New Drug Laws
Last year, possession of marijuana became a offense punishable by fine alone, if the amount in question is less than 10 grams. It is however still a criminal offense. Ironically, it is still a jail-able offense to be in possession of drug paraphernalia, which includes cannabis. Soon clinics will provide marijuana for medicinal reasons, if the user presents a valid prescription.
Drug use and possession thereof continue to be a plague upon the community. Heroin and illegally prescribed oxycodone have come to the forefront as the illicit drugs of choice. Our law office understands valid defenses to the criminal charge. Often the search and seizure is illegal. Occasionally the drugs confiscated are not banned substances. A remedial defense can be offered at trial by sending the defendant to drug classes.
New DUI Laws
The legislature continues to make tougher Driving Under the Influence laws to save lives. Also court decisions make driving after too much drinking a very dangerous adventure. Failure to take the breath test will automatically cause a loss of license for at least 120 days. The state’s highest court has recently said that a judge or jury can infer that refusal to take the test was because of fear of failing.
A loss of license can sometimes be modified at a hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings, via the Interlock or a restrictive license. Taking the test can be a shield, rather than a sword if the reading comes back lower than the legal limit. Courts are less inclined to issue jail sentences if the defendant has attended alcohol classes prior to coming to court.
Techno Age Cautionary
Letters and land lines have become as the long gone pony express as cell phones and I-Pads are the new age mode of communication. All should be wary of words and images sent out on Twitter and Facebook accounts. The Supreme Court has recently said that cell phones and their contents cannot be seized unless a warrant specifically names the phone as an object of the search.
But it should be remembered that these electronic messages do not go away, so we should be careful how we use our phones and computers. Often times a conversation can be accidentally recorded, and can cause embarrassment, and legal implication if the words are slanderous or verify criminal behavior.
E mails and texts have become hard evidence in many criminal and civil proceedings.