In my case I remember looking in m bathroom mirror and I hand blood coming from the bridge of my nose. I dont know if I had a seizure or what. I had extreme anxiety and thought I was in Dallas TX. I vaguely remember going to Walmart to get air duster and I walked across the street and sat under a tree and started huffing. A cop saw me and called me an ambulance. I was completely on another planet with little concept of realty. I later learned that this was common with gabapentin withdrawal. I called the ambulance twice after the incident with the cop because I thought I was going to die. The first time the ambulance came I told them I had extreme anxiety and had been huffing. They took me to the hospital where I was again giving a shot of anxiety meds and released. The third time I called I walked into a Walgreens where I was gonna get more duster but instead I told the lady at the counter to call an ambulance because I was sure I was gonna die. The ambulance came and luckily the doctor in the ER admitted me and I was in intensive care for three days. When they figured out that I had quit my gabapentin cold turkey they readministered the gabapentin and within hours I was back to myself. Now I have to deal with the two class b misdemeanors. I plead not guilty so I could go to pre trial, which is in two days, and explain to the prosecutor what happened. Should I get a lawyer at this point and am I looking at jail time? I have one previous count on my record for inhalation of toxic vapors from a few 6ears ago. I am currently on probation for a suitable I got in 2012. I would be off probation but I still owe 900 dollars. Aside from my relapse I have been doing great. I moved back into a sober living house, not because I was made to, but because I think it is the best place for me. I have been battling addiction for twenty years and have no felonies. I wouldn't wish addiction on my worst enemy. What do you think I should do. I can't afford a lawyer at this point as I am living off workman's comp.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 5 months ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  legalgems replied 5 months ago.

I am so sorry to hear of your struggle -this type of addiction can be very challenging;

often times for cases like this where a third party is not injured, a seasoned attorney can get the charges dropped so that they can plea bargain the case down to probation, with mandatory treatment, counseling and community service. It is generally ineffective to lock some one up in jail for these issues, because the true need is rehab, not punitive sentences. The criminal system is designed to have more of an emphasis on the punitive side, which is why it is important to have an attorney on one's side, to help plea out and argue for the rehab remedies. A public attorney will be able to assist in such an effort.

The penalty varies based on whether there is an intent to distribute, amount of drugs at issue, past convictions, etc.

Here is the relevant code:

21-5712.Unlawful abuse of toxic vapors. (a) Unlawful abuse of toxic vapors is possessing, buying, using, smelling or inhaling toxic vapors with the intent of causing a condition of euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction or dulled senses of the nervous system.

(b) Unlawful abuse of toxic vapors is a class B nonperson misdemeanor.

(c) In addition to any sentence or fine imposed, the court shall enter an order which requires that the person enroll in and successfully complete an alcohol and drug safety action education program, treatment program or both such programs as provided in K.S.A. 8-1008, and amendments thereto.

(d) This section shall not apply to the inhalation of anesthesia or other substances for medical or dental purposes.

(e) For the purposes of this section, the term "toxic vapors" means vapors from the following substances or products containing such substances:

(1) Alcohols, including methyl, isopropyl, propyl or butyl;

(2) aliphatic acetates, including ethyl, methyl, propyl or methyl cellosolve acetate;

(3) acetone;

(4) benzene;

(5) carbon tetrachloride;

(6) cyclohexane;

(7) freons, including freon 11 and freon 12;

(8) hexane;

(9) methyl ethyl ketone;

(10) methyl isobutyl ketone;

(11) naptha;

(12) perchlorethylene;

(13) toluene;

(14) trichloroethane; or

(15) xylene.

(f) In a prosecution for a violation of this section, evidence that a container lists one or more of the substances described in subsection (e) as one of its ingredients shall be prima facie evidence that the substance in such container contains toxic vapors.

Class B misdemeanors are punishable according to code 21-6602, 21-6611, by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. That is the maximum, and it can be plead down to a lesser offense so that probation will suffice.

If one has a plan when meeting with a Public Defender or private attorney, it should be proposed so the judge/prosecutor is aware of it-ie admission to a drug rehab in house facility, scheduled therapy by a subtance abuse counselor, etc.

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(no additional charges are incurred).

Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.

(Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-6602, 21-6611.