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Clients of an Arizona Drug Crimes Lawyer Can Benefit from Drug Rehabilitation Counseling

The client of a drug crimes lawyer in Arizona might well be able to benefit from the Bureau of Prisons Residential Drug Abuse program. While those who underwent treatment originally received no reduced sentencing as a result, the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, among other provisions, allowed the court to provide an up to 1 year sentence reduction for the clients of a drug crime lawyer who completed the now 500 hour drug and alcohol program.

The law also required the BOP to provide treatment to all inmates who were eligible. A provision in 1995 required the client of a drug crimes lawyer to provide documentation of a drug abuse problem to be eligible.

Program’s high demand causes time pressure
Due to the ability to lose 12 months of a sentence, as well as spend 6 months in a half-way house, the program was understandably in high demand. In evaluating eligibility, a clinical interpretation of a drug abuse problem must be made by the BOP. The diagnosis must be made in conjunction with the American Psychiatric Associates Diagnostic and Statistic Manual. This leaves open the possibility that the BOP fails to make a diagnosis, even if substance abuse history has been a part of the past of the client of a drug crimes lawyer in Arizona.

The clinical interview for evaluating eligibility for the program is ordinarily conducted no less than 24 months prior to release. This time is highly significant. Why? The high demand for the program means classes are only available every 2 to 3 months. Even with a court recommendation, there is a possibility that a client of a drug crimes lawyer may spend the last 24 months of their sentence in a facility that doesn’t service such a program.

Completion incentives
Completion incentives include early release, as well as consideration for maximum available time in a prerelease community based treatment program to include home confinement. Low and medium security inmates in RDAP programs far from home and have time remaining on their terms have the added incentive of being placed in a program near their homes.

Early release is bar far the greatest incentive for a client of a drug crimes lawyer to enter drug counseling programs, but the time incentive has changed over the years. New provisions reduce the time taken off. Those now serving 37 months are eligible for a 12 month early release. Those serving 31 to 36 months would eligible for only 9 months of reduced sentence, while those with less than 31 months could only see a 6 month reduction.

Some crimes not eligible
There are exceptions for the early release program. These include those who have a prior felony or conviction for homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault or child sexual abuse. Inmates are also not eligible if their crime involved carrying, possessing or using a firearm, other dangerous weapon or explosives, involved or included the attempt of personal force, seriously risked the person or property of another, or conducted sexual abuse practices upon children.

The client of a drug crimes lawyer in Arizona would do well to look into what sort of drug treatment programs are available. The incentives are well worth it, reducing the sentence served as well as providing time in a half way house through a work rehabilitation program.

About the Author
David Michael Cantor is an AV rated (the highest possible rating) lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. For more information about an Arizona drug crimes lawyer, visit our site.

Any Lawyer for Drunk Driving Should Look at the Impacts of Herring v United States on DUI Defense

Any lawyer for drunk driving should be well aware of how Herring v. United impacts DUI defense. In the case, a warrant check revealed there was an active warrant for the suspect’s arrest. For that reason alone, the police followed the defendant’s vehicle, pulled him over and arrested him. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed illegal drugs and an illegal pistol. This type of situation can easily apply to any number of cases a lawyer for drunk driving could be involved in.

The catch is that there was a problem with the warrant, which had been recalled 5 months earlier. This was due to a bookkeeping error, and officer attempted to corroborate the warrant, which lead to the discovery of a mix up within 5 to 15 minutes. Either way, the suspect was nailed and in need of a lawyer for drunk driving. If you can prove that the police record system has so many problems that even the police can’t rely on it, your lawyer for drunk driving might be able to make a case.

The court concluded that a 4th amendment violation occurred, creating a precedent that helps a lawyer for drunk driving protect his or her client. The issue was whether the exclusionary rule was an appropriate measure. Courts have previously ruled that the “fruits of an illegal arrest should not be suppressed.”

The exclusionary rule is not a given right that a lawyer for drunk driving can use to protect clients. It applies only to cases of appreciable deterrence. Plus, the benefits to deterrence must outweigh the costs.  The extent to which the exclusionary applies also depends on the culpability of the law enforcement conduct. To trigger the exclusionary rule, police must act sufficiently deliberate that exclusion can momentarily deter it, and sufficiently culpable that such deterrence is worth the price paid by the legal system.

The court did not suggest that all record keeping errors by police are immune from the exclusionary rule, but only in cases where the conduct at issue is objectively culpable as to require extension. If police have been shown to be reckless in maintaining a warrant system, or have knowingly made false entries to lay the groundwork for arrests, exclusion is certainly justified and in the best interest of someone needing a lawyer for drunk driving.

Herring has important implications for anyone needing a lawyer for drunk driving. Many drivers are pulled over solely because a police officer or automated license scanner has run a license plate number on them and determined that the license or registration is suspended or revoked. However, many of these records are not up to date, leading to people being pulled over and in need of a lawyer for drunk driving.

These sorts of stops and the subsequent arrest would only be invalid if it could be determined that the record system was so plagued by errors that it would be reckless for police to rely on it. The system has to be pretty far broken to really be much interest for a lawyer for drunk driving.

About the Author
David Michael Cantor is an AV rated (the highest possible rating) lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. For more information about a Phoenix Lawyer for drunk driving, visit our site.

DWI Defense Lawyers Should Look at the Impacts of Arizona v. Gant on DUI Defense

DWI defense lawyers should be well versed in how Arizona v. Gant impacts DUI cases. In this case, the court reconsidered and modified its holding in New York v. Belton, which applied to the search incident to arrest exception to the 4th amendment warrant requirement to vehicle searches.

In Gant, the court decided that when an officer has made a lawful custodial arrest of the occupant of a motor vehicle, he may also search the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Of particular interest to DWI defense lawyers, it follows that the officer may also search any containers within the passenger compartment that is within the reach of the arrestee, whether it is open or closed. The court ruled that Belton had been too far reaching, resulting in countless unconstitutional searches of many clients of DWI defense lawyers that had taken place over the 28 year period the ruling held.

The court ruled that an officer’s ability to search all items in a vehicle violated the 4th amendment, giving police officers the right to just rummage through the personal property of anyone they’d like. Before the Gant ruling, a mere traffic violation could result in violations of personal privacy. DWI defense lawyers have more to work with as the personal privacy rights of motorists are better protected.

The generalization underpinning the broad reading of Belton is largely unfounded, as DWI defense lawyers have been arguing for years. We know that articles inside a passenger compartment are rarely within the area into which an arrestee might reach, and blind adherence to Belton will result in countless unconstitutional searches. In Gant, the court ruled that police may only search a passenger compartment if it is within reaching distance of the arrestee or it is reasonable that the compartment contains evidence of the crime.

In assessing Gant’s interest to DWI defense lawyers, there are 2 major issues. First, will courts create an exception to the clients of DWI defense lawyers to Gant, concluding that it is always reasonable that relevant evidence (such as alcoholic containers) may be found in the passenger compartment? Is it reasonable that other bags, backpacks and containers in the car also contain alcoholic beverages and thus be the subject of a search? These are questions DWI defense lawyers must consider.

Legal professionals should take a critical look at the court’s comment in Gant that even when search incident to arrest, a warrantless vehicle search be conducted where another exception to the warrant requirement applies. In cases of the clients of DWI defense lawyers, such a search can be routinely be conducted pursuant to the inventory search exception to the warrant requirement.

It should be noted that an inventory search is easier to challenge, but DWI defense lawyers definitely have more to work with as a result of the Gant case.

Although Gant is not a DUI case, it has lasting implications for those needing DWI defense lawyers. It helps to more clearly delineate your rights in a traffic stop and when your vehicle may or may not be searched. Talk with a lawyer to see how your rights can be used to improve your case. It may sound like a lot of lawyer jargon, but these court rulings help to define your rights as an American citizen.

About the Author
David Michael Cantor is an AV rated (the highest possible rating) lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. For more information about Phoenix DWI Defense Lawyers, visit our site.

DUI Attorney Offices Should Look at the Impacts of Melendez vs. Massachusetts on DUI Defense

Any DUI attorney worth his legal fees will know how Melendez vs. Massachusetts impacts DUI defense. The defendant was charged with possessing and trafficking cocaine, evidenced by several bags that the prosecution held as evidence. The defense had 3 certificates of analysis that said the mentioned evidence was cocaine. The defense argued against the inclusion of the evidence, as its validation came through certificates and not a presentable witness who could be cross examined, as a DUI attorney might cross examine an arresting office in a DUI case.

The objections were overruled. The issue was whether the Crawford case applied in the Melendez case and whether the affidavits would be testimonial and whether the defendant had the right to cross examine this testimony under the 6th amendment. The court ruled that affidavits were testimonial statements, and that analysts served as witnesses under the 6th amendment. These analysts could therefore be cross examined by a DUI attorney.

More specifically, the Melendez case does illustrate that there are better ways for a DUI attorney to challenge or verify the results of a scientific test, as the Constitution guarantees only a single way- that of confrontation. A DUI attorney still does not have the right to suspend the Confrontation Clause when a preferable trial strategy is available. In this regard, the court rebuffed the state’s claim that scientific testing is both “neutral” and “reliable.”

As any DUI attorney knows, forensic science is not free from manipulation. It shouldn’t be taken at face value. In the issue of a DUI case, the level of intoxication forms the crux of the trial. This evidence needs to be based on more than police officer testimony, but other factors such as breathalyzer and performance of sobriety tests. A DUI attorney has the duty to question all available evidence in a court of law in the interest of his or her client.

Confrontation is designed to weed out not only fraudulent testimonial evidence, but incompetent evidence as well. The Melendez decision rejects the notion that the documents in question qualified as traditional official or business records. The court decided that by requiring testimonial evidence to substantiate the scientific determinations that “the sky won’t fall.”

A DUI attorney knows how the Melendez case makes it clear that the operator of the state’s chemical test is a necessary witness. However, the court does not make people who routinely work and maintain the lab equipment expert witnesses. The court does not need to hear the testimony of anyone who tested the sample or the testing equipment.

In the case of DUI law, the testimony of the acting police officer is often all a DUI attorney has to work with. When it becomes a matter of one word against the other, a conviction becomes that much more difficult. Police testimony can be called into question if not backed up by empirical evidence such as a Breathalyzer.

A good DUI attorney will know how to use the conclusions of the Melendez case to question key evidence in a DUI trial. Put your rights first by knowing how the court has decided in the past.

A Good Criminal Lawyer Saves You the Hassle of an Ineffective Assistance of Trial Counsel

Any criminal lawyer will tell you that the ineffective assistance of trial counsel is one of the most frequently raised claims in state and federal post conviction petitions. Considering the state of most state funded counseling these days, this is hardly surprising. Many state attorneys refuse to investigate their cases before trial, never meet with their clients before the trial, or fail to file any motions or object to inadmissible evidence during the trial. The circumstances of your case come down to the quality of your criminal lawyer. Choosing one may be the most important legal decision you make.

The American Bar Association released a recent conclusion that indigent defense in this country has reached a state of crisis. Many defenders are forced to handle well over a thousand cases a year, more than 3 times the ABA says a criminal lawyer can adequately handle. In this challenging tax economy, public defenders in many communities simply don’t have the funds to give their clients the adequate defense the Constitution demands.

Added to this burden, the very structure of our state and federal post conviction review systems further contributes to the problem instead of providing a solution. Procedural efforts to review it make it difficult for defendants to challenge the effectiveness of their criminal lawyer. As a result, there is really no way of prosecuting criminal lawyer incompetence, which leads to a system of unaccountability on the part of a community funded criminal lawyer.

Problems with State Post Conviction Review Procedures
Many states require defendants challenging the ineffective assistance of their trail counsel must do so through post conviction review, rather than on direct appeal. Most states limit direct appeal to statements and actions directly reflected by the trial record. Because proving ineffective assistance of trial counsel often depends upon a criminal lawyer and his or her failure to do something, the legal proceedings need to take in more than just the direct appeal.

Defense attorneys are given very short time windows to file such motions (often in as little as 30 days), so the defense they get to represent them is often the same one who is the subject of the motion, which creates a conflict of interest. It is very difficult to make a case in such the limited time period allowed.

Clients also have difficulty making legal claims asserting ineffective assistance of trial counsel because they have no Constitutional right to counsel on post conviction review. A client who must then represent himself during a post conviction review has to blindly deal with filing deadlines, substantiating evidence and prosecuting the case, which is beyond the capabilities of most of the accused.

The value of a quality criminal lawyer
The solution is to be represented by a reputable criminal lawyer from the beginning. While state funded lawyers may fulfill the state’s need to provide legal counsel, it is far from adequate legal counsel. If you need a criminal lawyer, any investment you can make in your case is worth the effort. A good lawyer can create a much more beneficial outcome that will make post conviction review completely irrelevant.

Money for quality legal advice is money that is well spent. When considering your future, get the best criminal lawyer you can afford, even if it means taking out a loan or other investment to fund the means.

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