Articles Posted in Marijuna laws

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Police use relatively simple tests to determine whether or not to charge someone with a DUI in Los Angeles. If a motorist’s blood alcohol content measures higher than .08 percent on a breathalyzer or blood test, that person will likely soon be visiting a local detention center.THC-DUI-Los-angeles

But police face more challenging obstacles when it comes to determining whether someone has been driving under the influence of marijuana. According to a recent Fox News report, the way that humans metabolize pot makes it difficult to determine when and how driving impairment occurs. Unlike alcohol, which disappears from the bloodstream after a certain number of hours, the active ingredient in pot—tetrahydrocannabinol or THC—can linger in the bloodstream for days.

Colorado and the State of Washington have dealt with this problem by setting a level of five nanograms of THC per liter of whole blood as the threshold for driving under the influence. (Illinois may be increasing that measurement considerably; the state legislature has passed a bill raising the level of impairment to 15 nanograms.) So far, the testing process has involved measuring blood, urine or saliva samples, but one company, Cabbabix Technologies, may be changing the game. Cabbabix has created a prototype of a pot breathalyzer, according to Fox.

Law enforcement must also reconcile with the fact that no one really understands how pot affects driving. The Fox News report said researchers identified conflicting results in studies on the subject; some studies suggest that marijuana use has little to no impact on how likely someone is to get into a crash. Others suggest that drivers who use pot run a higher likelihood of getting into accidents.

Legislators in each state will need to discuss this question in more depth, as more and more states legalize the use of marijuana.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the number of motorists driving under the influence of pot has risen 50 percent since 2007.

Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer, Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers is standing by to offer critical insight into your case and potential defense options. Call him and his team today to begin regaining control over your case and your life.

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Today, we’re going to examine a disturbing Los Angeles drug crime article in the Los Angeles Times that profiled Dr. John O. Dimowo. This Southern California doctor allegedly prescribed narcotics, like Xanax, Vicodin and Adderall, to undercover agents who didn’t need the medications. Dimowo-los-angeles-medical-crime.jpg

Dr. Dimowo was the subject of a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation on overdose deaths in patients. Although he was never officially charged in patient deaths, he stands accused of seven counts of prescribing narcotics illegally. Five patients fatally overdosed on medications that Dimowo prescribed to them in 2009 and 2010.

Based on these charges, the 55-year-old doctor could face up to 7 years behind bars.

According to an affidavit, Dimowo provided prescriptions that fueled patients’ addictions. He wrote 37 new prescriptions a day, on average. After The Times wrote about him in 2012, authorities investigated complaints by the Medical Board of California – supported by pharmacists and family members of patients.

But there was not enough evidence to hold him liable.

If you are a doctor who’s been charged with a Los Angeles prescription drug crime — or if you are a friend or family member of a doctor, dentist, or other caregiver who’s been accused of Los Angeles Medicare fraud, insurance fraud, or similar crimes — Dimowo’s case can be illuminating. Despite all the accusations, “the evidence didn’t leave a direct path,” according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, John Niedermann.

As we saw with the much more high profile case of Michael Jackson’s physician – who was convicted of criminal behavior in connection with the King of Pop’s death in 2009 – a doctor CAN be held criminally liable, in the event that a patient suffers serious harm or death.

But the prosecution can have a tough, complex road to hoe.

Let’s say a patient dies after ingesting Vicodin or Xanax. Did the patient have a pre-existing condition that made him or her susceptible to early mortality? Can the prosecution prove that the doctor failed to do due diligence? Did the patient mix the prescription drugs with street drugs?

The prosecution must answer a whole host of questions and objections to win a case like this.

So what does this mean if you or a loved one faces Los Angeles drug crime charges or other Southern California white collar crime charges?

As soon as possible, within reason, start to investigate your charges and construct an informed defense strategy. Former prosecutor (Senior Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles) Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers can help you with this challenge.

Mr. Kraut served for nearly a decade and a half as prosecutor; he understands how to fight and succeed in complex drug crime cases.

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Beverly Hills drug crime stories can get pretty epic. Craig-Robinson-Arrest-drug-crime.jpg

Tinseltown stars portray larger-than-life characters on the screen, but their off-the-screen exploits can be even more astonishing.

Consider the recent saga of actor Craig Robinson, who played Darryl Philbin, the warehouse boss on NBC’s The Office. Robinson — who also starred in this year’s blockbuster summer comedy, This is the End — recently got detained in the Bahamas for possessing drugs, including marijuana and 18 pills of MDMA (a.k.a. ecstasy).

The actor, who had been performing at the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas, got stopped just before he boarded a plane heading back to the United States. He admitted that he had brought drugs from the United States and that he hadn’t realized they were illegal in the Bahamas.

The actor could have been imprisoned for four years. But he got off with a fine of $1,000.

Robinson has been featured in a number of drug themed comedies, so perhaps this is a case of “life imitates art.” The Bahamas case is not Robinson’s first brush with the law, either. In 2008, police in Culver City arrested him for possessing methamphetamine and ecstasy. Robinson went through a drug diversion program to get the charges dismissed.

Robinson’s other credits include “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” “Hot Tub Time Machine,” and “Pineapple Express.”

Pineapple Express is actually the story of a drug deal gone epically, comically wrong.

Of course, Beverly Hills drug crime charges are anything but a laughing matter. If you or someone you know has been accused of a similar crime, you could face stringent punishments, even if it’s your first time ever breaking the law in Beverly Hills. For instance, depending on the nature of your crime, you could face mandatory felony charges and face over a year in jail.

Fortunately, you have options at your disposal to construct a sound and ethical Beverly Hills drug crime defense.

Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers would be happy to provide a free and confidential consultation about your options. Your drug crime defense will depend on a variety of factors, including whether you’ve been arrested before, whether you also distributed and sold drugs, whether you committed other crimes in addition to drug charges, and beyond. Let Attorney Kraut help you make sense of your complex Beverly Hills drug crime defense case.

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Getting arrested for a drug crime in Los Angeles is serious business.eric-holder-los-angeles-drug-crime.jpg

Current mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes can compel nonviolent offenders to spend substantial time behind bars. The way our society punishes drug crimes is not without its critics, though. In fact, the Obama administration’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, recently lashed out at the “draconian mandatory minimum sentences” for nonviolent offenders.

Holder recently told the American Bar Association that prison system was intended to “punish, deter, and to rehabilitate, not to merely warehouse and forget.” He’s ordered the prosecutors in his department to “modify the Justice Department’s charging policies” to ensure that nonviolent offenders — who have committed relatively minor crimes, such as possession of marijuana — “will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.”

He also decried the fact that black men who go to jail are given sentences “20% longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes.” He called this fact “shameful.”

Holder told NPR earlier in the year: “the war on drugs is now 30, 40 years old … there have been a lot of unintended consequences. There has been a decimation of certain communities, in particular, communities of color … we can certainly change our enforcement priorities.”

Holder wants U.S. attorneys to avoid prosecuting all cases that can be dealt with by California (or other state or local) authorities and to focus instead on violent and serious offenders. He said he aims to make the “federal government … both smarter and tougher on crime.”

Many in the Los Angeles criminal defense community are excited to hear that the U.S. Attorney General is promoting aggressive reforms.

But if you — or a close friend or family member — face urgent and practical problems about your defense, such proposed reforms might not matter much. Creating an effective defense to Southern California criminal drug charges is no small matter, even if you stand accused of a simple, nonviolent offense, such as a misdemeanor possession. And if you stand accused of more complex or serious offenses, such as possession with intent to sell, conspiracy, or drug charges coupled with violent criminal charges, such as assault, battery, sex crimes, etc, your situation can be quite serious.

Don’t let a lack of sound insight imperil your future and lead you to a far more punitive punishment than you deserve. A former senior prosecutor for the City of Los Angeles, Michael Kraut, can consult with you about your Southern California drug charges. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor with lots of experience on both sides of complex drug cases.

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Starting in 2010, any driver convicted of a Los Angeles DUI will be required by law to install an interlock ignition device (IID) in his or her vehicle. The new law is part of an ambitious pilot program being tested in seven different California counties, including Los Angeles and Tulare (in Northern CA). It will remain in effect until at least January 1, 2016, at which time lawmakers can reevaluate the program and determine whether to continue, expand, or terminate it. The legislation stipulates that first-time offenders must keep an IID in their cars for five months minimum; furthermore, past DUI offenders may obtain a restricted driver’s license — provided that they agree to install IIDs in their vehicles.ignition_interlock-DUI-Los-Angeles.jpg

The IID is a Breathalyzer-like device that prevents a vehicle from starting unless a driver blows a clean 0.00% BAC reading.

In addition to changing Southern California DUI rules, the California Legislature passed a slew of other laws which also went into effect on January 1, including:

Move Over, Slow Down expanded — Drivers must slow down or change lanes when approaching emergency vehicles (such as Caltrans vehicles with flashing amber warning lights) or face stiffer punishments.

Assembly Bill 62 — Californians may now install TV/DVD monitors in front seats of vehicles, provided that drivers cannot see the TV/DVD screens while operating their vehicles.

Paparazzi crack down — Pursuant to complaints from Jennifer Aniston and other celebrities about aggressive paparazzi tactics, CA lawmakers passed a bill that imposes extremely steep penalties ($50,000+) on paparazzi who improperly obtain photos of celebs (for instance, by running red lights or committing other traffic infractions).

Seat-free Bicycles Now Allowed on Freeways — Lawmakers eliminated a law that had banned the operation of seatless bikes on state freeways.

The implications of the changes to these laws — particularly the ones pertaining to Los Angeles DUI and interlock ignition devices — will no doubt be profound and far-reaching.

Do you or a loved one or family member need help battling charges of driving under the influence in Los Angeles?

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United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Federal law enforcement will no longer target medical marijuana dispensaries in California that operate legally. That means that Los Angeles and Southern California medical marijuana defense attorneys will have an upper edge. For the first time in the history of the United States, Federal laws are no longer going to be used to prosecute a drug crime. President Obama announced during his campaign that medical marijuana prosecutions would no longer be a priority under his administration.

The new policy has a direct effect on the 13 states that have legalized marijuana laws. Of those 13, only California allows for medical marijuana dispensaries operate legally. Until now, the Feds have not acknowledged the existence of Proposition 215 enacted by the citizens of California in 1996. Also called the Compassionate Use Act, Prop 215, allows for those with a medical need to have a doctor “recommend” the use of marijuana to relieve symptoms.

Under the newly announced policy, the Federal Government will no longer target those individuals that do not violate state laws on marijuana. In order for a dispensary to be legal under California law, and thus immune from Federal prosecution, they must comply with the California Attorney General August, 2008, announcement of compliance as well as other laws.

A dispensary must seek guidance from a Los Angeles based medical marijuana criminal defense attorney in order to make sure that they are not violate the law. If the dispensary can operate legally, then the Feds will leave them alone.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s position is that a medical marijuana dispensary must operate as a nonprofit cooperative. That means the marijuana must be grown by cooperative members to be sold without a profit to other cooperative members. Those members must all have a medical necessity for marijuana to treat their symptoms. The member must have a valid recommendation from a duly licensed doctor. The dispensary must be both licensed and pay taxes on its sales as well as provide security for the facility. There are dozens of other requirements that must be put in place prior to a person opening a legal dispensary.

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The Northern California city of Alameda has revoked the license of a medical marijuana dispensary which has operated lawfully for several months. The owner of the Purple Elephant contests the revocation and believes that he is being harassed. Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries will need to hire a Los Angeles Medical Marijuana defense attorney in order to keep the scrutiny of their legitimate business at bay from the Federal Government which has stated that it will fully prosecute those that sell marijuana.

The Alameda City Manager sent the revocation letter because she believed that the owner of the dispensary had failed to disclose the true nature of his business on the license application. Additionally, the City Manager claims that the owner of the Purple Elephant did not obtain the required zoning clearance for the dispensary before opening. The owner has sought an appeal of the revocation. While the appeal is pending, the dispensary is allowed to remain open.

It is important for those that frequent Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries, or Southern California medical marijuana dispensaries, that it is still legal to use medical pot pursuant to proposition 215. This section was codified under Health and Safety Code 11362.5. This section states that a person may use medical marijuana if they have a doctor’s recommendation that they have a medical condition. The code also states that a person may cultivate pot for their own personal consumption as long as they do not sell it. Even though it is still legal under State law, the Federal Government has stated that it will fully enforce the Federal laws in United States District Court. That means that people who use marijuana need to keep in contact with a Los Angeles medical marijuana attorney to protect their interests.

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As we see the beginning of a new President and Vice President for the United States, we will most likely see a new beginning for criminal prosecutions for Los Angeles DUIs and Southern California criminal law.

Already the new administration has claimed that there will be a clamp down on crime. The local administrations have also claimed that they will vigorously prosecute even minor offenses. It will not matter if you are arrested for a Los Angeles DUI, a Long Beach crime, a San Fernando robbery, or a Pasadena DUI, the police will be trying to enforce the law to the fullest. For that reason, it is important to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who has the experience and knowledge to defend you.

The new emphasis on punishment for minor offenses is going to put regular citizens in a bad position. In the past, judges and prosecutors understood that there is a clear difference between people who are law abiding but who make a mistake, and those who a repeat offenders. Now, even minor offenses are going to punished more severely.

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I want to wish everyone in the Los Angeles and Southern California area who reads or is redirected to this Los Angeles and Southern California Criminal Defense Blog a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. This blog is now six months old and I am pleased that it seems to have helped so many people. I have received many comments from people around the area that they have been helped by the information here.

In an attempt to wrap it up for the year I want to make sure that people are safe for this holiday season. I also want those people people who get into a Los Angeles DUI that if they should be stopped by the police in at a Southern California DUI checkpoint, or by Los Angeles law enforcement, that a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney is available 24/7 to assist if you or a loved one.

Because Southern California DUIs are taken so seriously, you need to know your rights and responsibilities. Remember you do not need to take the Los Angeles Law Enforcement PAS test in the field. If you are stopped by the police make sure to be polite. If they ask you to take the Los Angeles field sobriety tests you must comply. But if they ask or demand that you take a PAS test you are allowed to refuse. It is the recommendation of this Los Angeles DUI defense attorney to refuse this test. It can only be used against you. If you blow a significant BAC then you will be arrested. If you are taken to the police station you will be offered a choice of the breath or blood test. The choice is yours. But try to delay the test as long as possible. The law requires that the blood test must be taken with a specific time. If it is not done within the allotted time then the results will be thrown out in court.

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The United States Coast Guard based out of Newport Beach, California made a gigantic seizure of marijuana off the coast of Southern California this past week. Government sources claim that the pot is worth over $32 million. That could be a lot of medical marijuana. However, the Government asserts that the 9,987-pound seizure off the coast of San Diego was for illegal purposes and was not destined to stock the shelves of medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

This is considered the be the largest marijuana seizure in the history of the Coast Guard in Southern California. Because the marijuana was seized in Mexican waters, the United States does not have jurisdiction to file criminal charges. If our Government in fact does file the criminal charges, then there are numerous defenses in a case of this type and the pilot of the boat should be looking to hire a Los Angeles and Southern California Marijuana defense attorney.

Apparently, the Coast Guard was on routine patrol when they spotted a boat about 100 miles off the coast acting in a suspicious manner. The trained eyes of the Government noticed that the ship was traveling very slow, until the sun began to go down and then the vessel sped up. This caused the Coast Guard to think that something was a miss. The fact that the boat did not use lights made them think the boat was a drug runner. The Coast Guard then tried to stop the vessel based upon their suspicion. Often times, the Government incorrectly stop individuals with out reasonable suspicion. Without the assistance of a top notch Southern California Marijuana defense attorney, individuals who would normally go free, are wrongfully convicted. That is why it is so important for anyone arrested or under investigation for a marijuana crime to immediately hire a Los Angeles pre-filing criminal defense attorney to protect their rights.

Then the chase was on. For over 3 miles the Coast Guard attempted to stop the vessel like a scene from Miami Vice, the captain began to through bails of pot over board.

The Coast Guard was prevented from pursuing the vessel in Mexican waters so they passed the information on to their counter parts int he Mexican Navy. While the Mexican Navy did their thing, the Coast Guard went back and picked up 136 bails of pot.

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