Sentence for drug possession allows man to work

A Belpre man found driving with Oxycodone and heroin will spend weekends in jail for the next 10 weeks.

Nicholas J. Patterson, 30, of 2201 Murray Drive, was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court for possession of the drugs, a fifth-degree felony.

Patterson was arrested July 15 after being stopped by the Belpre Police Department for riding his motorcycle without a registration tag, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

“On a saddle bag on the motorcycle, they found five unit doses of heroin and nine Oxycodone pills,” said Schneider.

Patterson was indicted in November for two fifth-degree felony counts of possession of drugs.

On Jan. 23, he pleaded guilty to the first count, possession of the Oxycodone pills, said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.

Burnworth sentenced Patterson to 32 days in the Washington County Jail on the charge with credit for two days served. Patterson will also be on community control for three years, was assessed a $100 fine and had his drivers license suspended for 180 days, said Burnworth.

But Patterson’s attorney, Dennis Sipe, explained that his client would need to serve the remaining 30 days of his jail sentence intermittently so he could continue his job.

“So it’s on the record, I received a letter directed to my attention from my defendant’s employer saying that he has been subcontracted to do some work on houses,” said Sipe.

Patterson typically works eight-hour days Monday through Thursday, said Sipe.

Schneider had no objection to the intermittent jail sentence, but asked that Patterson be initially booked into the jail on Tuesday, so that if he fails to reappear he can be charged with escape.

Burnworth agreed to both requests, allowing Patterson to be booked into the jail Tuesday and to then serve his remaining time on the weekends, checking into the jail Thursdays at 6 p.m. and checking back out Sundays at 6 p.m.

“You’ll have to serve 10 weekends and the last weekend will be a day short since tonight will count as one day,” he said.

But Burnworth warned that further indiscretions will land Patterson in prison for the maximum 12 months for which he was eligible.

“You have an extensive juvenile record and an extensive criminal record here and in West Virginia,” noted Burnworth.

That record includes a felony burglary conviction in 2001, for which Patterson served five years in prison in Wood County, W.Va., said Schneider.

He also has two felony charges of parole revocation for violations he committed after being paroled in Wood County, said Schneider, and misdemeanor charges for assault, petty larceny and obstructing official business.