Arizona is a relatively new state in the medical marijuana sphere. As a result, there may be misinformation about the rights and limitations of patients who carry state-issued cards. Knowing one's rights is particularly important when interacting with an employer or law enforcement official. The following is a brief overview about the privileges and boundaries associated with carrying a medical marijuana card:
Right to Possess Marijuana
According state law, a qualifying patient in the state of Arizona may possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana or 12 marijuana plants. Patients may refill their marijuana prescriptions every 14 days at a certified dispensary. However, the patient may not smoke this substance in public or drive while under the influence of marijuana. Furthermore, cardholders may not grow their own plants unless no dispensaries exist within 25 square miles of their residence.
Cannot Face Discrimination
State law prohibits cardholding patients from being discriminated against in the workplace or other settings solely because they have applied for and received a card. The law protects your status as a cardholder, and you have the legal right to seek damages if you are financially or emotionally injured by another party’s discrimination.
Still Subject to Employee Regulations
Despite everything mentioned above, your employer’s regulations do not fly out the window the minute you receive your patient card. If your company has strict anti-drug policies that prevent employees from using marijuana before work, you may find yourself committing a fire-able offense even if you use marijuana for medical purposes. Patients are responsible for conducting their own research into employee expectations before embarking on a treatment plan.
Police officers and employers often misinterpret state laws dealing with medical marijuana. If you have questions about Arizona medical marijuana laws as they pertain to your specific situation, consider speaking to a local criminal defense attorney to ensure that you do not commit offenses for which you can be arrested or fired. Tucson residents in need of legal help should consult the law of Sherick & Bleier by dialing (520) 318-3939 to reach our Downtown office.
Arizona is a state with very harsh DUI laws. The consequences for making a mistake to pleading no contest to driving while under the influence can have serious financial and social consequences. For this reason, it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney the moment you are offered a phone call following arrest. A lawyer can help negotiate a favorable sentence and ensure that you avoid unnecessary punishment.
First Time DUI
If you are convicted or plead guilty to DUI, your first offense will involve financial fines to a number of different state organizations as well as a minimum 24 hours of jail time. This amount can be higher based on the circumstances of your arrest. The most common charges include between $250 and $1250 to the state of Arizona in addition to any fees paid to the MVD for license suspension and eventual reinstatement.
Repeat DUI Offense
The most serious consequence of a repeat DUI offense is increased jail time. The judge is less likely to view a second conviction as a simple transgression, and may assign a more serious punishment. For instance, a second or third offence offense can land a driver in prison for at least thirty days and ensure a fee of at least $500. This DUI conviction may also be treated as a felony, which takes away a defendant’s right to vote even after he or she is finished serving time. Additionally, a repeat offense involves the installation of an ignition interlock device and completion of a court-ordered alcohol education program.
Calling a Lawyer
One of the most damaging things a driver suspected of DUI can do is volunteer information. If you or a loved one is arrested and charged with a DUI, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These trained legal professionals will be able to protect your rights and information during police questioning. This ensures that the prosecutor and law enforcement do not elicit improper confessions or guilty pleas from a case that could result in someone’s acquittal.
If you live in the Tucson area and need legal advice, don’t hesitate to contact the law office of Sherick & Bleier by dialing (520) 318-3939 to reach our Downtown office.
Privacy rights guaranteed to all Americans are very different that those afforded to students who move into campus-provided housing. Often, colleges and universities will force new residents to sign code of conduct agreements that effectively allow the school to search dorms as it sees fit. If you or a loved one is moving into the dorms for the first time, it is important to know your rights.
Right to Refuse Entry
Much like when a police officer comes to a private home, students have the right to refuse entry to the Resident Assistant (RA) or Community Director (CD). These individuals often lack specific proof that you are doing anything wrong, and you have every right to ask them to come back with a police officer. However it is important to note that RA’s and HD’s often have access to master or sub-master keys – which means that they can enter your room in certain circumstances. It is also worth mentioning that police involvement may lead to higher criminal penalties if there is any proof of illegal activity.
Consequences for Possession of Prohibited Substances
As indicated in the housing code of conduct, certain objects are not permitted in the dorms. If you are found in possession of these items, you may face serious consequences. Common items include drugs, weapons, and smoking paraphernalia. These rules are often black and white, so it is recommended that you read the agreement before bringing a Hookah, sword, or any other item into your room.
University and Criminal Sanctions
Universities have some discretion for how to punish students who possess drugs, alcohol, or other contraband. Some infractions are handled internally – with sanctions such as community service and counseling. However, other cases can be turned over to local police for investigation and formal charges. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges because the school referred the case to city police, it is important to speak with a local criminal defense attorney.
If you live in the Tucson area and have questions about the University of Arizona or Pima Community College criminal sanctions, consult the law office of Sherick & Bleier by calling (520) 318-3939. Our team has decades of criminal defense experience ensuing that students avoid permanent consequences of mistakes made in the dorms. Call today to see how we can help your case.
College is a time that many students choose to experiment with drugs and alcohol. These youthful indiscretions can have serious legal consequences if the student is prosecuted by the city or state. Thankfully, a criminal defense attorney can generally help mitigate potential negatively repercussions. Here is a look at some common criminal law charges faced by college students:
Minors in Possession
If a student is caught drinking while under the age of 21, he or she can be charged with a misdemeanor such as possession of alcohol or underage drinking. In the legal context, possession can be extended to mean that a suspect’s body is a container, and any alcohol present in this container is a violation of the law.
Using false identification or the identification of another person is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor in the state of Arizona. A guilty conviction for using a fake license to get into a bar can involve fines of several hundred dollars and the potential for mandatory community service.
Exterminating with drugs is often seen as a right of passage. According to the University of Arizona Police Department (UAPD), at least 48 students are arrested every year for drug possession in the dorms. UAPD also detains a handful of off-campus students every year for the same crimes. If you or a loved one has been arrested for possession of marijuana or any other illegal substance, it is important to consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The law office of Sherick & Bleier has years of experience dealing with UAPD and the Tucson Police Department in matters including drug and alcohol violations. Do not let one mistake ruin your future employment options. Call our downtown office today at (520) 318-3939 to schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense attorneys and begin the process of putting your missteps behind you.
This is Sherick & Bleier's 200th post on this blog. We want to thank you for reading and checking back to learn more about interesting developments in criminal law in Arizona and throughout the United States. Our goal is to create an engaging portal for dissemination and discussion of up-to-date legal issues in the criminal arena, and we're always striving to improve.
To celebrate, we thought we would post links to some of the most popular articles we've written throughout the last couple of years:
Click through to check out these interesting articles. Thank you for a wonderful two years!
While the state of Arizona has been issuing medical marijuana licenses of over two years, the supply is struggling to meet demand due to stringent regulations on dispensaries. These businesses are often trapped under bureaucratic red tape that makes it difficult to open and operate. This is a brief look at state laws surrounding dispensaries:
One Year To Open
Individuals who receive a dispensary certificate have one year from the date of issue to open their business. Unfortunately, issues with zoning and local city counsels often delay these openings by many months. Companies that are in danger of missing the one-year cutoff mark have the legal right to file a stay or an appeal with the Arizona Department of Health Services in order to hold on to the original dispensary certificate.
500 Feet Away
Dispensaries must keep their distance from many protected locations in accordance with state and city laws. For instance, these businesses cannot open less than 500 feet away from any private or public schools or other marijuana dispensaries. Depending on city or county law, a prospective dispensary owner may also need to appear at city hall hearings and allow for a public comment period to solicit feedback from the neighboring community.
Responsible for All Relevant Taxes
Complying with the tax code is one of the most important regulations places on medical dispensaries. With the Maricopa County attorney general, among others, attempting to shut down this burgeoning business, dispensaries must obey every letter of the law in order to ensure that their business license is not revoked.
if you are an individual or business charged with a violation of Arizona medical marijuana regulations or your property is the subject of a forfeiture proceeding because of an alleged violation, dial (520) 318-3939 to speak to the legal team at Sherick & Bleier. Our skilled legal team knows the intricacies these new state regulations, and we can help your business as Arizona laws change and evolve.
If you are following this blog for more information on Southern Arizona criminal defense law, you're in luck. Sherick & Bleier will continue posting timely legal analysis of news and legislative initiatives. We'll cover developments in medical marijuana and dispensary regulation, student criminal convictions, and other important issues.
Feel free to check out the Articles section of our firm website for more discussions about DUI law and fraud cases.
In the meantime, Arizona residents in need of advice about a city, state, or federal legal issue should dial (520) 318-3939 to speak to the legal team at Sherick & Bleier.
Eliot J. Vogt, a disbarred Georgia attorney, recently pleaded guilty to theft by conversion, forgery and identity fraud in Muscogee County Superior Court. According to the Columbus Ledger Enquirer, Vogt was disbarred for inventing hearing dates and provided a forged order to a client in a legitimation case involving custody.
Following the disbarment, Vogt impersonated another attorney to continue doing legal work. He allegedly receives fees for doing domestic relations work, but didn't actually do any work. As a result of this misconduct, several clients lost money and had to incur additional attorneys' fees. Overall, Vogt was ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution.
Vogt was sentenced to a year in prison, followed by nine years probation.
There have been many media reports of pit bulls attacking children, but there have been few accounts of violent pit bulls facing euthanasia being appointed counsel. Recently in Savanath, Georgia, however, a judge assigned a local lawyer to represent such a pitbull as well as the pitbull's owner.
The ABA Journal reports that Superior Court Judge William E. Woodrum Jr. appointed attorney Claude M. Kicklighter to represent a pit bull named Kho, “in the interest of justice.” Kicklighter indicated to local media that he didn't intended to take the case pro bono.
In that case, a 5-year old boy was playing with a neighborhood playmate in the playmate's living room when Kho – an “indoor dog,” – attacked the boy. According to the Sheriff's office, it is unknown what caused Kho to attack. The boy was mauled by the dog and bit on the face. Tthe boy was rushed to the hospital and eventually had to undergo two reconstructive facial surgeries. It is unclear as well as to whether the boy will experience permanent scarring.
Following the attack, Kho's owners surrendered the dog to the local animal shelter. Kho was subsequently classified as a dangerous animal by a county magistrate. The county then sent a letter to Kho's owner, but they did not specify what the planned to do with Kho. To clarify matters, the county petitioned the court to rule whether Kho should be euthanized. In response to the petition, Judge Woodrum set an October 25 hearing to determine Kho's fate and appointed him counsel for that hearing.
The Arizona Republic recently reported that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) has reopened more than 400 sex crime investigations resulting from failures to timely investigate. Most of the underlying alleged sex crimes occurred between 2005 and 2008. According to the newspaper:
An Arizona Republic investigation into the 400-plus reopened cases reveals the Sheriff's Office failed to adequately investigate reports of abuse and assault -- in some cases never interviewing a suspect or running a background check. Some cases were ignored -- the files were later found sitting in a drawer or in a deputy's garage. Those shortcomings, combined with lengthy delays in resolving cases, left alleged predators free to continue finding other victims, sometimes for years.
The backlog in cases and slowness in investigating claims of sexual abuse is largely connected to a severe manpower shortage at the MCSO. During the 2005-2008, period there were only four detectives staffed in the special-victim's unit whose mission was to investigate sex crimes. Even worse, in 2007, the Arizona Republic reports that the MCSO was allocated more than $600,000 to staff six full-time positions for “investigating cases involving sexual abuse, domestic violence, abuse and child abuse.” Unfortunately, those six positions were never filled. These positions may have not been filled because the MCSO was allocating manpower to other priorities:
Current and former employees say past staffing shortages were exacerbated by the agency's preoccupation with other priorities, such as illegal immigration, public corruption and animal-abuse crimes. When subordinates tried to call attention to staffing shortages and other issues, they were brushed aside by former Chief Deputy David Hendershott, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lisa Allen.
Finally, in an audit of the 400 sex crimes, the MCSO determined that the cases had to be reopened for the following reasons:
120 required contact with the victim, complainant or witnesses.
116 required other work that included making contact with an out-of-state victim or suspect, or reviewing another agency's report associated with the case.
68 were missing supplemental reports.
48 needed research or comparison with El Mirage police reports.
19 required contact with or research on a suspect.
17 needed detectives to do legal research with prosecutors.
5 required some additional evidence collection.
15 showed no sign that a detective had worked the case.