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Auburn California Criminal Defense Blog

Mitigating the future effects of property crimes

At Leupp & Woodall, we believe that everyone accused of a crime in California deserves chance to save themselves from a lifetime of undue consequences. Unfortunately, the results of a criminal accusation do not always take an obvious form.

We often find that our clients are well informed of the legal repercussions of a criminal conviction, such as jail time or fines, but they are not necessarily familiar with the long-term social and professional ramifications of a criminal conviction. This is especially true for our clients who have been accused of property crimes, such as theft or vandalism.

Understanding how marijuana might impact driving ability

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, some may be confused about whether they can drive with marijuana in their systems. People may smoke cigarettes while driving, but the opposite is true about smoking cannabis behind the wheel. It is important to understand the law regarding driving under the influence of cannabis.

According to FindLaw, it is unlawful in the state of California to smoke or ingest cannabis while driving a motor vehicle or to be a driver or passenger possessing an open container of marijuana. It may help to view cannabis consumption and driving in the same way one does with drinking and driving. Those who drive under the influence of alcohol are likely to face DUI charges if pulled over. The same is true for those driving impaired by marijuana.

What should you know about your BAC level?

When you're pulled over in California under suspicion of drinking and driving, you'll likely be administered a breath analysis test. These tests are designed to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) level to determine if you have actually been drinking. However, there are a few things you should know about BAC levels and breath analysis tests.

WebMD states that the most common method for checking your BAC level is through the use of breath analysis devices like the ubiquitous Breathalyzer. However, these tests can also be the least accurate, especially when compared with the urine analysis or blood sampling that police may also take.

Taking steps to avoid being arrested for drunk driving

It is nearly summer, and this is the perfect time of year to unwind and enjoy a few refreshing drinks on a hot California afternoon. As you understand, you may risk the chance of getting a DUI when you drink at a bar, restaurant or other place away from home. At the law offices of Leupp & Woodall, we can answer your concerns about the penalties you might face with drunk driving charges.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid the consequences of drunk driving is not to get behind the wheel after having alcohol. After a few drinks, however, your convictions may not be as strong as they were when you set out. You may think you can safely drive home just this once, or you might have driven home buzzed a few times before without incident. However, you should understand that each time you drive with alcohol in your system, you not only risk life-changing charges but could also cause an accident that changes someone else’s life. The following tips on avoiding drunk driving have been provided by State Farm Insurance:

  • Decide before you go out how much alcohol to have before you cut yourself off. Better yet, include your friends in this pledge and hold each other accountable.
  • Take turns designating a sober driver each time you drink, both to get everyone home safely and to ensure everyone stays safe throughout the get-together.
  • Call a family member, friend or taxi to get you home if you do not have a sober driver.
  • Host some get-togethers at home, where everyone can sober up on their own time without driving. Offer non-alcoholic beverages as well, and ensure nobody leaves while drunk or tipsy.

Understanding an aggravated DUI charge

People may sometimes think a DUI charge carries the same penalties in California, regardless of the circumstances. However, if someone is charged with an aggravated DUI, he or she may sometimes face felony charges. Because of this, it is important to understand what makes an aggravated DUI different from a regular DUI.

Sometimes people may be charged with an aggravated DUI if they have many drunk driving convictions on their record. According to FindLaw, this is because law enforcement typically seeks to deter people from accumulating multiple drunk driving offenses by putting harsher penalties in place. Speeding can also turn a DUI charge into an aggravated DUI charge. The consequences of speeding while intoxicated usually depends on how far above the speed limit someone was driving.

Sexting: Is it more serious than kids think?

The prevalence of smartphones and social media has given people a range of possibilities that previous generations could only dream about. In addition to being able to communicate with their friends or research a homework topic in a few moments’ time, children can send and receive pictures of each other. There are both positive and negative aspects to modern technology, as you and other California parents are aware.

In some cases, underage minors could find themselves in trouble for sending certain pictures of themselves or their peers or for simply having them stored in their phones. FindLaw states that sexually explicit photographs of those under the age of 18 qualify as child pornographic material, which is a serious crime. The possession of minor pornographic material is considered a felony. Your child or his or her peers could face consequences for producing, possessing or distributing illegal pornographic material with the common act of “sexting.”

Understanding California forgery charges

California residents may think that forgery is simply signing someone else's name on a document. While this is considered forgery, this crime generally involves other aspects and it is important to understand what these are, as well as the penalty for forgery in California.

Forgery can come in many forms. According to FindLaw, someone usually needs to plan to deceive people in order to be charged with forgery.  Simply copying a picture is usually not a crime. In this situation, forgery typically occurs if someone tries to pass off the copy as the original picture. Sometimes identity theft can also be a form of forgery.

Can I be arrested for driving after taking a prescription?

Most people think about drinking and driving when the topic of DUI charges comes up. Similarly, a previously illegal drug like marijuana or other illicit drugs may come to mind when you hear about drug charges. However, you and other Californians should know that you might get a DUI or a ticket for driving after taking legal medication.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse points out that some over-the-counter medications and many prescription drugs can negatively affect your driving. The most common culprits include narcotic painkillers, antihistamines, sleeping pills and drugs to treat depression and anxiety. Medications for serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, may also impact your driving ability.

Making recreational use of marijuana legal came with other laws

This January, California joined a growing number of states that legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Many throughout the state saw this as a victory, and when stores opened to sell products containing cannabis, they lined up at shops selling products that patrons can smoke or eat.

If you were one of those people, you also need to be aware of other laws that go along with this one. It has always been illegal in the state to drive under the influence of drugs. That prohibition has not changed just because recreational marijuana use became legal. If you intend to light up or nosh on edibles, don't do it in your vehicle.

Buzzed driving is focus of NHTSA campaign

When you go out with your friends for a night of drinking, you are probably careful to avoid drinking too much, so you do not get a DUI charge. Or, if you know you have had too much to drink, you might rely on a sober friend, taxi or Uber to take you home. What about so-called “buzzed driving,” when you are under California’s legal blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent? At the law offices of Leupp & Woodall, this is a question we are familiar with.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has an ongoing campaign called “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving,” to discourage people from thinking it is safe to get behind the wheel with a BAC under the legal limit. This campaign can help protect your legal rights after drinking as much as it can protect people from being in drunk driving accidents. After all, if you know the dangers of buzzed driving, it may make you think twice before getting in a car after having only a couple of beers.