November 2012 Archives

November 27, 2012

Marijuna Defense Attorney Phoenix, AZ.jpgAlthough imitation Marijuana is readily available, it is still illegal to use or sell in Arizona

Synthetic Marijuana Facts

On Thursday November 23, 2012 local media outlets reported three incidents of synthetic Marijuana poison by high school students from two different schools in Southern AZ. Two of the students were sent to hospital emergency rooms.

Synthetic Marijuana or Imitation Marijuana is a chemically engineered cannabinoids substances or plant material that is said to produce a high similar that of Marijuana if smoked or ingested.

Arizona is in the majority of states in the country that prohibit use, sales, production, and distribution of synthetic marijuana products and other illegal substances.

This is because they have proven to be dangerous, causing severe illness, resulting in emergency hospitalizations, and fatalities. The National Institute on Drug Abuse compares the effects in some cases to poisoning. Health effects include severe anxiety, nausea, vomiting, heart problems, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, psychotic episodes, and other serious medical conditions.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers incidents of poisonings, and poison control emergency calls increased 50% from 2010 (2915) to 2011 (5741) and continued to increase for 2012.

Despite Health alerts and warnings by Local, State, and Government Agencies, synthetic marijuana continues to be sold and used. Brands marketed and sold as something other than fake or synthetic Marijuana. They may be found under the popular names of:

• "Herbs";
• "Incense";
• "Spice";
• "K2,";
• "Blaze
• "Red X Dawn"

They are usually labeled as Incense and have the words "Not for Human Consumption". They are readily available, and can be purchased at marijuana shops, other retail outlets, and even some convenient stores.


AZ Synthetic and Imitation Drug Laws

Synthetic Drugs are defined under Arizona Law Imitation Substances or Drug Offenses
A.R.S. 13-3451 and include:

• Controlled substances;
• Counterfeit preparations;
• Imitation controlled substances;
• Imitation prescription-only drug;
• Imitation over-the-counter drug

Arizona Laws A.R.S. 13- 3456; 13- 3457, and 13-3458, prohibit use of imitation or synthetic controlled substances; prescription drugs; and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs;

Violations of these laws will result in Class 2 Misdemeanor criminal charges.

Class 2 Misdemeanor charges expose a person to four months in jail; probation; substance abuse education, counseling and treatment; up to $750.00 fines; fees, and costs.

Arizona laws also apply to sales, manufacturing, or distribution of synthetic or imitation drugs under A.R.S. 13-3453; 13-3454; 13-3455; and 13-3459.

Violations of any of these laws will result in Class 6 Felony charges and expose a person to more severe sentencing including prison terms and exorbitant fines.


Arizona Marijuana Laws

Marijuana use, sales, production, and distribution is prohibited under Arizona law A.R.S. 13- 3405, and includes synthetic Marijuana as described in A.R.S. 13- 3401 Drug definitions.

Charges are classified as felonies. The classification of the offense and severity of the offense depends on the quantity of the drug found in a person's possession as well as other factors.



Criminal Defense for Marijuana and Synthetic Marijuana Possessio
n

Many users are misled by the fact that the imitation drugs are readily sold over the counter. However, it is a criminal offense to use, sell, produce or distribute Synthetic Marijuana. If you face any Marijuana drug charges you should consult a criminal defense attorney regarding your matter. If retained, they will make sure your rights are protected; you are treated fairly; and defend your charges. There may be defenses you are not aware of that can lead to dismissal of charges; reduction of sentencing or other favorable resolution in your matter.

Arizona State Legislature Title 13 Imitation Substance or Drug Offense

Arizona State Legislature Title 13 Classifications for Use of Synthetic Drug Charges

National Institute on Drug Abuse

US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Continue reading "Arizona Teens Hospitalized for Overdosing on Synthetic Marijuana " »

November 10, 2012

The Verdict could have national impact on when law enforcement can collect DNA evidence from suspects.

On November 9, 2012, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a criminal DNA testing case, Maryland v. King (12-207), which could result in nation-wide impacts. The defendant's DNA samples were collected immediately following his arrest. He was subsequently convicted of rape. King's Attorney attempted to suppress the DNA evidence, on the grounds that it was taken unconstitutionally. The Maryland Court of Appeals agreed, and overturned King's conviction. They ruled that suspects under arrest but not convicted, have more rights than convicted felons; and that DNA testing was more invasive than standard finger print evidence.

The State of Maryland disagreed, and appealed to the US Supreme Court to hear the case. The case is expected to be heard by the high court in June 2013.

DNA testing has been the subject of much controversy. Objection to the DNA testing of non-convicted suspects is that it is in violation of a person's 4th Amendment Constitutional Right against unlawful search and seizures.

All states currently use DNA testing as an admissible investigative tool. Currently it is lawful in most states, including Arizona, to collect report and distribute DNA results for convicted felons. However, not all states allow collection, analysis, reporting, distributing, and use of DNA testing as evidence against first time criminal offenders, with no felony convictions.


DNA Testing Laws in Arizona

Arizona allows collection, reporting and distribution of DNA evidence from prison inmates and convicted felons. Criminal DNA samples are maintained by in a forensic data base by authorized Law enforcement agencies, and indexed by the FBI.

However, in recent years, Arizona also passed legislation allowing DNA to be collected from suspects who were arrested, but not convicted of a felony in specific situations.
Under Arizona Law A.R.S. 13-610 DNA may be collected from a suspect if they were arrested for serious, violent, and dangerous felony offenses on involving a victim.

The law allows for DNA testing in situations where the suspect was arrested for a criminal offense specified by law, even if they were not convicted of the crime. Examples of these offenses include but are not limited to sexual offenses and assault; burglary in the first or second degree; homicide; and other dangerous offenses involving victims.


Criminal Defense for Charges involving DNA cases

Anyone arrested for a serious or dangerous crime, should always consult a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty. Felony convictions for these types of crimes, will result in years to life in prison, or even expose a defendant to the death penalty. A defendant should always invoke their right to retain qualified legal representation to defend their rights and charges. If DNA evidence was collected unlawfully it may lead to suppression of the evidence in favor of the defendant. If DNA evidence does not lead to a match of the suspect arrested, the charges may be dismissed or lead to a "not-guilty" verdict in a jury trial. The lawfulness or validity of DNA evidence should always be argued by a qualified criminal defense attorney.


Additional Resources:


Arizona State Legislature


Arizona State Bar - Jury Instructions for Evidence


United States Supreme Court - Maryland v. King


US Supreme Court Orders - Petition Granted Maryland V. King, Alonzo J. (12-207)



Continue reading " The US Supreme Court to Hear Landmark DNA Evidence Case " »

November 6, 2012

Phoenix DUI Lawyer.jpgHow BAC impacts DUI impairments and penalties in Arizona

According to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) recent studies three categories of people are the most at risk of getting an alcohol or drug related DUI. Those categories include young people; motor cyclists; and repeat DUI offenders:

1) More than one of every three fatal crashes involved a driver's with BACs of 0.08% or greater were between the age of 21 to 24 (34%); The next largest percentage of age groups were the 25 to 44 years of age (28% average);
2) Of all motorcyclist involved in a fatality 28% of them had a BAC of 0.08% or greater. Of those impaired riders killed 44% were between the ages of 40 to 44 years of age;
3) Motorist with BACs of 0.08% or greater involved in fatal accidents were four times likely to have a prior DUI - DWI conviction.


Arizona DUI Legal Limit BAC Laws and Penalties

Arizona has some of the most strict laws and harsh punishments in the country. The higher the BAC level, if the impairment is due to alcohol, the more impaired they become. The more impaired the driver. Arizona recognizes this, and consequently has laws in place that increase the severity of charges and penalties for higher BAC limits.

Under A.R.S. 28 - 1381 the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content in a person's system is 0.08% or greater. However, under the law, a person may be guilty of DUI even if their BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08%, or even if they had no alcohol in their system. This is called being "impaired to the slightest degree. A person convicted of these charges will be exposed to 10s jail along with other harsh penalties.

Under A.R.S. 28 - 1382 a motorist with a BAC of 0.15% or more, and less than 0.20 is considered to be under the Extreme Influence of alcohol. A person found guilty of these charges will be subject to 30 days in jail, in addition to other harsh penalties.

And under A.R.S. 28 - 1382 and a driver with a BAC of 0.20% or greater is will be guilty of Arizona Super Extreme DUI charges. Penalties for this offense will be subject to 45 days in jail in addition to the other harsh penalties.

Second DUI offenses expose a driver to heavier sentencing of 90 to 180 days in jail in addition to other harsh penalties.

Third offense within 7 years will result in Aggravated DUI (Felony), which will expose a person to prison sentencing that ranges from 4 to 8 months in imprisonment.

Convictions in all of these cases will result in adverse Driver's License actions including suspensions, denials, or revocations; court ordered installation and use of Ignition Interlocking device on vehicle; alcohol or substance abuse screening and counseling; fines, fees, costs; probation; community service; or restitution.



DUI Lawyer Chandler AZ

If you were arrested for any type of impaired driving charges due to drugs or alcohol you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who defends DUI charges. They will discuss your matter and options for defense. If retained they will evaluate your case to determine if any defenses are available to challenge the charges; defend your charges; make sure your rights are protected; and work to get the best possible resolution to your case.

Additional Resources:


Arizona State Legislature - DUI laws and Impaired to the Slightest Degree


Arizona State Legislature - DUI laws - Extreme and Super Extreme DUI Laws


National Center for Disease Control (CDC)


Arizona Department of Public Safety - Driver Impairment

Continue reading "Motorists with the highest risk of DUI and fatal accidents " »