Drug Possession vs. Drug Distribution: Everything You Need to Know

Under state and federal laws, the willful possession of controlled substances is considered a crime. Those who get arrested for drug possession will need the help of first-rate drug lawyers to guide them on how to move forward.

Drug possession is a serious charge that carries heavy penalties like fines and jail time. However, if authorities find evidence there was an intent to sell or distribute the drugs found in someone’s possession, they will be liable to face drug distribution charges.

Unfortunately, consequences for the latter are more severe compared to mere drug possession. Regardless of the charges faced, the help of a seasoned and competent drug lawyer is required.

Drug Possession Vs. Drug Distribution: How is One Different from the Other?

If you are found with illicit substances, you could face any of the following charges, depending on the evidence against you:

  • Possession
  • Trafficking
  • Distribution
  • Manufacturing

Drug Possession

The most common charge among the four is possession, as more people are likely to purchase drugs rather than distribute or sell them. Possession is defined as intentionally and knowingly having the controlled substance without any valid prescription and quantity that’s enough for selling or personal use.

In some states like Ohio, if you are caught in possession of 100-200 grams of marijuana, you will be slapped with a 4th degree misdemeanor. You can pay as much as $250 in fines and can face 30 days in jail.

Any more and you will be charged with a felony, which carries a harsher consequence—$2,500-$15,000 in fines and 6 to 8 years in prison, depending on the amount. Possession of more dangerous substances can automatically result in a felony. The severity of the punishment can vary depending on the quantity and the type of drug.

The law provides for two types of drug possession. One is actual possession, also known as “possession in fact.” In this type of drug possession, the drug is either found on the individual’s person, or the individual was caught having immediate physical contact with the controlled substance.

The other type of drug possession is called constructive possession. It is also sometimes referred to as “possession in law.” When charged with constructive possession, it means the suspect had knowledge, access to, and the ability to control the controlled substances found, even if it was not on their person at the time of the arrest.

One or more can be charged with constructive possession, like in the case of controlled substances found in an apartment where multiple people have keys.

Drug Distribution

Possession with intent to distribute is considered a more serious offense. Drug distribution is defined as a person offering or selling a controlled substance. It is also defined as the preparation, shipping, delivery, transportation, and distribution of an illegal drug when the individual knows it will be sold or resold by someone else.

If the quantity is 20 grams or less, the crime is a misdemeanor. However, when the quantity is 21-200 grams, it will be a felony charge. Those who are convicted of distribution of more than 40,000 grams of marijuana can get a mandatory sentence of 8 years and a penalty of up to $20,000.

Punishment for selling more dangerous drugs often come with harsher penalties. For instance, possession of heroin with intent to sell carries a maximum term of 11 years.

Conclusion

If you are facing drug-related charges, ensure you hire a lawyer with a lot of experience handling similar cases. Drug lawyers often know more about state and federal drug laws. Therefore, they are better equipped to help you out and get you the best possible results for your case.

Zero Tolerance Laws For Underage DUI Offenses

To help curb underage drunk driving, all states have not only introduced stiff penalties for underage DUI, but they have also enacted “zero-tolerance” laws. Said laws apply to drivers under the age of 21. 

What Zero Tolerance Is

In all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, it is illegal for people under 21 to purchase and possess alcohol. And while driving under the influence (0.08 percent or higher BAC) is prohibited for all motorists, all states have zero-tolerance laws for underage DUI offenses.

Under the zero-tolerance laws, drivers under the age of 21 who drive with even the smallest amount of alcohol in their system (0.00 to 0.02 BAC depending on the states) will be slapped with a criminal DUI offense.

In light of such laws, an innocent glass of wine during dinner can subject an underage driver with a DUI charge. While considered harsh, it is crucial to remember that zero-tolerance laws exist to combat the real dangers of underage drinking.

The Importance of Zero Tolerance Laws

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly a third of all deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds are attributed to motor vehicle crashes. At least 35 percent of the fatalities are, unfortunately, alcohol-related.

NHTSA further revealed that the involvement rate for young drivers is almost twice that of drivers over 21. Statistics also show that underage drinking at even low levels presents a higher risk of fatal crashes.

The National Highway Systems Designation Act of 1995 mandated that states should consider 0.02 percent BAC for drivers under 21 to be driving under the influence to qualify for Federal-Aid Highway Funds.

To comply, states have to set 0.02 percent BAC as “per se offense.” Police officers don’t have to prove intoxication as long as the underage driver is above the limit stated.

What to Do When Facing an Underage DUI Charge

Besides monetary fines, you can face license suspension (for a year or more) and sometimes vehicle impoundment when cited for DUI. It is also likely that you will be required to attend alcohol/drug classes and render community hours. If the offense is severe or a recurring one, it can result in jail time. 

When facing an underage DUI charge, keep in mind the following:

Get in touch with a DUI defense attorney.

While it would be tempting to call your family lawyer, it is in your best interest to pick a lawyer that deals specifically with impaired driving charges. Since a DUI is a high-stress situation, it is crucial to contact a DUI defense lawyer as soon as the potential for charges is evident. Your lawyer can give you the best advice on how to proceed.

Document your night.

When charged with a DUI, it would be beneficial to take notes and document what happened when you were arrested. Some of the things you need to remember when you were pulled over include:

  • Your speed before you were pulled over
  • How the officer interacted with you
  • Whether your Miranda rights were read to you
  • Whether your car was missing any essential parts (i.e., license plates, taillights, etc.)

Be mindful of the things you say.

If suspected of drinking and driving, it is likely that everything you say will be scrutinized. It is also expected that everything you do or say can be held against you in court. While you must be friendly and cooperative, it is also crucial that you check with your attorney when or when not to engage with the officers.

Conclusion

While some have challenged zero-tolerance laws based on their effectiveness, they have helped to significantly minimize the number of fatal crashes involving intoxicated and underage drivers. 

Also, if you are an underage driver, it is essential to always remember that DUI charges will have massive legal and monetary repercussions and can negatively affect your future education and career opportunities.

Alcohol Addiction May Result to Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a knowing act of abusive behavior, which may be in the form of physical threats and violence, or emotional, financial, or psychological abuse. It often takes place during an attempt to gain power over a partner or intimate family member in a domestic setting. 

AFV or Assault Family Violence is a serious legal offense, with charges and sentences heavily depending on the nature of the accusation, the weight of the evidence, the degree of the damage, the severity of the situation, and other circumstantial elements. As domestic violence cases can fall anywhere between a misdemeanor to a felony charge, the accused will need a reliable domestic violence attorney to represent them in court and negotiate the terms of their indictment. 

Domestic violence cases come with high and possibly life-changing stakes upon conviction. Anybody who finds themselves at the receiving end of a domestic violence lawsuit will need the help of an experienced lawyer who specializes in playing defense.

Domestic Violence and Alcohol Abuse

Many people correlate domestic violence to alcohol abuse. In fact, in most of the statements of those who have been charged, you can hear the words “drunk” and “alcohol” repeatedly. The thing is, the people who have been exploring the dynamics of domestic abuse assert that there are no substantial scientific and medical grounds to back the notion that alcoholism causes violence. Just as alcoholism is a result of habitual heavy drinking, domestic violence is a socially learned behavior. It is not innate or natural to human beings. 

Studies, however, tell us that elevated levels of alcohol in the body can affect a person’s ability to perceive and interpret words and actions correctly. Heavy drinking can arouse cravings for control and power over another person. It can make the user highly volatile and easily agitated, which may lead to aggression.

People under the influence of alcohol have a higher tendency to lose control of their emotions and behavior.  Thus, they are more likely to shake off their inhibitions and act on their thoughts and urges. If a person already has abusive tendencies, his alcohol-dependency may play a part in triggering domestic violence. The risk further increases when both parties are intoxicated. Victims who are also under the influence may find it hard to gauge the actual danger they are in or make logical responses to the situation.

There has been much debate going on as to whether alcohol is to blame for domestic violence, but to this day, there is still no hard proof to justify that alcohol alone can be the root of such behavior. What most of the researches determined is that the relation of alcohol abuse and domestic violence is an intersection of two distinct social problems.

Yes, plenty of assault cases occurred under the influence of alcohol, but there are also many abusive incidents that happen in its absence. Inversely, countless men and women regularly consume large amounts of alcohol without becoming violent as a result.

On Getting Help

The odds of domestic violence is relatively higher when one or both parties have alcoholic tendencies. A report from the World Health Organization states that around 55% of domestic violence/intimate partner abuse perpetrators consumed alcohol before committing assault. Additionally, victims of domestic violence are also more likely to abuse alcohol.

While you can argue that consuming alcohol is not a direct cause of domestic violence, plenty of evidence suggests that they often go hand in hand. Aggressive tendencies, when mixed with alcohol, multiply the rate and likelihood of dangerous consequences. 

That being said, the best way out of domestic violence and alcohol abuse is to treat both conditions rather than just one. Treatment programs that focus on alcohol addiction, aggression, and trauma can help victims and perpetrators alike free themselves from this vicious cycle of abuse.

When is DUI Considered a Felony?

Have you ever been pulled over for drunk driving or driving under the influence? It can be scary if you have no idea what your state laws are for such an offense. One example of an oft-repeated question is whether a DUI (or DWI – driving while intoxicated) is a misdemeanor or a felony. When does a DUI charge become a felony?

While each state has its statutes for DUI charges, it is common knowledge that drunk driving is a misdemeanor or a traffic violation. However, authorities refer to drunk driving as driving while intoxicated by alcohol while there are different categories for DUI, mostly factors that impede or affect the driver’s motor skills. A DUI defense specialist knows this stuff, so if you’re looking at a DUI charge, you should hire one right away.

If charged with a misdemeanor, you’ll serve jail time, but the sentence and punishment are lighter than that of a felony. On the other hand, getting accused of a felony means you’ll spend time in state prison for over a year. It helps if you have a bit of background information on what constitutes a DUI misdemeanor and when it becomes a felony. Here are the factors used to determine the charge type.

A High Blood Alcohol Level

When authorities pull over a driver suspected of DUI, one thing they do is check on the person’s blood alcohol concentration or BAC. The numbers vary per state, but the standard minimum level is .08%. Once the driver’s BAC reflects a higher level, such as 0.12%, the DUI charge is a felony.  

Injury or Bodily Harm/Vehicular Manslaughter

If a driver caught driving under the influence caused injury or bodily harm, and if the act killed someone, then authorities will file a DUI felony charge against the driver. It is crucial to determine if it was the driver who caused the injury, accident, or death. Most states follow this ruling for vehicular manslaughter. 

Another scenario that can result in a felony conviction is running through a red light and hitting another vehicle where the passengers sustain injuries. 

In cases like this, the driver’s license is usually revoked, suspended, or restricted. 

Previous DUI Convictions

In terms of drivers with previous DUI convictions, states have different justifications and laws. Some states look at convictions that took place within the past ten years, others assign enhanced sentences to prior convictions within the last five years, and several states convict repeat offenders regardless of how long ago the previous arrest happened. 

If a Child is in the Vehicle

Drivers caught driving under the influence and carrying a child or minor under 18 years of age will receive enhanced sentences in most states. Some states have different age cut-offs, but the common regulation does not excuse anyone even if the child in the vehicle is theirs.

Driver Refuses to Take a Breath Test

Most states impose higher penalties on drivers caught driving under the influence but refused to take a breath test. The punishment varies from state-to-state; some revoke the driver’s license while others require offenders to spend time in jail. Generally, however, drivers who get caught are given harsher penalties.

If an arrested driver refuses to take a urine or blood test, he or she can only get enhanced sentencing if authorities present a warrant. 

Driving While License is Suspended, Restricted, or Revoked

Drivers with suspended licenses are not legally allowed to drive. So, when caught driving under the influence while their license is suspended – or even if it’s just restricted or revoked, they are charged with a felony depending on which state they are in.

When There is Property Damage 

A misdemeanor is elevated to greater penalties when the driver under the influence wrecks the vehicle he or she is driving. The stakes are even higher if the driver does not have car insurance, which is a major requirement in most states.   

DUI laws and penalties differ from state-to-state, and some cases require court intervention, so sentences are imposed on a case to case basis. Drivers convicted of a felony DUI will:

  • Go to prison – sentences are different in each state, but the length of time is usually more than a year; some even mete out a term of seven years or more
  • Pay fines – the courts determine the amount
  • Temporarily or permanently lose driving privileges
  • Go on probation – convicted drivers undergo counseling, submit to alcohol and drug tests, stay employed and refrain from committing any criminal offense
  • Lose visitation rights and custody if the child was in the vehicle when the driver was arrested
  • Use a monitoring device – the most common one being a breath alcohol ignition interlock device
  • Lose civil rights – such as the right to vote

There are also cases where the arrested driver is required by the authorities or the courts or state to join an alcohol education or treatment program.

To get more information about DUI misdemeanors and felonies, consult with your lawyer or legal adviser.

Can You Rely On Field Sobriety Tests To Be Accurate?

Police use standard field sobriety tests or SFSTs to determine if a driver is drunk or not. If you’re that driver and you fail such tests, you will likely face arrest for driving under the influence.

The purpose of field sobriety tests is clear. Their reliability, however, is still up in the air. Many even dismiss SFSTs as downright inaccurate.

Types of SFSTs

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the use of three SFSTs:

1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

The HGN test is designed to detect signs of nystagmus, a vision condition that makes it difficult for a person to control eye movement. There is a link between nystagmus and alcohol intoxication, which can cause one’s eyes to jerk involuntarily.

HGN is usually done by asking drivers to follow with their eyes a small object they’re moving side to side in front of their faces. Nystagmus becomes apparent if the eyes appear to twitch a lot as they follow the object’s motion.

2. Walk And Turn (WAT)

In a walk and turn test, police will ask a driver to take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn on one foot, then go back and take the same number of steps, all in a straight line. Police expect drivers who aren’t drunk to complete the test without a hitch.

3. One-Leg Stand (OLS)

Drivers undergoing the one-leg stand test will have to be able to stand on one leg for approximately 30 seconds. To avoid a DUI arrest, they must do their best not to sway, balance themselves with their arms, hop, or put their other foot down for the test’s duration.

Why SFSTs Are Prone To Inaccuracies

Police may have been doing SFSTs for a long time, but there is still little assurance that they report accurate results all the time.

A walk and turn, for example, may turn out to be difficult to pass even for someone who’s not drunk. The ground they’re doing the test on might be uneven and cause the driver to trip. The lighting conditions might be too dark, making it hard for drivers to see whether they’re going in a straight line.

The physical condition of the driver may also come into play. For all you know, a driver actually experiences nystagmus symptoms all the time, which means he or she has difficulty controlling eye movements, regardless of whether there is alcohol involved.

On the other hand, the one-leg stand may put people with balance problems, stamina issues, or arthritis at risk of facing arrest for DUI. The same goes for people suffering from anxiety disorders, which will likely render them too uneasy to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line and back.

The arresting officers also play a huge role in the outcome of any SFST they make drivers go through. After all, they’re the ones who will assess how well a driver did during the tests. That, by itself, already makes it clear that the whole thing is far from being objective. A person could end up facing DUI charges based on a police officer’s very subjective evaluation. Police officers are also not immune to committing mistakes in administering the FSTs or simply acting out of malice.

No matter how you look at it, SFSTs are not always accurate, and are, therefore, not reliable. If you were arrested on suspicion of DUI for failing a field sobriety test, you could rely on a skilled and experienced DUI attorney to challenge the results of those FSTs and improve your chances of a positive outcome in your drunk driving case.

The Possible Consequences for Immigrants Convicted of a Felony

Every immigrant in the United States come in with hopes of making their very own version of the “American Dream” a reality. Some achieve that dream, while some fail. Others, however, have it worse when they find themselves charged with a felony. Getting the services of an experienced criminal law firm better their chances of getting off the hook. However, if the court decides to convict, immigrants are bound to face serious consequences.

Aggravated felony

The term “aggravated felony” sounds serious, but the term was created specifically for immigration purposes, and it doesn’t have to correspond to an “aggravated” offense or a “felony” under criminal law. 

When it was first enacted in 1988, the aggravated felony was limited to murder, federal drug trafficking, the illicit trafficking of firearms and incendiary devices, and other serious crimes. Over the years, however, Congress has added offenses such as theft, simple battery, filing a fraudulent tax return, and failing to appear in court. These changes also happen to be retroactive on convictions, regardless of when they were received.

As it stands, an aggravated felony is used to describe a category of offenses that carry the most severe immigration consequences for non-citizens, long-term legal residents included. Those consequences may include detention and deportation, as well as a lifetime ban on returning to the United States.

Different results for different classifications

While a conviction for aggravated felony typically leads to deportation for a non-citizen, the final outcome may differ as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will factor in several considerations—including a person’s immigration status—before arriving at a penalty.

For a Legal Permanent Resident convicted of an aggravated felony, he or she will likely be deported and barred from future immigration to the United States.

An aggravated felony conviction also makes an Asylee eligible for deportation since aggravated felony qualifies as a “particularly serious crime,” a conviction for which can get an Asylee removed from the country.

Refugees convicted of an aggravated felony could face deportation to their home country, even when it’s not safe for them to be there. That conviction also makes them ineligible for Legal Permanent Resident status.

A conviction for an aggravated felony or any criminal offense, for that matter, can make a Non-Citizen without Legal Status eligible for deportation. Non-Citizens with Temporary Lawful Status, on the other hand, could lose their status for any felony conviction. Two or more misdemeanor convictions can also lead to the same outcome.

If you’re a green card holder convicted of a felony, you may still be able to defend yourself in court against removal from the United States. This time, however, you would be best served to contact an immigration attorney.

The Worst States For A DUI Arrest in the US

Drunk driving is illegal in all states, and a DUI conviction brings with it several short and long-term legal consequences.

Some states, however, enforce DUI laws that are more stringent than usual. If you get arrested for a DUI in any of the following states, you will need to get the best DUI defense attorney available, because you wouldn’t want to suffer the consequences, which are often harsher.

Utah

In 49 states, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is at .08 percent. Utah is the only exception, as the BAC limit there is now pegged at .05 percent, the lowest in the entire United States. That means it’s easier to get arrested for a DUI in Utah than anywhere else in the country.

Once convicted for a first offense, you are facing fines of at least $1,310, license suspension of 120 days, and a maximum 180 days in jail.

Oklahoma

A DUI conviction in Oklahoma usually means 10 days to one year in jail and suspension of driver’s license for 180-days, plus fines of up to $1,000.  Get arrested for another DUI within a 10-year period, and you will be facing felony charges, the penalties for which are much more severe.

Kansas

Did you know that you can get a DUI in Kansas without actually driving? Even when you’re just “attempting to operate” a vehicle that isn’t moving, you can still be arrested for DUI if your BAC is over the limit.

A jail term of 48 hours to six months is typical for a first-time DUI conviction in Kansas. On top of a $750 to $1,000 fine, a DUI offender will also have to pay court costs and supervision fees. A 30-day driver’s license suspension is also par for the course.

Georgia

The penalties for a first DUI in Georgia include 12 months probation, 10 days to 12 months in jail, and fines of $300 to $1,000. A 12-month driver’s license suspension is also in order, although paying a $200 reinstatement fee and completing a DUI education program can help you get your license back within 120 days.

Delaware

The maximum jail time for a first DUI offense in Delaware is 12 months, which is no picnic by any stretch of the imagination. You may also have to pay fines and penalties of $500 to $1500. You will also be up for a 12 to 24-month license suspension, depending on your BAC at the time of your arrest. Get three DUIs within five years, and you will be charged with a felony.

Nebraska

A first DUI conviction in Nebraska will get you seven to 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license, that is, if your BAC was less than .15% at the time of your arrest. If it’s over that limit, your license will be suspended for a year.

Arizona

Arizona has a reputation for having some of the strictest DUI laws overall. A first conviction for a standard DUI charge carries a jail sentence of 10 days to six months, as well as fines of at least $1,480.

However, if you were arrested with a BAC of at least .15%, you will be charged with Extreme DUI, a conviction for which means serving a mandatory 30 days in jail and paying a minimum fine of $2,500.

A BAC of at least .20%, meanwhile, will earn you a Super-Extreme DUI charge. You will serve a minimum of 45 consecutive days in jail upon conviction and pay a fine of at least $3,250.

License suspension for all three first-time charges will last for at least 90 days.

Whatever you do, never get arrested for drunk driving in the above states. Better yet, don’t drink and drive at all.

What Is The Personal Injury Calculation For Pain And Suffering?

Anyone who files a personal injury complaint will always include pain and suffering in his or her claim and ask for compensation for them. The thing is, pain and suffering are quite intangible and very subjective concepts. Assigning a reasonable monetary value to them could prove to be difficult for those who do not practice law. But for an experienced trial lawyer, calculating reasonable pain and suffering in personal injury cases is very doable. As long as they perform a very close examination of the accident that caused the injury, they can arrive at a figure that would be fair for everyone concerned. 

So how do attorneys perform personal injury calculation for pain and suffering? 

Defining pain and suffering

To define pain and suffering and other intangible losses, attorneys typically use the term, “general damages,” and it’s usually a part of any personal injury settlement. With the help of either the multiplier method or the per diem approach, they can put a monetary value to the economic and general damages associated with such a settlement.  

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is the most commonly used general damages calculator by lawyers and most insurance companies. It involves adding up all your special damages—the easily calculable losses such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, etc.—and multiplying them by a number as low as 1.5 or as high as 5. This second number, referred to as the “multiplier,” will depend on several factors of the case. For example, minor injuries could only result in a multiplier of 1, while gross negligence could kick the multiplier way up to 5. The likelihood of your speedy recovery may also affect the multiplier. The same goes for the impact of your injuries on your daily activities.

Obviously enough, the goal of the complainant and his or her lawyer when using the multiplier method is to argue for a higher multiplier. The defendant or his insurance company, on the other hand, will try to find ways to see that multiplier go down.

The “Per Diem” Approach

With the “Per Diem” (each day in Latin) method, you will be asking for a certain dollar amount for every day that you are in pain because of the accident. 

So let’s say you fractured your leg, and you’re forced to wear a cast for two months. You also had to take painkillers for three more months. That’s five months or approximately 150 days of pain and suffering that you had to endure. If you’re earning $40,000 a year, divide that figure by 250 working days per year, and you get a daily wage of $160 per day. Now multiply your $160 daily rate by 150 days, and you get $24,000 as your pain and suffering settlement.

This method, however, is not commonly used by lawyers because they often disagree on how to set the dollar amount for each day of pain and suffering. The per diem approach also wouldn’t work if the injuries are long term, if the accident caused permanent disability, or if the injuries caused the complainant to lose his or her earning capacity altogether. For this reason, lawyers often use the multiplier method to calculate general damages.

What’s clear is that you are going to need the services of a good personal injury lawyer if you’re suing for your pain and suffering. With one such attorney by your side, you have a better chance of winning a settlement that’s fair considering everything that you had to go through.

What Are My Rights as An Immigrant?

The U.S. Constitution guarantees every person in the country with certain rights, regardless of the status of their immigration.

While being an immigrant in this country can be a challenge, to say the least, knowing your rights and how to use them can help you appropriately respond to a situation with the police or immigration officer.

Below are some of your most basic rights as immigrants in the United States.

The right to remain silent

If an immigration officer approaches and asks you questions, you may not speak to them or answer any of their inquiries, especially those involving your place of birth or how you came into the United States. You may also refuse to show any proof of identification that shows what country you’re from.

To keep them from asking more questions, you may tell them that you’re choosing to remain silent until your immigration attorney arrives. Most importantly, don’t lie or produce any false documents.

The right to refuse a search

Aside from choosing to remain silent, you do not have to allow or agree to a search on yourself or your belongings. The officer, however, may perform a pat- down check on your clothes if they suspect you of carrying a weapon.

Your labor rights

U.S. labor and employment laws apply to all employees, notwithstanding their immigration status. Any acts of discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or color are prohibited in the workplace.

Like all every other person in this country, you have the right to a safe working environment and be fairly compensated for the work that you do.

Your right to an attorney

In the event that you’re detained or taken into custody, invoke your right to a lawyer immediately. Even if you don’t have or know an attorney, you may ask the officers for a list of pro bono lawyers. You may also contact your consulate for assistance in finding a lawyer to handle your case.

Be careful about making any statements or signing documents, especially if you don’t fully understand what they mean. You may refuse to sign anything until you have spoken to your legal counsel.

What do I do if ICE shows up on my doorstep?

Your home affords you special protections that you can’t exercise in public spaces. Understanding these protections and how to use them can help you deal with and avoid trouble with the immigration enforcement knocking on your door.

One thing that every immigrant should know is that you don’t have to let an ICE officer inside your home unless they have a valid search or arrest warrant with your name (or any person in residence) and address on it, signed by a judge. You can ask the officer to hold the document up to a window or slip it under the door so that you can examine it.

If the officers can’t produce a warrant, keep the door shut and inform them that you do not consent to their entry. Should they for their way in, do not resist or run away. Instead, tell them that you do not authorize their search of the premises. Stay silent. Do not make any statements, answer any questions, or sign documents. Ask to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.

An immigration attorney can help.

Immigration matters are often confusing and complicated – this area of the law is something that you wouldn’t want to navigate alone.

No matter what kind of situation you’re in, know that you have options. An experienced immigration attorney can help you grasp the context of your individual circumstance and go through all the possible options.

Whether it’s an immigration application or issues with immigration laws and procedures, working with an expert can save you time from dealing with extensive paperwork and raise your chances of obtaining a favorable result.

What You Should Know About Prescription Drugs & Drugged Driving

Drunk driving is illegal, and so is drugged driving. And if you think that the “drugged” in drugged driving only refers to illicit ones like cocaine, crystal meth, and heroin, you would be surprised by what the law has to say about that.

Drugged driving laws, which all US states have, cover prescription drugs as well. Even when what’s found in your system are traces of painkillers, antidepressants, and other types of legally prescribed medications, you can get arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs or DUID. And just like a regular DUI, the consequences of a DUID are just as serious, and you will need to hire a DUI drug lawyer.

Here are some more facts about prescription drugs and drugged driving that you need to know.

Side effects of prescribed drugs get you in trouble.

If you’re suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, then you’re likely taking maintenance medications prescribed by your doctor. The problem with such drugs, however, is that they do have varying side effects. The same can be said of painkillers, especially ones that fall under the category of opioids, whose effects are similar to what you get from heroin.

Some of the most common side effects of prescription drugs include blurry vision, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness. When a person who takes prescription drugs experiences any of them while behind the wheel, it could lead to an accident that could put lives in danger.

Your prescription isn’t a pass in some states.

Waving your actual written prescription in the face of a police officer who stops you on suspicion of DUID is not going to save you, at least in states like Arizona, Delaware, and Kansas. As far as their DUID laws are concerned, legal entitlement to use a drug is not an acceptable defense.

It’s even tougher in Arizona, home to some of the strictest DUI laws in the United States. Drugged driving is inherently illegal there, as it has a per se prohibition against it in place. Painkilling opioids and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines are also categorized there as prohibited drugs, and if police officers there have reasonable suspicion that you are impaired by such drugs, they can readily arrest and charge you with DUID.

Police won’t distinguish between alcohol and drugs.

The most important thing for police officers is to determine if the driver is impaired. In most states, police won’t really distinguish between alcohol, prescription drugs, or over-the-counter or OTC medications. All they will do is ascertain if a driver they pulled over on suspicion of DUI is, indeed, impaired, and they will arrest that driver, regardless of the substance that caused that impairment.

To find out if a driver is impaired, police officers will typically administer field sobriety tests or FSTs, which are subjective at best. It will then be up to the police officers to decide whether the driver passes those tests or not. If arrested, then whether the charge is a DUI or a DUID will depend on more tests to be administered after the arrest.

Taking prescription drugs doesn’t mean no more driving, ever.

Even if you’re taking prescription drugs regularly, you can still drive, as long as you take steps that they won’t impair you when you’re driving.

Your physician will play a crucial role in ensuring you won’t be impaired when taking drugs your medical condition requires. Your doctor’s actions will include adjusting your dosage, the number of times you take them in a day, and changing the prescription altogether to one with few to no side effects. With such tweaks, there is a reduced risk of impairment, and you would be able to drive safely.

Should you find yourself arrested for drugged driving, keep in mind that you are going to need a DUI attorney to represent you to make sure you get the best possible results.