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4 Myths About Marijuana And DUI

Below we list 4 myths about marijuana and DUI:

Myth Number One: Legalizing Marijuana Encourages Teenager Use

The most typical concern that surrounds marijuana legalization is its possible impact on teenagers. Many opponents claim that ending prohibition will serve as an endorsement for youth to use marijuana. However, time and time again, research has proven there to be no link between the passing of cannabis laws and a rise in teenager use.

Myth Number Two: Marijuana Legalization Leads to a Rise in Crime

One other common misconception of the legalization of marijuana is that it’ll cause a rise in crime. However, in legalizing marijuana, crime rates inevitably decrease, as there’s no longer a punishment for small marijuana possession. In the year that followed legalization, arrests for possession dipped by 98% and arrests on any cannabis-associated charge declined by 85%.

However, the downward crime trend after legalization additionally extends to crimes unassociated with marijuana. For instance, according to Drug Policy Alliance research, the total crime rate declined in the initial 11 months following the initial retail cannabis stores opening their doors in the year 2014. Violent crimes fell 2.2%, and burglaries and property crime, in general, dropped by 9.5% and 8.9%, respectively. One other study assessing the impact of medical legalization of marijuana came up with similar conclusions, with crime dipping after the passing of medical marijuana laws.

Myth Number Three: Marijuana Legalization Leads to an Increase in DUI’s

With the psychoactive effects of marijuana, legalization opponents claim that permitting folks to use marijuana will cause an increase in incidents of DUI. While it is a fact that large marijuana doses may affect psychomotor perception and performance, studies from places which have legalized cannabis have proven this worry to be unwarranted.

The study by the Drug Policy Alliance discovered that traffic deaths in the 11 months after the start of recreational cannabis sales dropped by 3%, as compared with the same period within the previous year.

Myth Number Four: Legalization of Marijuana Encourages the Use of More Severe Drugs

Opponents worried that legalization of marijuana will cause a rise in the amount of folks who ultimately move onto more harmful drugs need not be concerned. A National Institute on Drug Abuse report concluded that, ‘most folks who use cannabis don’t go on to use other, ‘harder’ drugs.’ An Institute of Medicine report also discovered no proof that cannabis use is connected with the eventual use of additional illicit drugs. Even United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged recently that cannabis isn’t a gateway drug.

Studies indicate that marijuana is beneficial for addiction treatment. Cannabis has proven it may be used to decrease the severity of heroin or opioid withdrawals and curb alcohol cravings. It also can assist addicts in their path to recovery by reducing anxiety and insomnia.

For more myths about marijuana and DUI please feel free to get in touch with the one of the top recognized criminal lawyers in Winnipeg, Matthew Gould today!

What Are the Different Types of Criminal Offences?

Even though there are several different types of crimes, criminal acts generally can be divided into these categories: financial crimes, statutory crimes, inchoate crimes, property crimes, and personal crimes.

Personal Crimes

These are those crimes which result in mental or physical harm to one other person. Personal crimes may be separated into two categories, forms of homicide and additional violent crimes. Where the physical danger to another person is so serious that it leads to death, the defendant might be charged with any one of many kinds of homicide, which includes, for instance, vehicular homicide, voluntary manslaughter, or first-degree murder.

Property Crimes

Typically, property crimes involve interference with another person’s property. Even though they might involve mental or physical harm to another, they mainly result in the deprivation of the enjoyment or use of property. Most property crimes are theft crimes, which include shoplifting, auto theft, robbery, larceny, and burglary.

Inchoate Crimes

These types of criminal offences refer to those crimes which were initiated yet not completed, and actions that help in the commission of an additional crime. Such crimes require more than one individual merely hoping or intending to commit a crime. Instead, the person has to take a ‘significant step’ towards completing the crime to be found guilty. These types of crimes include conspiracy, attempt, and aiding and abetting. Within some instances, inchoate crimes may be punished to the same degree the underlying crime could be punished, whereas in other instances, the punishment may be less serious.

Statutory Crimes

These types of criminal offences include those crimes, beside the crimes listed above, which usually are proscribed by statute. Three substantial kinds of statutory crimes are alcohol associated crimes, traffic offenses, drug crimes, and white collar/ financial crimes. Such crimes are especially prohibited by statute due to society hoping to deter people from being involved in them.

A drug crime concerns any involvement in the distribution or creation of drugs, which include drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, and drug possession. One criminal law area that currently is receiving a good amount of attention is the prosecution and regulation of drug crimes associated with medical marijuana. Due to state trends toward medical marijuana legalization, it’s a criminal law area that’s in flux.

Traffic offenses involve crimes which might arise while someone is operating a vehicle on public streets. Because a DWI/OWI/DUI involves both alcohol, as well as the use of an automobile, it’s considered both an alcohol associated crime and traffic offense. Extra traffic offenses involve driving on a revoked or suspended license, vehicular assault, reckless driving, hit-and-run accidents, driving without a license.

Financial and Additional Crimes

Lastly, financial crimes oftentimes include fraud or deception for financial gain. Even though white-collar crimes get their name from corporate officers who historically perpetrated them, anybody in any industry may commit a white-collar offence. Such crimes involve many kinds of blackmail and fraud, money laundering and embezzlement cybercrime and tax evasion.

For more information on the different types of criminal offences, contact effective criminal defense lawyer Matthew Gould today!

What is it Called When You Damage Someone’s Property?

Damaging someone else’s property is a serious offense that carries legal consequences. Many people want to know the potential penalty for their crime, but they aren’t sure where to turn. After all, what is it actually called when you damage someone’s property? Knowing what it is called and what it could mean for you is the first step toward knowing your rights and the law itself.

There are several different terms that all relate to damaging someone else’s property. Law enforcement often uses these interchangeably, but they all fall under the general heading of vandalism. The other names for property damage include criminal damage, malicious trespass, or malicious mischief. Many of the offenders for a property-related crime like vandalism are juveniles, but these offenses have been decreasing over the years. In fact, they fell a percentage in some areas over the past decade.

Vandalism is a serious crime that is often broken down into multiple offenses including:

  • Spray painting property (including graffiti)
  • Egging or keying someone’s property
  • Destroying public property such as road signs, benches, or buildings
  • Slashing tires
  • Kicking or breaking property using your hands or feet
  • Breaking windows
  • Impairment of utility services
  • Desecration of a church, cemetery, or other monuments
  • Littering in some areas

As you can see, vandalism applies to personal property as well as public property. Any time that you damage something that does not belong to you with your hands, feet or another tool, you are committing an act of vandalism. This is a criminal offense, regardless of how minor or trivial it may have seemed to you.

Punishment for Vandalism Charges

The punishment for vandalism charges will vary depending on the severity of your offense. Minor damage is usually classified as a misdemeanor with less extensive penalties. You may serve a short jail sentence under one year or pay a fine. These fines are often relatively small. Keep in mind that having several small citations on your record can add up to bigger penalties in the future.

When the charges are more serious, you may be charged with a felony for your vandalism. This will involve larger fines and longer jail times that extend past the one-year mark. You may also experience felony charges if you are a repeat offender with multiple vandalism charges on your record.

Many offenders don’t realize that they may still have to pay to right the wrong that was done. This is referred to as criminal restitution, and the money is designed to help repair what was damaged. The victim receives this money directly to help make up for their overall loss of property or their economic loss during the time it was unable to be used.

When you have vandalism charges facing you, you deserve to know what your rights are and what the law is. You need criminal defence representation that knows exactly what you need. Give Matthew Gould a call today to get started on defending your case!

Does a DUI Conviction Count as A Criminal Offence?

There are two kinds of punishment that results from being convicted of a DUI (Driving under the Influence) charge. The first kind of punishment includes administrative and will result in license suspension. The second kind of punishment is under criminal law, as well as results in parole, fines, and jail time/prison sentencing. The conviction will go on your criminal record and whether you may later expunge it will depend on the charges.

You can lose your license

Since having your license suspended is an administrative act it’s possible to lose your license before being convicted of a charge of DUI, and it may be taken at the minute you fail or refuse to take the sobriety test — long before the case even heads to court. In some cases, your license is suspended the minute you’re arrested for the DUI even if you’ve been cooperative and taken all of the required BAC (blood alcohol content) tests they administer. In general, the blood alcohol content limit of .08 is the threshold in which a DUI arrest is made.

Is a DUI a Misdemeanor or Felony?

As for a criminal record, the following usually takes place. After the drunk driving arrest, you’ll be taken to court for the arraignment. If there is enough proof to go to trial, you’ll go to trial or likely work out a plea bargain with a prosecutor. After those processes comes the sentencing stage. In the majority of cases the DUI charge is going to be classified as a misdemeanor, yet it nevertheless can land you in jail for as long as one year; a felony charge may place you in prison for longer than one year.

Your lawyer can challenge the BAC test

Your defense attorney might challenge the blood alcohol content test, as well as its reliability by getting an expert witness to provide proof that you weren’t under the influence as you were arrested by giving documentary evidence proving that the BAC test equipment wasn’t recently or correctly calibrated.

Sentencing stage

The sentencing stage of the process is going to determine how the conviction is classified, which fines you’ll have to pay, the duration of time your driver’s license is going to be suspended, whether or not you’ll need community service or parole, what alcohol or drug program you’ll have to complete, and whether or not you’ll have to have an ignition interlock device placed onto your car.

DUI Is an Indication That You Aren’t in Control of Your Drinking

Most areas also have laws requiring that anyone who is convicted of drunk driving go through an alcohol assessment. A counselor is going to review your case to check whether your drinking behavior may be considered alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. You might have to go into an alcohol education program or alcohol treatment program to learn how binge drinking and additional problem drinking may affect your life and health.

For more information contact the experienced DUI lawyer Matthew Gould today!

Do I Need an Attorney at a DUI Hearing?

Charges related to driving under the influence always involve a hearing in criminal court. You may be wondering whether it is truly necessary for you to hire an attorney to assist with your upcoming court case. After all, the expense of hiring an attorney can be significant when you consider the original consultation, the research required to build your case, and the time spent in the courtroom on your behalf. Is it really necessary to have an attorney at your DUI hearing?

There are several factors that you need to consider before you decide whether to hire an attorney for your hearing. Let’s take a closer look at some of the bigger questions you may have to answer before you head to court.

Can I represent myself?

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to hire a lawyer to help with your DUI case. In criminal court, you do have the option to represent yourself and argue your own case. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should choose to do so. More people than ever are deciding to try this tactic in order to save themselves some money. They don’t realize that they lack the intimate knowledge of the court system, the law, and the proper way to file paperwork. All of these things can work against them to make self-representation an extremely poor choice.

How do I know if I have a strong case?

If you are on the fence about hiring an attorney, the best thing you can do is to get a consultation from a local attorney who is experienced with handling DUIs. Most law firms will give out consultations for little to no money, allowing you to get professional advice on the unique details of your case. This is the easiest way to ensure that you are on the right path with your case and argument. Even better, you don’t necessarily have to hire the same attorney who gives you the consultation. You’re welcome to interview others to find the perfect fit for your case.

In many situations, the court might offer you a plea deal for your DUI if there were no aggravating factors and it was the first offense. You may be tempted to accept this offer immediately, but a good attorney can often negotiate even better terms. During the consultation, you might want to ask questions about their success with negotiating plea deals for clients.

What do I bring to the consultation?

When you consult with a potential attorney, you need to remember to come to the consultation prepared. This is the only way that they can offer you accurate legal advice. Bring all of the documents related to your arrest and the case. This gives them the best glimpse into what you might be facing in the courtroom.

Standing before the court for a DUI offense can be nerve-wracking, which is why you need an experienced DUI lawyer by your side. Give Matthew Gould a call for a consultation today!

Are DUI Checkpoints Illegal?

 

Oftentimes, local law enforcement agencies will set up checkpoints alongside roads to detect drivers who are travelling under the influence of alcohol or drugs or who are travelling with alcohol in their system that is above the legal limit. It’s most common around the holidays when the authorities know that more folks are going to be out drinking and driving, like Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve.

Since the DUI checkpoints consistently ensnare folks who have not been drinking and driving, questions rapidly came up about whether these checkpoints were an unreasonable process of search and seizure. The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on that question within a 1990 decision and found that DUI checkpoints are indeed a valid and legal method of law enforcement. Follow along as Matthew Gould assists in explaining the answer to that burning question: Are DUI checkpoints illegal?

The Fourth Amendment and DUI Checkpoints

The U.S. Constitution and the Fourth Amendment states that individuals have a right against the unreasonable process of searches and seizures. Searches often will include a search warrant issuance, but not always. A search and seizure may happen without a warrant underneath specific circumstances so long as the search is reasonable.

The majority of the time, a search is reasonable if there’s probable cause for the authorities to believe that it’s necessary. For example, a search incident to an arrest generally is considered reasonable since there’s already probable cause to think that the subject of the search did something wrong.

A search and seizure that randomly occur or that are too intrusive or burdensome, however, generally won’t be considered reasonable by the court. Any proof acquired as a result of this type of search is going to be removed from the official record in a court case.

Enough Probable Cause?

A DUI checkpoint poses an intriguing application of the rules of the Fourth Amendment. Stopping the car’s driver is considered a seizure as the individual must pull over and cannot leave again until the law officer permits it. As the law officers at the DUI checkpoint stop each driver without any personalized suspicion, it’d appear at first that the authorities wouldn’t have enough probable cause to perform the seizure of the drivers.

However, in specific cases in which the kind of seizure is minimally intrusive, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision that a balancing test is more suitable for determining the reasonableness of a search than the standard of probable cause. In a case that concerned DUI checkpoints mentioned inside the introduction to this post, Michigan Department of State Police versus Sitz, most of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices found that the needs of the state to keep drunk-driving accidents from occurring outweighed the minimal intrusion upon sober drivers who get caught up in the DUI net. Thereby, the Justices argued that DUI checkpoints didn’t constitute unreasonable searches and seizures.

For more information on DUI checkpoints contact the criminal defence representation of Matthew Gould today!

The Duty of Confidentiality

Trusting your attorney can be a difficult thing, particularly if they are someone that you have never met before. Most people are aware that their lawyer has some obligation to protect the information that they disclose through the attorney-client privilege, but is that the only thing that protects them? The good news is that your attorney is also going to be bound by the duty of confidentiality. It helps to know exactly what this term could mean for you and your upcoming case though.

If you want to be certain that your attorney is following the rules, you need to understand the basics of this concept. Let’s take a closer look at the duty of confidentiality and what it means for your case now.

What is Duty of Confidentiality?

According to the Canadian Bar Association, the duty of confidentiality states that the attorney cannot reveal any information about the relationship with their client without the client’s informed consent to do so. A client must know all of the potential risks and alternatives of revealing information before they can give their direct consent to share the information with others or with the court. Without doing so, the attorney could face serious penalties from the bar.

On the other hand, there is also implied consent that authorizes the attorney to share information with others without receiving formal approval. For example, they may share details of a case with other lawyers in the firm for a second opinion or extra help doing research. Unless a client specifically asks them not to share information this way, an attorney can assume that there is an implied authorization to do so when they are hired.

The duty of confidentiality also applies to clients who former clients or those who are just interviewing lawyers. This means that an attorney who has been interviewed to represent you cannot reveal that information to anyone else who comes along. It cannot be used to disadvantage you in any way.

Are there Exceptions?

Unfortunately, the duty of confidentiality does not apply all of the time. It can occasionally be waived when other circumstances arise that stand in the way of someone’s safety or when sharing the information could be more beneficial for the court case. Here are just a few of the times when attorneys may make an exception to the duty of confidentiality:

  • When someone is in imminent danger of death or bodily harm
  • To prevent a crime or fraud that is likely to injure the property or financial status of another person
  • To prevent, mitigate, or rectify substantial property or financial injury to another person
  • To obtain advice on the ethical path
  • To establish a claim or defense on behalf of the attorney
  • To comply with a law or court order
  • To identify or resolve conflicts related to a lawyer’s change of employment

Understanding what the duty of confidentiality means for your case is essential to helping you successfully win a case. When you need recognized criminal lawyers in Winnipeg, be sure to give Matthew Gould a call!

Testing for Marijuana Impairment

When a police officer pulls someone over for suspected drunk driving, they can use a breathalyzer to determine someone’s level of impairment. This estimates a driver’s blood alcohol content based on the amount still on their breath. Many people mistakenly believe that this same system can be used to test for marijuana impairment while driving. Unfortunately, there are still no reliable systems in place to test drivers who could be driving under the influence of this drug.

If there are no set standards in place, how are police officers able to charge drivers with driving under the influence when they are using marijuana? The entire system is rather subjective right now, but let’s take a closer look at what officers are really able to do when they pull someone over.

Blood Tests

If a police officer suspects that a driver is under the influence, they can request a blood test to determine how many nanograms of THC are in the bloodstream. This doesn’t necessarily mean that someone was driving under the influence, but most courts will consider it a permissible inference that it is true. Unfortunately, police officers and doctors are still working on developing a reasonable cutoff point that would prove someone is intoxicated while driving.

The results from these blood tests are very difficult to prove in a court hearing. Some of the hesitancy to use these results comes from the fact that THC can remain in the body for up to thirty days. Simply because the drug test came back positive for THC does not mean that a person was high while driving. Officers and scientists still have a long way to go before they can accurately determine the level of THC in the bloodstream and whether someone is considered intoxicated by it at a particular point in time.

Subjective Experiences

Police officers can’t wait until these tests become reliable to stop individuals who could be driving under the influence. This means that they are using subjective experiences to guide their decision making. The first thing they will look for is evidence that you have been using, including any drugs or paraphernalia in the vehicle. With this knowledge readily available to them, officers can easily move onto the next step.  

Most officers will use some variation of the standard sobriety test if they believe that you might be under the influence. They examine the size of the pupils and how well you can control your eye movement. Blood pressure, muscle response, balance, and coordination are all tested to determine if you might be under the influence of a mind-altering drug like marijuana. The notes and responses from these tests often serve as proof that you were driving under the influence.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, you should know what your rights are. You need an effective criminal defence lawyer like Matthew Gould to help guide you through the process. Contact him today to see how he can help build an effective case for you!

Controversial Stuff About Bill C-75

What Happens in Winnipeg Criminal Court

A lot of media coverage has been given to the newly released Bill C-75 that was written to help reduce the wait time in Canadian courts. At face value, this new bill promises to deliver a speedier trial that many people could benefit from. Forcing courts to give people trials in a reasonable amount of time is essential to our justice system, but this bill may not be able to deliver on its promise. It holds far more content that could be detrimental to the justice system as a whole.

Citizens should all be aware of what this bill is likely to mean for them and for everyone who may be involved in the court system. Here are a few of the more controversial topics included in Bill C-75 that you will definitely want to know about.

Elimination of Preliminary Inquiries

A preliminary inquiry is typically used to help determine the strength of a case prior to the trial. It used to be available to every adult facing an indictable offence, but the new bill limits that only to those facing life in prison. While this would certainly reduce a lot of traffic in the courtroom, it may not be beneficial to those involved in the justice system.

Despite the fact that lawyers and their clients are entitled to know available evidence before trial, many still do not understand the strength of the Crown’s case. Many would argue that the preliminary inquiry helps lawyers to test the evidence, ensure a fair trial, and use their court time effectively. Without this essential stage in the trial, we may actually cause longer times and cases might tie up the court system.

Elimination of Peremptory Challenges

It should be no secret that many juries lack participation from minority individuals. Systemic racism is alive and well in our court system, even if many don’t realize or accept it. One of the important ways that Bill C-75 aims to change jury selection is through the exclusion of peremptory challenges. These were used by attorneys to exclude certain individuals from the jury without an identifiable cause or explanation. This may have been done to remove jurors who are more likely to vote a certain way based on their own identity (including their gender, age, or race).

The bill aims to do away with these challenges altogether which could result in its own set of problems. It may be better to limit what attorneys can do to alter the jury. Either way, it is beneficial to see that the bill is addressing a long overdue issue in relation to these peremptory challenges.

Changes are constantly being made to the criminal justice system. It can be difficult for the average person to keep up with all of these bills and modifications. This is why you need an effective criminal defence lawyer like Matthew Gould on your side. Give him a call today to see how he can help protect your rights in the courtroom!

Impact of a Criminal Record

how to get a criminal record check

You thought that you already served the time for your latest crime, but you might not be done just yet. Having a criminal record will impact you for the rest of your life, no matter how you attempt to live your life to the contrary. Even once your sentence is over, the impact of it will follow you for years to come. It may make other areas of your life significantly more difficult as you try to reestablish yourself in society.

What is the real impact of a criminal record? Find out what you could be facing when you have charges on your official record.

Struggles with Unemployment

Almost three-quarters of all businesses make it a standard practice to run background checks on their new employees. The top reason that most of them make this a priority is to search for a criminal background. After all, this simple report will detail any felonies, misdemeanors, arrests, and warrants that you currently have against you. Employers do actually have the right not to hire you based solely on the contents of your background check. This may be due to enforcement of certain rules, workplace safety, or security concerns.

Having a difficult time finding a job may lead to other challenges in your life, particularly when it comes to your finances. You may have a more difficult time paying your rent or purchasing groceries without assistance. Financial dependence is a real struggle for those with a criminal record who have a hard time finding a well-paying position.

Child Custody Battles

After you serve your sentence or pay your fine, you may feel like your life is perfectly back to normal. You might even attempt to regain custody of your children. In other situations, you might be going through a divorce where you would like to win full or partial custody of the children. Either way, you will have a hard road ahead of you if you have a criminal record. The difficulty may depend on the type of charges found on your background check. For example, violent crimes or domestic violence will make it less likely for a judge to grant you custody of your children.

More Severe Consequences

If you haven’t learned the lesson from your actions, you may face more serious consequences the next time. Defendants who have a previous criminal record often have longer sentences, heavier fines, and more severe punishments when the court can see their prior offenses. This is definitely a reason to start changing your actions and avoid heading back to the court system. It will only make the other impacts of your criminal record more significant.

Try to avoid having a criminal record at all costs. You need the help of a practiced criminal lawyer who can encourage you to know your rights and defend yourself when the time comes. Matthew Gould can help you protect yourself and possibly avoid some of these major impacts of having a criminal record. Contact him today for more information on how he can help you!