Arizona DUI Marijuana Law | Ventura DUI | David Lehr Law

Arizona Supreme Court Rules on Driving-Under-the-Influence Law for Marijuana Users

Arizona Supreme Court DUI Law for Marijuana Users

On April 22, 2014, the Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled that law enforcement can’t prosecute Arizona motorists for driving under the influence of marijuana unless the person is actually impaired at the time of the stop.

The Arizona Supreme Court justices rejected arguments made by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office that a motorist whose blood contains a slight amount of the secondary metabolite Carboxy-THC, found in marijuana, can be presumed to be driving while impaired.  The Court stated that medical evidence shows that’s not the case.

This ruling immediately affects legal medical marijuana users in Arizona, who currently number more than 40,000.  It means that legal medical marijuana users will not be banned from driving regardless of how long the Carboxy-THC metabolite remains in the user’s blood.  This ruling also provides protection against impaired driving charges for anyone else who might have marijuana in their system, including those who might be visiting from other medical marijuana states, like California, or those who might be visiting from Washington or Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana is legal.Arizona Supreme Court | Ventura DUI | David Lehr Law

The case stems from a driver who, after being cited and given a blood test, was found to have Carboxy-THC in his system and was charged with driving with an illegal drug or its metabolite in his body.  While the trial judge dismissed the charge, an Arizona Court of Appeal said the laws on impaired driving “must be interpreted broadly.”

Susan Luder, a deputy Maricopa County attorney, told the justices that the Legislature is legally entitled to declare that a positive blood test for Carboxy-THC can be used to prosecute someone who, if convicted, can lose a driver’s license for a year.  Ms. Luder also acknowledged, however, that Carboxy-THC can show up in a user’s blood test a month after the marijuana was initially ingested.  Ms. Luder also did not dispute the concession of her own expert witness that the presence of the metabolite does not indicate that someone is impaired.

Thankfully, Justice Robert Brutinel, who authored the majority ruling, stated this argument makes no sense.  According to Justice Brutinel:

“This interpretation would create criminal liability regardless of how long the metabolite remains in the driver’s system or whether it has any impairing effect…if a metabolite could be detected five years after ingesting a proscribed drug, a driver who tested positive for trace elements of a non-impairing substance could be prosecuted.”

Justice Brutinel noted that even prosecutors contend the metabolite itself does not cause impairment.

NYPD Officers DUI | Ventura DUI | David Lehr Law

Game-Changing Arrests in New York: Three NYPD Arrested for DUI in 27 Hours

NYPD Officer DUI Arrests

A large issue that the general population has with the police is that they take care of their own and that the rules which apply to us don’t apply to them. However, on April 17-18, 2014, it was revealed that three NYPD officers (two of whom were sergeants) were charged with DUI related offenses. You can read the names of the officers and the specifics of the arrests here.

NYPD | Ventura DUI | David Lehr Law                  This string of arrests, particularly because senior officers were involved, raises some major questions. Is this a new policy of the NYPD? Was this just a period of time to send a message, or will this be a new rule moving forward? Does this apply to drunk driving only or also for other common traffic offenses not involving alcohol?

One thing seems clear. A message has been sent that NYPD cops aren’t above the law (at least with regards to DUIs- the Stop & Frisk issues involving racial profiling are a different issue altogether).

Others might argue that even though they were charged with alcohol-related offenses, they will still receive special treatment by prosecutors and courts alike. That might be true- but that’s purely speculation at this point. These officers will likely receive some punishment (whether the ‘time’ fits the ‘crime’ or not) but this is significant nonetheless.

To me, it seems that the NYPD’s new chief, Bill Bratton, is making a concerted effort to restore some of the public trust following too many years of NYPD police action (this is a good example of the Stop & Frisk policy briefly mentioned above) that systematically broke the faith that New York’s people had for their police. Let’s hope Mr. Bratton’s policy is here to stay.

Donovan McNabb | Ventura DUI | David Lehr Law

Former NFL Star Donovan McNabb Spends a Day In Jail For 2013 DUI Arrest

Former NFL Star DUI Arrest

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was released on April 17, 2014, from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year.

McNabb was arrested on December 13, 2013, near Phoenix. He was stopped on a freeway at 3:00 a.m. after radar clocked his Range Rover going 81 mph in a 65 mph zone. He was also cited for a DUI, but no information about blood-alcohol level was on the citation.

McNabb pleaded guilty on March 27, 2014, and nine days of his sentence was suspended.

McNabb played 13 years in the NFL after being drafted as the second overall pick in 1999. No one, regardless of fame or wealth, is immune from a driving-under-the-influence charge!

McNabb - NFL Star | Ventura DUI | David Lehr Law

Ventura DUI | David Lehr Law

The ABCs of Criminal Defense: What Can A Private Criminal Defense Attorney Do For You?

We get asked this question by many people who are trying to choose between hiring private counsel and using a public defender. The answer depends on the quality of the attorney, whether a private attorney or a free public defender. An excellent public defender is always a better choice than a poorly trained private attorney. At David Lehr Law, we only focus on criminal defense. This focus allows us to learn about the changes in California’s Criminal Code as is happens. We strive to be the very best, and our hope is that at the end of your case you will agree that we have achieved a great result in your case.
So what can we do for you and your case?

The ABCs of Criminal Defense.

AIn every single case we can Assist you through the court process. We will Answer every question that you ask us and get you Answers if we don’t know them. Many of our clients are going through the criminal justice system for the first time and it can be scary, even down-right terrifying. In some cases, we are unable to obtain a better outcome because the law has minimum mandatory sentences. In these situations, we will help you get through your case, keeping you fully Aware of what is going to happen.

BIn many cases, we can help you obtain a Better outcome. A better outcome is not a complete victory. A Better outcome may be a reduction in the level of charge that you are facing. For example, a reduction of your charge from a felony to a misdemeanor or a strike charge to a non-strike charge. A better outcome may be a reduction of custody time or the fine or your probation time. Finally, a Better outcome in your case may be a reduction in a driver’s license suspension time (not every charge has an effect on your driver’s license). We cannot guarantee the outcome of any case. However, in many cases we can help you obtain some type of Better outcome. Don’t let any attorney ever promise you an outcome, and if they do, make sure they put it in writing.

CFinally, in some cases, a Complete victory is possible. This type of complete win is rare. Complete victories most often come about when a victim of a violent crime identifies the wrong person. False identifications still happen today, but they have become less frequent because of better investigatory techniques like DNA. Other causes of a Complete victory in your case may come when the police make a major mistake in handling the evidence. Finally, Complete victories happen when the “victim” has a motive to make a false allegation. These false allegations come about most often when a family member accuses another of some violent crime.

If you are innocent of the charges that you are facing, please contact David Lehr Law so that we can help you protect your record. However, remember that we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case. Complete dismissals are rare in our justice system even with the best attorney. Don’t let any attorney promise you an outcome, and if they do, make sure they put it in writing.