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Roswell Georgia Criminal Law Blog

Woman sues after drug test misidentifies cotton candy as meth

A Georgia woman has filed a lawsuit against Monroe County authorities after deputies wrongly identified a bag of cotton candy as methamphetamine and arrested her on drug charges. She spent months behind bars as a result of the error.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for an alleged window tint violation on Dec. 31, 2016. After executing the stop, the officers realized that the windows were actually legal. However, they determined that both the car's driver and the plaintiff had suspended licenses. The officers then conducted a search of the vehicle and located a plastic bag filled with a blue, crystallized substance. The plaintiff said the substance was cotton candy, but the officers performed a roadside drug test, which came back positive as methamphetamine.

Proposed bill could change some criminal justice laws

People dealing with the federal justice system in Georgia may be intrigued by reports about the First Step Act. The criminal justice reform legislation is backed by an unexpected alliance that includes President Donald Trump along with longtime reform advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union. The bill, widely understood as a compromise proposal, has been criticized for failing to take on serious reform measures as well as being soft on crime. For people who may be affected by its provisions, however, it can be important to understand the bill.

One of the most immediate effects of the bill could be felt by people serving time for federal crack cocaine convictions that predate 2010. In that year, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act to address the massive disparity in sentencing for powder and crack cocaine offenses, a disparity that seriously affected African American defendants. However, the reform was not retroactive, and people with prior sentences were not affected. If the First Step Act passes, people with these older convictions could petition a judge for release.

Georgia police arrest man for making drug that looked like candy

A narcotics investigation that culminated in the search of a Georgia home prompted police to warn local parents about dangerous illegal drugs made to look like Halloween candy. The Oct. 22 Facebook post from the Dublin Police Department came after officers took a local resident into custody on drug possession and distribution charges. Officers say that they recovered methamphetamine pills during a search of the man's West Avenue residence that were almost identical in appearance to popular children's candies and vitamin pills.

The chain of events began at approximately 10:50 a.m. on Oct. 19 when Dublin Police Department officers and a K9 unit from the Georgia Department of Corrections arrived at the man's home to execute a search warrant. Initial reports did not indicate what led police to believe that the man was selling drugs or describe the nature of the evidence supporting their search warrant application. In addition to the pills allegedly containing methamphetamine, police are said to have discovered an undisclosed quantity of marijuana and several items of drug paraphernalia during the search.

What you should do if pulled over for DUI suspicion

Being pulled over with the flashing lights of a police car behind you can be a stressful situation to be in. How to handle yourself can be extremely important. You may be presented with several circumstances where knowing your rights can help you. Since being prepared can be an advantage, here are some things to keep in mind that can protect you if you are pulled over and the officer suspects DUI.

Alcohol is not the only substance in DUI cases

When considering the dangers posed by motorists who are driving under the influence, most Georgia citizens immediately think of alcohol abuse. While the majority of illegally impaired drivers continue to be due to alcohol consumption, drugged driving has seen a dramatic increase. Drugged driving may include legal use of one's own prescription drugs, abuse of another's prescription drugs, or legal or illegal marijuana use.

The propriety and legality of the use of a drug by a driver is irrelevant to whether or not the driver meets the state definition of an impaired driver. Investigations by federal transportation agencies show a significant increase in the past decade in the number of drivers testing positive for drugs who have been responsible for injury or fatal vehicle crashes. The two leading drugs are opioid-based prescription drugs and marijuana, which has recently been decriminalized in several states.

Affirmative defenses in drunk driving cases

Criminal defense attorneys in Georgia and around the country will generally challenge drunk driving charges by questioning the validity of toxicology test results or pointing out procedural errors made by the police officers involved, but there are situations where an affirmative defense may be mounted in DUI cases. When criminal defendants mount an affirmative defense, they admit that they committed the crime in question but provide evidence that they hope will negate their behavior.

Entrapment is a common affirmative defense. This argument could be made in drunk driving cases if a police officer encouraged the defendant to consume alcohol or gave assurances that the driver would not be pulled over. Involuntary intoxication is probably the most common affirmative defense mounted in DUI cases. This occurs when individuals are unknowingly given alcohol or drugs.

Report says charges for marijuana possession are on the rise

Although marijuana is not legal in Georgia, it has been legalized in a number of other states. Despite this, an FBI report released on Sept. 24 indicates that a growing number of people are being taken into custody on marijuana charges.

These detentions for marijuana-related offenses are on the increase even though there has been a drop in cases dealing with manufacturing and sales. In 2017, the number of instances people were taken into custody for marijuana possession rose to 599,282 from 587,516 in the previous year. At the same time, detentions for manufacturing and sales dropped from to 60,418 compared to 65,734 the year before.

Cocaine possession can carry large prison sentences in Georgia

Being accused of cocaine possession here in Georgia can be life-altering. There are a great many things at stake for a person when facing such charges, including his or her freedom. A possession conviction can put a person behind bars for a very long time.

This is even the case for first offenses of possession of very small amounts of cocaine. Under state law, a first offense of possessing cocaine in any amount can lead to a prison sentence of 2 to 15 years.

What to do after a domestic violence accusation

A false accusation of domestic violence can be devastating to your life and career in Georgia. You could face a felony or misdemeanor conviction and receive a probation period, jail time and hefty fines while your spouse can get more out of your marital property and your child’s custody thanks to the state’s Family Violence Protective Order.

Even after you served your jail time and paid off your times, it can be difficult to get your life back together with your financial issues, companies not wanting you and your former friends no longer trusting you. If you want to minimize or erase the potential harm this accusation can have on your life, it is important to take the following steps very carefully:

What you need to know about Georgia's 911 amnesty law

After overdose deaths tripled from 1999 to 2013 in Georgia, many in the state realized the severity of the opioid problem. Some decided a change in law was needed. At the insistence of her intern Justin Leef in 2014, House Representative Sharon Cooper met with nine women who had lost children to drug overdoses. Several of the children had overdosed and then been abandoned by their friends out of fear of being arrested.

Leef had also lost a friend who overdosed and was abandoned by his friends to die. He came up with the idea for Georgia's amnesty law. After meeting with the women, Cooper agreed to sponsor it. The governor signed the bill in 2014, and it has been credited with saving hundreds of lives.

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