August 11, 2005

How to avoid getting “Busted!” while using drugs

By Chris Sanders

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York defense attorney has some
advice for drug users who want to avoid arrest: stay at home
and don't use illegal narcotics around children.

Author M. Chris Fabricant said his book "Busted! Drug War
Survival Skills" is not designed to promote drug use. "Drugs
don't need their own PR," he said.

Instead, Fabricant said he wants to help people better
understand and protect their constitutional rights, which he
said have been eroded by court rulings over the last 30 years.

The book, released this week by publisher HarperCollins,
draws from Fabricant's experiences representing clients charged
with drug offenses and coaching friends who have been arrested.

He makes three main recommendations.

"Don't sell (drugs), don't do it with the kid and stay
home," Fabricant said in an interview on Thursday.

When drugs are used when children are present, he said, a
prosecutor will emphasize the irresponsibility of raising
children in potentially harmful conditions.

He also said police and prosecutors are increasingly
targeting drug users as well as dealers.

"Busted!" offers tips on what to do if arrested. For
example, roll down the car window well before the police
officer arrives to air out the vehicle, and be courteous during
a traffic stop.

With illustrations by counterculture graphic artist R.
Crumb, the book takes a lighthearted journey through several
serious situations, such as being arrested and appearing in

Fabricant, who supports the legalization of marijuana,
called the war on drugs "a failure and unfair." He said
defendants have increasingly fewer rights because the U.S.
Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable
searches without probable cause, has been weakened

"You have no Fourth Amendment rights when you leave the
house," he said, arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court in the
last 30 years has essentially eliminated any rights to privacy
while in a car. He cited random searches of bags on the New
York subway as another example.

Not everyone agrees with Fabricant's point of view.

"If read by teens it would give them a sense they can
continue to do this (take drugs) and say, 'I don't have to lead
a drug-free life, I can lead a jail-free life,"' said Paul
Costiglio, spokesman for the Partnership For a Drug-Free
America. "That's counterproductive to our efforts."