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Drug Crimes

San Jose drug charge defense attorney, new drug lawsCannabis is now legal within the state of California, for the most part. Although the passage of Proposition 64 made recreational use of marijuana legal in the California state law books, there are still hurdles to overcome. For instance, how will it affect your employment? Can your boss tell you that you cannot do something that is legal by law? How can you purchase cannabis without earning a drug charge? You may be surprised by the answers.

Your Boss’ Word is Law, at Work

Outside of your place of employment, it is legal to wear clothing suited to your tastes and you can sport the hair color and style of your choosing. It is also completely legal to have piercings and tattoos and speak however you wish, so long as you are not infringing upon the rights of another individual. However, in the office, you may be required to wear khaki pants, a dress shirt, and close-toed shoes. Additionally, you may be required to have your hair pulled neatly away from your face and only wear one earring in each ear. This idea is no different from the legality of marijuana in the workplace. California law still maintains that each place of business reserves the right to remain drug, tobacco, and alcohol-free, including cannabis, if they so choose.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_drug-crimes-defense.jpgDrug charges carry serious consequences, no matter who you are. If you are an immigrant, drug charges can have even more dire effects, potentially resulting in deportation or the revocation of papers or work permits. This is true even even if you are a permanent legal resident, depending on the severity of the charge. If you are charged with a trafficking aggravated felony or an offense involving a controlled substance, for example, you may be subject to deportation.

Risk of Deportation

In general, however, if you are not a legal permanent resident, you can potentially be deported regardless of the severity of the drug charge. Any type of drug charge—or other criminal behavior—can be considered grounds for deportation and the revocation of immigration status and papers. For example, if you are convicted of any type of an offense of a federally-scheduled drug; if you are convicted of a possession-only charge; if you are convicted of possession with intent to sell; or if you are convicted of the sale of distribution of a drug; you are eligible for deportation, regardless of your legal immigration status.

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drug crimes, San Jose criminal defense attorneyIf you are arrested for having drugs in your possession, you could be facing serious consequences. Drug possession is legally known as possession of a controlled substance. The exact penalties will vary depending on the type and amount of the drug you are accused of possessing. There are many different defenses to a charge of the possession of a controlled substance, depending on the circumstances. Your case may involve the use of one or more such strategies, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you decide the best way to proceed.

Challenging the Stop

Often drugs are found when you have been stopped by a police officer, either in your car or while you are on foot. There are specific rules that police officers must follow before they are allowed to search you or your property.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Legalized-Marijuana_20151028-174830_1.jpgCurrently, the state of California only permits legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. All other uses are currently considered drug crimes. But backers like The Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform are making serious progress in their ReformCA movement, and they hope to have the initiative in front of voters on the November 2016 election ballot. But is it really possible for California to join the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado in the legalization of recreational marijuana?

The Cost of Legalizing Marijuana in California

Before marijuana legalization can go before voters, language for the proposition must be written. According to the Coalition, the first round should circulate within “days.” From there, the language will be edited and then circulated again to reflect any changes. Signatures will then need to be collected in order to get the proposition on a ballot. LA Weekly estimated it could take more than three million dollars in paid signature gatherer wages, just to make sure they get enough. But even then, they will have to overcome the stigmas and concerns of voters before the bill can pass.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_drug-crimes-and-deportation.jpgWith election season in full swing, the issue of immigration and drug crimes has become front and center in American discourse. The debate surrounding immigration issues and drug crimes are not only for presidential candidates, however. In early September, California state legislature passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee two law proposals that would bridge the gap between California state law and federal law. In short, the bills assert that the state should allow immigrants charged with drug possession the same opportunities provided U.S. citizens — that they should be equally entitled to drug treatment programs rather than prison and eventual deportation.

California already has a program enacted that sets it apart when considering treatment of immigrants charged with drug crimes. This is known as Deferred Entry of Judgment, and it allows for any person charged with drug crimes to plead guilty, enter the program, and subsequently have the charges dismissed and his or her legal record wiped clean. Because, however, people must first plead guilty to qualify for this program, federal law could trigger deportation for these people—even if they are documented immigrants but not full citizens (green card residents).

These laws attempt to mitigate risk of deportation for immigrants charged with drug crimes. In recent years, deportation of non-citizens (even documented) has increased 43 percent between 2007 and 2012. This holds true for people charged with drug crimes who have no prior record, and for those who were charged with the crime sometimes decades in the past. Even if a person’s charge ultimately resulted in no prison time, he is still at risk for deportation.

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