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San Luis Obispo Criminal Law Blog

Marijuana vapor pressure could be used in breath devices

With California and other states legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana, it has become difficult for authorities to determine if a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of the drug. This is because THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, can remain in the blood for long periods of time, even if a person is not currently under the influence.

Because it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, authorities need to be able to test for intoxication. There are some companies that have started working on developing a device that would allow authorities to accurately test marijuana intoxication, though this has been complicated. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology were finally able to measure its vapor pressure, something that has not been accomplished before.

3 implicated in fentanyl seizure

Three California residents are facing the prospect of spending the rest of their lives behind bars after almost 100 pounds of the deadly opioid fentanyl was recovered by DEA agents in what the agency has described as the largest seizure of the drug ever. The woman and two men were arraigned on June 19. In addition to possible life sentences, the three defendants face up to $10 million in fines.

Their grand jury indictment, which was unsealed on the same date, reveals that search warrants were obtained when law enforcement learned that the defendants planned to transport a large amount of an unidentified drug. Agents say that a 30-year-old woman planned to make three trips with the drug in as many days. A search of her car is said to have yielded 15 kilograms of fentanyl, and a further 44.14 kilograms of the drug were recovered at her Lemon Grove residence according to reports. All three defendants have been charged with drug possession and distribution.

How bail works

California residents who are taken into custody may be required to post bail in order to be released. Either the amount of bail set or a percentage of it must be paid by the defendant or someone else. In some cases, a person may be held without bail. This is the case if the person is considered to be a danger to the community or flight risk. Bail might also be only allowed under certain conditions. For example, the person may be required to undergo drug testing or give up firearms. The amount of bail is set based on similar factors. The seriousness of the crime, the evidence and any past history may all be considered.

A person who is unable to afford bail may have it paid by a bondsman. It will be necessary to pay the bondsman a nonrefundable fee that is usually between 10 and 20 percent of the total bail. A bondsman or another person who pays someone's bail is known as the surety, and this person is responsible for making sure the defendant appears in court.

Authorities seize 4.4 pounds of synthetic heroin

On May 19, California authorities reported that a 26-year-old man who was accused of trafficking synthetic heroin was taken into custody. Authorities said that about 4.4 pounds of the synthetic heroin, which was made from a combination of Despropionyl Fentanyl and Ketamine, was seized.

Agents working undercover purchased the 4.4 pounds of synthetic heroin. As the accused man was traveling to the agreed location in Fresno to make the sale, he was pulled over. Authorities conducted a search of the vehicle and reportedly found the drugs stashed in a secret compartment in the vehicle. Agents wore HAZMAT suits to prevent accidental exposure while they removed the drugs. The drugs were then sent to a state laboratory where the components of the synthetic heroin were determined to be Fentanyl and Ketamine.

Marijuana legalization creates issues for police

A 40-year-old California man stopped to change a flat tire on Interstate 80 when he was struck and killed by another motorist. That driver, a 24-year-old male, was taken into custody and charged with drugged driving. According to authorities, he had been under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident. It is believed that the number of drugged-driving incidents will continue to increase in states where the drug has been legalized while the number of DUIs related to alcohol decrease.

Authorities say that it may be harder to test for drugged driving as opposed to drunk driving, which may pose a public safety issue. This is partially because it is harder to objectively determine if a driver is impaired after using marijuana when compared to determining if someone is impaired after using alcohol.

Man detained on drug charges following plane crash

A California man was taken into custody on drug charges after a small plane that he was in crashed on April 24. Around 1:40 that afternoon, a Cessna 210 hit a fence at Banning Municipal Airport. The FAA reported that although the plane tipped onto its nose, the pilot was not seriously injured. Police did not say whether the man taken into custody was also the pilot.

According to law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the sheriff's office and the Banning Police Department began to investigate the incident. On April 26, the man was charged with transportation of marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for sale, and possession of more than $100,000 obtained from a transaction involving a controlled substance.

Chief Keef accused of DUI

California music lovers may be interested to learn that, on April 8, it was reported that the 21-year-old rapper Chief Keef was taken into custody in Miami Beach. He was ultimately charged with driving under the influence.

Authorities stated that the musician was driving a green Lamborghini when a passenger got out of the car and approached another vehicle. Both of the cars were stopped afterwards as the police reportedly believed that a drug deal had been conducted. Five people were then taken into custody.

Couple facing drug charges after allegedly texting detective

On March 24, it was reported that a California couple was charged with multiple drug offenses after they allegedly texted a detective to set up a drug deal. A 41-year-old Citrus Heights woman reportedly texted him to offer him prescription medication without realizing that she had the wrong number.

The detective continued the conversation while the department used the opportunity to set up a sting. The authorities set up a meeting with the unknown person. When the woman and her 45-year-old husband arrived at the location that was chosen, they were taken into custody. They were charged with possession of narcotics with intent to sell. The woman was being held in custody on $20,000 bail while the man was being held on $95,000 bond.

Lange faces drug possession charges

Comedian Artie Lange is facing a number of drug-related charges following an incident that took place near his home in New Jersey that may be of interest to the popular comedian's fan base in California. According to one news source, Lange himself reported the news in a tweet on March 17. His comments included praise for the professionalism of the arresting officers and indicated his intent to follow the advice of his attorney moving forward.

The Hoboken Police Department detained the former "Howard Stern Show" regular after responding to a parking garage in the area of Shipyard Lane and 14th Street on a report that someone was attempting to enter a parked vehicle. A department spokesperson told the press that upon arrival at the scene, one of the officers observed what appeared to be suspected cocaine and heroin inside the car in question.

African-Americans more likely to be wrongly convicted

Researchers have discovered that people who are wrongly convicted of crimes in California and around the country are far more likely to be African-American than white. Going over cases between 1989 and 2016, it was discovered that, of 1,900 instances where people were convicted then exonerated, 47 percent were African-American, which is about three times their representation in the United States population.

The study, which was completed by the National Registry of Exonerations, found that African-Americans were 12 times as likely to be wrongly convicted of drug crimes compared to whites. For wrongful murder convictions of African-Americans, the rate was seven times as likely as whites.

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Fax: 805-543-3210
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