Man on probation pleads guilty to drug charges
Thursday, July 03, 2014 11:00 AM
A Dupont man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court to violating his probation by possessing drugs, drug paraphernalia and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Justin C. Jones, 26, admitted to first violating his probation just five months into the program.
In 2010, Jones was convicted of dealing a controlled substance, a Class B felony, and sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years suspended. The sentence was later modified because Jones completed drug treatment classes. As a result, he was placed on five years of probation, which began May 2012.
On Wednesday, Jones pleaded guilty to possession of a syringe, a Class D felony, stemming from an October 2012 arrest - and then to misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and operating a vehicle under the influence. The driving incidents occurred in March 2013.
In addition to the Jefferson County charges, Jones was recently released from prison after a possession of a controlled substance conviction in nearby Dearborn County in March 2013. He was then sentenced to the Indiana Department of Correction and enrolled in the Therapeutic Community program, which is designed to rehabilitate drugs offenders.
Following his prison sentence, Jones was transported to the Jefferson County Jail to face pending charges and the probation violation, which was filed in November 2012.
Jones' plea deal signed Wednesday did not include sentencing instructions.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Chad Lewis requested that Judge Darrell Auxier revoke Jones' five-year suspended sentence. In addition, Lewis requested two years in prison for the Class D felony and 30 days for both driving convictions.
Jones, who was represented by attorney May Beth Mock, told the court he deserves to be punished but requested a sentence to community corrections.
He testified that the DOC drug program he completed most recently helped him understand his drug addiction and has given him the "tools to succeed."
A drug treatment supervisor who worked with Jones in prison also testified that Jones is an ideal candidate for community corrections and might regress if sentenced to prison. The supervisor also said Jones took on a peer leader role in the drug program by leading pre-orientation and class discussions.
Lewis said Jones has had a history of drug convictions and that the prosecutor's office and court have given him several chances to rehabilitate.
During Jones' sentence modification hearing's following the 2010 conviction, Lewis said Jones told the court he felt ready for community corrections after completing drug treatment in prison. As a result of that testimony, Jones was released early but soon broke the terms of his probation, Lewis said.
"It sounds like a broken record," Lewis said.
Auxier took the arguments under advisement and will give a written ruling at a later date.