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Expungement Basics And Eligibility

Expungement Basics

Expungement, also known as “expunction,” is a court-ordered procedure in which the legal record of an arrest or conviction is “erased.” In the eyes of the law, it is the same as expunging a criminal record or setting aside a criminal conviction.

This legal procedure can transform the life of a person with a prior conviction or arrest record by expanding their options. By expunging a criminal record, a person is able to live more freely, without fear that past legal troubles will follow them.

This article includes more details about expungement. This should not be construed as formal legal advice for anyone in need of assistance with their arrest or court record.

The Case’s Assignment

The defendant may seek a criminal defense counsel personally or the court may assign the case to one. Many criminal defense lawyers work for the public defender’s office and are compensated by them. Local, state, and federal courts appoint them to cases. Private firms recruit other criminal defense lawyers. Some criminal defense lawyers have their own law firm that they manage. Due to the referral procedure and the payment coming from individuals other than defendants, public defenders are paid less than private lawyers and have a larger case load. In some situations, a court may appoint a private attorney to represent a client.

Interview with Regards to the Case

When the criminal defense lawyer has the opportunity to meet with the client in person, he or she should strive to learn as much as possible about the case. He or she can learn about possible defenses, as well as the case’s strengths and weaknesses, by asking specific questions regarding the case. This necessitates a detailed and rigorous interrogation of the defendant.

The Case Is Being Investigated

He or she must not only ask the criminal defendant pointed questions regarding the case, but also conduct more investigation into the case to determine any possible routes of acquittal. This frequently entails interrogating police officers about the processes they employed in the case. It could also entail speaking with witnesses who have information about the case and gathering data on the case. All of this material is used to try to put together a good case defensively. If an expert witness is called to testify in the case, the criminal defense attorney may question him or her about the testimony and evidence that will be presented.

Before the case is presented to the jury, a criminal defense counsel has the right to assess the prosecution’s case. This permits him or her to look for flaws in the prosecutor’s case and try to locate evidence that could disprove it, such as hiring an independent lab or expert to evaluate evidence in the case.

Evidence Evaluation

Analyzing the evidence against a criminal defendant necessitates a thorough examination of the facts and hypotheses of the case by a criminal defense attorney. He or she could have evidence evaluated by a third party. He or she may also study the material to see if there are any legal ideas that work against his or her client’s conviction.

Contact with the Client Continued

A criminal defense lawyer must communicate with his or her client on a regular basis to explain any developments in the case and to keep him or her up to date. The lawyer must ensure that the client’s conversations are kept private. The lawyer must also ensure that the client receives information regarding the case so that he or she has a better knowledge of the potential outcomes.

Selection of the Jury

The jury selection procedure is aided by a criminal defense attorney. He or she may seek to have jurors dismissed for cause if he or she believes they are biased against the defendant or simply has a terrible feeling about a possible juror.

Bargaining for a Plea

A criminal defense lawyer is also in charge of discussing the state of the case with the prosecution and negotiating any possible plea bargain. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help the defendant negotiate a good agreement that results in the charges or punishment being reduced.

Participation in the trial

During the trial, a criminal defense lawyer argues for his or her client. He or she interrogates witnesses, cross-examines state witnesses, and tries to persuade the jury that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.

Sentencing

A criminal defense lawyer can represent the defendant during the sentencing phase if the criminal defendant is sentenced for the offense, whether he or she accepted a plea deal or was convicted by a judge or jury. He or she may discuss elements that will persuade the judge or jury to shorten the defendant’s sentence and discuss possible alternatives to incarceration.

Although it will vary depending on the state or county, the expungement process typically begins with the filing of an application or petition. Different legal systems employ various terms. So, for instance, California refers to this as clearing your record with a dismissal, while some states, like Michigan, refer to it as setting aside a conviction. Utah refers to this as expungement of records. The process will result in the sealing or removal of your criminal records, regardless of the terminology used.

Your court will probably have standard forms to use when filing an application, as well as lists of the paperwork and information you’ll need to submit with your request. You must be absolutely certain that your request contains all necessary components. Your application should detail the steps you took to locate any missing documents or information and the reasons you were unable to do so.

However, the county prosecutor’s office frequently has everything you’ll need to submit with your request. You may even need to get the prosecutor’s office’s approval before submitting your request to the court in many jurisdictions.

The court will typically issue an order of expungement after granting a petition or application, which other agencies can then be served with. This guarantees that all of the records they may have on you are sealed or deleted. Frequently, these organizations are:

  • the organization that made the arrest (such as the sheriff’s office or local police department);
  • the jail or booking office, for example:
  • the corrections department of your state (covering your records while serving any prison sentences)

Eligibility for Expungement: Additional Factors

You may be required to register and report if your underlying convictions were for sex-related offenses. Don’t assume that just because your criminal record has been expunged, any registration or reporting requirements will also be waived.

In California, for instance, you must file a separate motion to be released from your registration and reporting obligations in addition to an order expunging your criminal history. You would still have to abide by your state’s registration and reporting laws if that separate request were to be denied.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Expungement Basics

Expungement Basics

Expungement, also known as “expunction,” is a court-ordered procedure in which the legal record of an arrest or conviction is “erased.” In the eyes of the law, it is the same as expunging a criminal record or setting aside a criminal conviction.

This legal procedure can transform the life of a person with a prior conviction or arrest record by expanding their options. By expunging a criminal record, a person is able to live more freely, without fear that past legal troubles will follow them.

This article includes more details about expungement. This should not be construed as formal legal advice for anyone in need of assistance with their arrest or court record.

The Case’s Assignment

The defendant may seek a criminal defense counsel personally or the court may assign the case to one. Many criminal defense lawyers work for the public defender’s office and are compensated by them. Local, state, and federal courts appoint them to cases. Private firms recruit other criminal defense lawyers. Some criminal defense lawyers have their own law firm that they manage. Due to the referral procedure and the payment coming from individuals other than defendants, public defenders are paid less than private lawyers and have a larger case load. In some situations, a court may appoint a private attorney to represent a client.

Interview with Regards to the Case

When the criminal defense lawyer has the opportunity to meet with the client in person, he or she should strive to learn as much as possible about the case. He or she can learn about possible defenses, as well as the case’s strengths and weaknesses, by asking specific questions regarding the case. This necessitates a detailed and rigorous interrogation of the defendant.

The Case Is Being Investigated

He or she must not only ask the criminal defendant pointed questions regarding the case, but also conduct more investigation into the case to determine any possible routes of acquittal. This frequently entails interrogating police officers about the processes they employed in the case. It could also entail speaking with witnesses who have information about the case and gathering data on the case. All of this material is used to try to put together a good case defensively. If an expert witness is called to testify in the case, the criminal defense attorney may question him or her about the testimony and evidence that will be presented.

Before the case is presented to the jury, a criminal defense counsel has the right to assess the prosecution’s case. This permits him or her to look for flaws in the prosecutor’s case and try to locate evidence that could disprove it, such as hiring an independent lab or expert to evaluate evidence in the case.

Evidence Evaluation

Analyzing the evidence against a criminal defendant necessitates a thorough examination of the facts and hypotheses of the case by a criminal defense attorney. He or she could have evidence evaluated by a third party. He or she may also study the material to see if there are any legal ideas that work against his or her client’s conviction.

Contact with the Client Continued

A criminal defense lawyer must communicate with his or her client on a regular basis to explain any developments in the case and to keep him or her up to date. The lawyer must ensure that the client’s conversations are kept private. The lawyer must also ensure that the client receives information regarding the case so that he or she has a better knowledge of the potential outcomes.

Selection of the Jury

The jury selection procedure is aided by a criminal defense attorney. He or she may seek to have jurors dismissed for cause if he or she believes they are biased against the defendant or simply has a terrible feeling about a possible juror.

Bargaining for a Plea

A criminal defense lawyer is also in charge of discussing the state of the case with the prosecution and negotiating any possible plea bargain. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help the defendant negotiate a good agreement that results in the charges or punishment being reduced.

Participation in the trial

During the trial, a criminal defense lawyer argues for his or her client. He or she interrogates witnesses, cross-examines state witnesses, and tries to persuade the jury that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.

Sentencing

A criminal defense lawyer can represent the defendant during the sentencing phase if the criminal defendant is sentenced for the offense, whether he or she accepted a plea deal or was convicted by a judge or jury. He or she may discuss elements that will persuade the judge or jury to shorten the defendant’s sentence and discuss possible alternatives to incarceration.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

DUI, or driving under the influence, typically involvesștiintoxication with alcohol. However, alcohol is only one of numerous substances that can impair an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of drugs, including both legal and illegal substances, can also result in DUI charges.

Mixing drugs with driving, whether it’s medical marijuana or legally prescribed muscle relaxants, is as illegal as driving under the influence of alcohol and can also constitute a DUI offenseștii.știi.știi. There is no defense to drugged driving charges based on doctor’s orders.

According to a survey conducted in 2010 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 10 million Americans drove under the influence of illegal drugs during the previous year. In 2009, more than 18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one illegal or prescription drug, per a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study (NHTSA). According to another NHTSA survey, one in five motorists killed in car accidents in 2009 tested positive for drugs.

Different drugs have different effects on drivers. However, substances that impair judgment, vigilance, concentration, or motor skills are regarded as equally (if not more) hazardous than alcohol.

Assessing Drug Impaired Driving

In all fifty states, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. At the time of a traffic stop, it is relatively simple to determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) due to the rapid elimination of ethanol fromștiinștiinthebodyștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștii And since Breathalyzer tests are highly accurate, readings of 0.08 percent or higher frequently result in a guilty plea or conviction for DUI if the traffic stop was conducted according to protocol.

This is not the case for substances other than alcohol.

For instance, the psychoactive component of marijuana (THC) is detectable in a person’s urine or bloodstream for up to four or five weeks after use, and it is impossible to definitively detect impairment at a specific time. Cocaine, on the other hand, is typically eliminated from the body within two days. In a letter to Congress, the NHTSA acknowledged that current knowledge regarding drugs other than alcohol is “insufficient to permit the identification of dosage limits that are associated with an increased crash risk.”

Some jurisdictions employ “Drug Recognition Experts” (DREs) — police officers with specialized training who follow specific guidelines to determine drug impairment in drivers. DREs scrutinize a person’s eye movements, behavior, and other indicators of drug use. The District of Columbia and 44 states have Drug Evaluation and Classification Programs in place to train DREs.

Typically, a urinalysis or a blood sample is utilized to detect the presence of drugs.știinștiinștiinștiiștiinștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștiiștii

Per se drugged driving laws

15 states have what are known as “per se” drugged driving laws, even though it is more difficult to prosecute drivers accused of driving under the influence of drugs as opposed to alcohol. It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of certain drugs in one’s system, according to these DUI laws.

Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin are the 15 states that have laws against driving under the influence of drugs that apply to all drivers. The remaining 12 states have a zero-tolerance policy for the presence of intoxicating drugs.

North Carolina and South Dakota prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from possessing any detectable amount of an illegal or otherwise prohibited substance. In five states (California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, and West Virginia), it is illegal for known drug addicts and regular drug users to operate a motor vehicle.

Intoxicating Effects of Several Illegal Drugs

  • Relaxation, euphoria, disorientation, altered time and space perception, drowsiness, paranoia, image distortion, and a heightened heart rate are the effects of marijuana.
  • Cocaine causes euphoria, excitement, dizziness, increased focus and alertness (initially), confusion and disoriented behavior, irritability, paranoia, hostility, and a heightened heart rate.
  • Methamphetamine causes euphoria, excitement, hallucinations, delusions, insomnia, poor impulse control, an elevated heart rate, and elevated blood pressure.
  • Intense euphoria, drowsiness, relaxation, sedation, disconnection, mental clouding, analgesia, slowed heart rate, nausea and vomiting, and diminished reflexes are the effects of morphine and heroin.
  • Hallucinations, altered mental state, delusions, impaired depth, time, and space perception, hypertension, and tremors are all side effects of LSD.

Prescription & Nonprescription Drugs

Some drugs purchased legally at a pharmacy, whether prescribed by a doctor or purchased over-the-counter (OTC), can be just as dangerous for drivers as alcohol and can result in a DUI. If you are uncertain about a drug’s potential to impair, consult the label or your pharmacist.

The following prescription and over-the-counter medications can impair driving:

Some sedating antidepressants cause impairment comparable to that of a drunk driver.

  • Valium: 10 mg of the popular tranquilizer can cause impairment comparable to 0.10 percent blood alcohol content.
  • Many antihistamines reduce reaction time and impair coordination.
  • Numerous over-the-counter decongestants can induce drowsiness, anxiety, and vertigo.
  • Even in the morning, the residual effects of sleeping pills can impair driving.
  • Hydrocodone, the active ingredient in Vicodin, is comparable to opiates and causes impairment comparable to morphine and codeine (oxycodone has similar effects).

Medical Cannabis

DUI charges may still be filed against motorists who reside in states that permit the medical use of marijuana with a valid doctor’s recommendation. Consequently, if the officer and/or drug recognition expert have collected sufficient evidence of marijuana impairment, a valid medical exemption cannot be used as a defense. In this regard, medical marijuana is identical to other prescription drugs that can cause impairment.

Are you under arrest for driving while impaired by drugs? Obtain Legal Aid

DUI charges involving alcohol are easier to prove because the devices used to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) are fairly accurate. However, the situation becomes more complicated when other substances are involved. As it is difficult for officers to determine the level of impairment at any given time, a skilled attorney can often provide an effective defense against such charges. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced DUI lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Possession of Meth: Charges and Penalties

Possession of Meth: Charges and Penalties

Methamphetamine, colloquially referred to as “crystal meth,” is a highly addictive substance. Meth is classified as a schedule II controlled substance under federal law. Meth possession, sale, or manufacture is a federal and state crime. Additionally, it is a very dangerous drug, posing numerous health and safety risks to those who use or manufacture it.

The United States has faced repeated surges of meth abuse over the last three decades. As a result, the federal government and individual states have enacted legislation increasing the severity of penalties for those convicted of selling (distributing), manufacturing, or trafficking meth. States have taken a variety of approaches to possession penalties. Certain states have reduced possession penalties on the grounds that personal use frequently results in addiction. Other states have not followed suit, and tough-on-crime legislation remains on their books.

This article will discuss the penalties for meth possession and its precursors. The penalties for selling, manufacturing, and trafficking meth are significantly more severe, with numerous enhancements for crimes that endanger children, life, or property.

How Is Crystal Meth Defined?

While many drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana, are derived from plants, meth is synthesized through the use of chemicals. It is frequently synthesized as a white powdery or rock-like substance that is smoked, snorted, or injected. Meth is frequently referred to as “crystal meth” due to its rock-like appearance. Additionally, meth is referred to by a variety of other names, including “ice,” “crank,” “speed,” and “glass.”

The manufacturing process is quite hazardous, as it involves the use of explosive and noxious chemicals that have a negative impact on the environment. Homes, apartments, and other structures that have been used as meth labs require extensive detoxification and are frequently demolished to save money on remediation.

What Is the Difference Between Meth Precursors and Paraphernalia?

Apart from prohibiting possession of meth, the majority of jurisdictions make it illegal to possess the chemicals used to manufacture meth (known as “precursors”). Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, and norpseudoephedrine are all precursors to meth. Numerous states and the federal government criminalize the possession and retail sale of precursors in specified amounts. For example, it is a misdemeanor under federal law to purchase more than nine grams of meth precursors within a 30-day period. Regulations and penalties vary by state.

Additionally, most states prohibit the possession of paraphernalia used in the sale or manufacture of meth, such as scales or balances, or used to smoke or inject meth, such as glass pipes.

What Exactly Is Possession?

To convict someone of meth possession, the prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant possessed the drug with knowledge.

Knowingly implies that the individual was aware that the substance was a drug and that they possessed it. For instance, if a packet of drugs is slipped into another person’s bag, the bag owner does not knowingly possess the drugs.

Possession can refer to either actual or constructive possession of the drug by the defendant. Actual possession implies that the individual possesses the drugs (such as in their hands or a coat pocket). If the drugs are not physically on the defendant—say, in a drawer or trunk of a vehicle—the prosecutor must establish that the defendant had constructive possession of the drugs. Constructive possession requires the prosecutor to establish that the defendant was aware of the drug and exercised “control” over it. Control could entail possessing the key to the car trunk or having access to the drawer containing the drugs.

Possession of Crystal Meth: Crimes and Penalties

Penalties for possession of meth vary according to whether the case was brought under federal or state law. Convictions carry a range of penalties, from a fine or a misdemeanor jail sentence to a lengthy prison sentence for felonies.

Federal Penalties for Meth Possession in the Unlawful Possession of Meth

Under federal law, knowingly or intentionally possessing meth is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison on a first offense. Subsequent meth possession offenses, on the other hand, carry mandatory minimum sentences and are punishable as felonies. A second offense carries a mandatory minimum of 15 days in jail and a maximum of two years in prison, as well as a minimum $2,500 fine. A third or subsequent offense carries a sentence of 90 days to three years in prison and a minimum $5,000 fine.

Simple Possession of Meth: State Penalties

State penalties for meth vary significantly, ranging from traffic violations and minor misdemeanors to felonies. Certain states adhere to the federal model, which criminalizes simple possession regardless of the quantity or type of drug involved. Other states impose penalties based on the quantity or type of drug involved, or a combination of the two. The majority of states have enhanced penalties for subsequent convictions.

Defenses Against Prosecution and Immunity From Prosecution

Depending on the facts of the case, a defendant may be able to defend against possession charges or avoid charges being filed in the first place.

Defenses. Several common defense strategies for defending against drug possession charges include the following:

Attempting to suppress evidence of the drugs on the basis of an unauthorized search or seizure, and

Defending the prosecution’s case by claiming the defendant did not possess the drugs (lack of knowledge or control over the drugs).

Laws governing good Samaritans. To combat drug overdoses, several states have enacted Good Samaritan laws that shield individuals from certain drug charges when seeking medical assistance for themselves or others. These laws are intended to encourage people to seek assistance without fear of arrest or being charged with drug possession. States vary in their implementation of these Good Samaritan protections. Some allow a defendant to assert this defense, while others grant immunity from prosecution for specific possession charges.

Consult an Attorney

Being charged with a meth possession offense can be extremely serious. Consult an attorney who is familiar with the applicable drug laws and penalties in your particular case. A skilled criminal defense attorney can assess your case and any possible defenses.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Arizona Heroin Laws

Arizona Heroin Laws

Under federal and state law, heroin and other illicit narcotic drugs are illegal, but many states now offer drug diversion programs to help drug addicts get treatment instead of going to prison. The powerful opiate is classified as a Schedule I drug in Arizona (making its possession a felony). However, if the defendant has never been convicted of a felony, the court has the option of making it a Class 1 misdemeanor. If this is the case, the fine must be at least $1000 or three times the value of the substance, whichever is higher. The following graph summarizes the various heroin offenses, with a more detailed breakdown below.

Section of the Code

13-3401 et cetera; 36-2501 et cetera

Possession

Class 4 felony, but the court can reduce it to a Class 1 misdemeanor if the offender has never been convicted of a felony; fine of not less than $1000 or three times the value of the substance, whichever is greater;

Sale

Class 3 felony punishable by a fine equal to three times the drug’s value or $1,000; Sale to a minor is a Class 2 felony punishable by a fine of $2000 or three times the value of the item, whichever is greater. For selling to minors in a drug-free school zone, add one year to the sentence and a fine.

Trafficking

Transportation/importation is a Class 2 felony (manufacture)

Heroin is in your possession.

Possession of heroin is a felony drug charge in Arizona. This means that a sentence of at least two years and six months in prison is expected. A court may be able to reduce the drug charge to a Class 1 Misdemeanor depending on the street value of the heroin in possession. If the defendant agrees, this is an option. In addition to the jail time, the fine is $1000, or three times the heroin’s street value, whichever is greater.

Heroin is being sold.

Selling heroin is a Class 3 felony, which means the penalty is more severe than simple possession, which is a Class 4 felony. If the sale is to a minor, the crime is elevated to a Class 2 felony, and if the sale occurs in a drug-free school zone, the sentence is increased by one year. A Class 3 felony carries a fine of $1000 or three times the value of the drugs, whichever is higher. The minimum fine is $2000 if the sale is to a minor.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Medical Marijuana Laws

Medical Marijuana Laws

The use, possession, and/or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes is referred to as “medical marijuana.” Medical marijuana is frequently requested as a form of treatment and/or pain relief by people who are terminally ill or suffer from painful or long-term symptoms associated with certain diseases, such as epilepsy, AIDS, glaucoma, and cancer. Medical marijuana is, in general, no different than regular marijuana (or cannabis).

State vs. Federal Law on Medical Marijuana

  • Within their borders, a growing number of states have legalized medical cannabis. Marijuana, on the other hand, is classified as a “Schedule I drug” under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means it:
  • There’s a chance it’ll be abused.
  • In the United States, there is currently no accepted medical use for it in treatment, and
  • Hasn’t been proven to be safe when used under medical supervision.
  • As a result, there is a growing debate about the legality of personal medical marijuana use.

On one hand, some politicians and law enforcement officials want to combat illegal marijuana use and control some of the consequences, such as the “wide open sale of marijuana under the guise of medical use.” On the other hand, some health advocates and other drug legalization groups want to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, believing that the drug is an effective treatment for a variety of ailments.

When the Obama Administration took office in 2009, the US government shifted its focus to larger drug-trafficking issues, with the Department of Justice stating that it would not prioritize the enforcement of federal marijuana laws against authorized medical marijuana users or their caregivers. The Department of Justice, on the other hand, resumed its prosecution of medical marijuana providers in 2011, putting pressure on publishers who run ads for dispensaries.

Marijuana Laws for Medical Use

Medical marijuana laws are constantly changing and differ depending on where you live. Marijuana use, cultivation, sale, and possession are all illegal under federal and state law. The federal Supreme Court, for example, has ruled that using, selling, or possessing marijuana, even for medical purposes, is illegal (in the 2005 case of Gonzales v. Raich).

A growing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical (and even recreational) use, removing any criminal penalties imposed on doctors who prescribe it or patients who use it within state law’s limits. When California passed Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, in 1996, it became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. On a doctor’s recommendation, the law allows for the possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.

State medical marijuana laws usually define the conditions under which the herb can be prescribed, grown, possessed, and used. States may, for example, require written documentation from a person’s doctor stating that the person has a debilitating condition that would benefit from medical marijuana use. States may also require people to present this documentation, also known as a “marijuana ID card,” before being arrested.

Other provisions could include restrictions on the types of illnesses that can be treated with marijuana, such as HIV and AIDS, as well as the amount of marijuana that can be possessed, used, or grown. Finally, some states have additional provisions, such as restrictions on medical marijuana use at work for employees and ID card requirements and fees.

Penalties for Medical Marijuana

Depending on the nature of the offense and the state where the occurrence occurred, penalties for medical marijuana violations may include prison time, fines, or both. The charges are treated as general misdemeanor or felony drug charges in states that have not legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Although penalties such as prison or fines may still apply in states that have decriminalized medical marijuana, offenses are frequently treated as minor civil infractions.

Punishable circumstances may include, for example:

  • Possession of more than a specified amount (in grams);
  • The sale of the drug to or from others, particularly a “minor”;
  • The cultivation of the drug in jurisdictions where it is prohibited; and
  • Marijuana paraphernalia possession

Know Your Legal Rights: Know Your Defenses

Patients arrested on drug charges may use their medical status as a defense, either before or during the trial, to help reduce the severity of the penalties. A patient may also show a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana to reduce penalties and avoid jail time or fines entirely. Finally, due to the clinical nature of his or her health condition, a patient may wish to assert the defense of medical necessity.

It’s crucial to speak with a lawyer who specializes in medical marijuana cases to learn about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to medical marijuana use and/or charges.

From an Attorney, Learn More About Medical Marijuana Laws

Understanding the financial and personal consequences of state and federal marijuana convictions and other criminal sentences is crucial. As a result, if you’ve been charged with a drug crime, your best move is to speak with a criminal defense attorney.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Drug Paraphernalia Charges

Drug Paraphernalia Charges

While most people are aware that drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are illegal under federal and state law, you may not be aware that people can be prosecuted for owning or selling related items or objects, even if they aren’t in possession of the drugs themselves. This article will teach you everything you need to know about drug-related paraphernalia laws.

Laws Concerning Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal to do any of the following under federal law:

  • To offer to sell or sell drug paraphernalia
  • Drug paraphernalia can be mailed or transported through interstate commerce.
  • Drug paraphernalia can be imported or exported.
  • Possession of paraphernalia alone is not a federal offense. However, it is illegal in some states to simply own or possess these items. Police may search for drug residue, and if it’s obvious that a pipe, bong, hookah, or other item was used to smoke illegal substances, a person could be charged with drug paraphernalia.

 

Numerous specific examples of prohibited paraphernalia are listed in federal law, including:

  • Glass, wood, stone, plastic, and ceramic pipes
  • Bongs, water pipes, and chillums (a long hollow pipe usually made of clay)
  • Clips of roach (objects used to hold burning materials like rolled cigarettes or joints that are too small to be held by hand),
  • Snorting cocaine with miniature spoons that hold less than a tenth of a cubic centimeter
  • Freebase cocaine kits, also known as paraphernalia, are items that are used to smoke cocaine

Some states have longer lists of prohibited items than others. Washington State, for example, adds:

  • Weighing scales and balances for controlled substances
  • Instruments for determining the strength or purity of controlled substances
  • To “cut” or dilute the strength of narcotics, materials or chemicals are used.
  • Injecting controlled substances with syringes or needles.

Law enforcement officials must use a variety of factors to distinguish between a legal physical object (such as a scale or a spoon) and illegal drug paraphernalia, according to both federal and state laws.

Certain objects, such as bongs and roach clips, may have been removed from the list in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Even if a state no longer prohibits the sale of these items, it’s important to remember that federal law still considers them to be illegal drug paraphernalia.

Penalties for Possessing or Distributing a Controlled Substance

The penalties for drug paraphernalia offenses are generally less severe than those for offenses involving illicit drugs. The maximum penalty for selling paraphernalia under federal law is three years in prison plus a fine. As previously stated, federal law does not make possession illegal in and of itself.

Penalties vary depending on the state. In Ohio, for example, drug paraphernalia possession is a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine, but dealing in paraphernalia is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine (up to 90 days in jail plus a larger fine). While most states treat paraphernalia distribution as a misdemeanor, if it involves the sale of items to minors, some states make it a felony.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What is the Controlled Substances Act?

What is the Controlled Substances Act?

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) encapsulates the federal government’s comprehensive efforts to regulate the manufacture, possession, dispensing, distribution, and use of specific drugs and other dangerous substances (together, controlled substances). Significant civil and criminal penalties may be imposed on anyone who violates the CSA in an unlawful manner.

The CSA has classified a large number of different products into five schedules. These controlled substances are classified according to their characteristics, which include their medicinal value, potential for abuse, public safety, and likelihood of dependence. By classifying these drugs and substances, it becomes easier to regulate or de-regulate them as necessary.

Who Has the Authority to Reclassify or Declassify a Drug or Substance?

Occasionally, the Attorney General may initiate a proceeding to regulate or transfer a drug from one schedule to another based on a scientific and medical evaluation by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the aforementioned characteristics.

Additionally, the Attorney General may initiate such a proceeding on the petition of a “interested party,” such as the DEA, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, a drug manufacturer, a public interest group, an individual citizen, or a state or local agency.

What Substances or Drugs Are Included in the CSA Schedules?

The list of different types of drugs and substances covered by the CSA’s five schedules is fairly exhaustive, but they generally fall into a few easily identifiable larger groups. Among the products in this category are the following:

  • Heroin, methadone, morphine, opium, and fentanyl are all examples of narcotics.
  • Cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines are stimulants.
  • GHB, rohypnol, and benzodiazepines are all examples of depressants.
  • LSD, peyote, and ecstasy are all hallucinogens.
  • Other substances include marijuana, steroid anabolic steroids, and inhalants (basically, household products such as spray paint, felt markers, or anything else that emits chemical vapors and can be inhaled for psychoactive effects).

The schedules are ranked from most dangerous to least dangerous (i.e., lowest medicinal value and greatest potential for abuse) (most medical value and least potential for abuse). More precisely:

Drugs and substances classified as Schedule I have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse and dependence. They include well-known substances such as heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana.

  • Schedule II drugs and substances have a lower abuse potential than Schedule I drugs and substances and some accepted medical uses. They do, however, carry a high risk of psychological or physical dependence. Vicodin, cocaine, and oxycontin are just a few examples.
  • On the other hand, while schedule III drugs and substances are still considered dangerous in comparison to schedules IV and V, they have a lower potential for abuse and also have some medically accepted uses.
  • They pose a risk of physical or psychological dependence on a moderate to low level. Codeine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone are all Schedule III substances.
  • When compared to schedules 1-3 controlled substances, schedule IV drugs and substances are considered to have a low potential for abuse.
  • When compared to other drugs and substances, they have a recognized medical use and a low risk of developing dependence. Valium, Ambien, and Xanax are classified as Schedule IV medications.
  • When compared to other scheduled drugs and substances, Schedule V drugs and substances have the lowest potential for abuse. They have a recognized medical use and, in comparison to other Scheduled Controlled Substances, a low risk of physical or psychological dependence.
  • They contain trace amounts of narcotics. Cough medications are classified as Schedule V.

How is the CSA used to regulate drugs?

The CSA requires manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers of certain controlled substances to register them. The regulations determine whether registration of these products is in the public interest and establish the most stringent safeguards appropriate for the product’s schedule.

Essentially, manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers, as applicable, are required to implement effective safeguards (i.e. labeling, packaging, and record keeping) to prevent the controlled substance from being unlawfully diverted.

Additionally, the CSA makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it or to be in possession of a controlled substance without authorization. It imposes penalties on the seller and the drug user based on the scheduled (i.e. type and quantity) drug or substance.

Additionally, your motivation for possessing the controlled substance will be considered. For instance, whether you intended to sell the drugs or to use them personally can make a difference. In general, personal possession of a controlled substance carries a lighter sentence than possession with the intent to sell. Anyone found in violation of the CSA may face jail time and fines.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Charged with a Controlled Substances Offense?

If you are facing charges under the Controlled Substances Act, you should consult a local drug attorney. A lawyer will explain your rights and assist you in mounting a vigorous defense against the charges.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Heroin Possession Lawyers

Arizona Heroin Possession Lawyers

Heroin is one of the most widely available illicit drugs. Federal law prohibits the sale, possession, or trafficking of the drug across state lines. Additionally, it is illegal to sell, possess, or traffic heroin in the state of Arizona.

Does Arizona Classify Heroin as a Schedule I Substance?

Yes, Arizona classifies heroin as a Schedule I controlled substance. Because heroin is considered one of the most addictive drugs, it is classified as a felony under this category.

Is There a Certain Amount of Heroin That Constitutes Heroin Possession?

Yes, possessing a gram or more of heroin is considered a crime.

Why Was I Charged in Arizona with Heroin Possession?

There are two scenarios in which you can be charged with heroin possession. The individual possesses heroin and is physically in control of it. The other is constructive possession, which occurs when an individual possesses heroin but does not have it directly in their possession, but still has the intent and ability to control it.

What is the Arizona Penalty for First-Time Heroin Possession?

Heroin possession is a class 4 felony. A minimum of two years and six months in prison is the penalty. Maximum prison sentence is 12 and a half years.

Could a Charge of Heroin Possession Be Reduced to a Misdemeanor?

Yes. If the defendant has never been convicted of a felony, the court may reduce the charge to a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and a fine.

What if This Is My Second Charge of Heroin Possession?

A second conviction for heroin possession carries a maximum sentence of 23 to 14 years in prison.

What is the Penalty for a Third Conviction of Heroin Possession?

A third conviction carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six years in prison. At least 35 years in prison is the maximum sentence.

Do I Need to Consult an Attorney?

Yes, it is in your best interest to consult with an Arizona criminal defense attorney regarding your heroin possession charge. You will learn whether it is possible to mitigate or dismiss the criminal charge.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Crack vs. Powder Cocaine: Penalties

Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing Charges

Historically, someone convicted of possessing one gram of crack faced a 100-fold longer sentence than someone convicted of possessing one gram of powder cocaine. What chemical distinction exists between crack cocaine and powder cocaine that accounts for this discrepancy? There is no significant chemical distinction between crack and powder cocaine; both are forms of cocaine. The stark disparity in federal sentencing laws for possession of two different forms of the same drug is more about media mythology and political pressure than it is about public safety and health. A 2010 federal law addressed some, but not all, of the disparities in sentencing.

How Is Crack Cocaine Defined?

Crack cocaine is made by dissolving powder cocaine (a coca leaf derivative) and baking soda in boiling water and then cutting the resulting paste into small “rocks” after it dries. Typically, the rocks are sold in single doses to smokers. A rock of crack cocaine is less expensive than a comparable “dose” of powder cocaine due to the inexpensive additive (baking soda). However, the two forms of the drug are chemically identical and have the same physical and psychological effects on the user. A person who smokes crack cocaine (as opposed to snorting or injecting powder cocaine) experiences a more intense high more quickly simply because smoke in the lungs affects the brain more rapidly than the other methods of ingestion.

Disparate Sentencing Provisions in the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established a mandatory five-year minimum sentence for possession of five grams (or a few rocks) of crack cocaine. (21 United States Code, Section 841 (2006).) “Mandatory minimum” means precisely what it says: A person convicted of a first offense of possessing five grams of crack must serve a five-year prison sentence. In comparison, the 1986 Act required a coke-snorting user to be caught with 100 times that amount of powder cocaine (500 grams, or more than a pound) to face a similar five-year mandatory minimum sentence. This 100-to-one ratio was not arrived at through a rational analysis of the relative dangers of the two forms of the same drug; rather, during floor debate on the Act, Congress batted around various arbitrary ratios (including 20-to-one) and settled on the 100-to-one ratio. As Representative Dan Lungren (who assisted in the Act’s drafting) put it, “we didn’t really have a legal basis for it.” H6202 (156 Cong.Rec (July 28, 1986).

Under the 1986 Act, an individual caught with a few small bags of crack rocks, even if for personal use, faced the same penalties as a major powder cocaine carrier.

Fair Sentencing Act of 2010

President Obama signed the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, repealing the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of five grams of crack cocaine and increasing the amount of crack required to trigger mandatory sentencing for federal drug trafficking offenses. (See 21 U.S.C. 841, 844.) The 2010 Act reduced the ratio of crack to powder cocaine from 100 to 18 (for the purpose of imposing the same sentence for possession of each form of the drug). Thus, while the federal law continues to impose a different and harsher sentence for crack cocaine possession than for powder cocaine possession, the disparity is not nearly as great as it was under the 1986 Act.

Consult a Lawyer

Regardless of federal law changes, a charge of crack or powder cocaine is a grave offense. If you are charged with drug possession, you should consult an attorney immediately. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with state law (or, if the case is in federal court, an experienced federal practitioner) will be able to advise you on the strength of the case against you and the availability of any defenses. And only a local attorney familiar with the prosecutors and judges in your courthouse can provide an accurate assessment of how the case will likely proceed.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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