Monthly Archives: April 2016
What Is Drug Trafficking?
Drug trafficking is defined under state and federal law. It involves the selling and distribution of illegal drugs that are defined in criminal statutes. They may include drugs such as steroids, methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs that are sold in large quantities. Even if a person is arrested with only a small amount of drugs in his or her possession for personal use, he or she may still face federal charges for this crime. State law may consider drug trafficking only when larger quantities are involved and classifying smaller amounts as possession charges.
When individuals are found with serious drugs in their possession, certain criminal implications may arise. The United States takes the drug trade very seriously. A defendant may face inflated charges simply for being in possession of certain drugs. He or she may quickly be implicated for this crime even if he or she has no knowledge of the workings of his or her drug dealer.
Penalties of Drug Trafficking
The potential penalties for drug trafficking are quite severe. The punishment is usually based on the type of drug involved and its quantity. It is not uncommon for a person to receive a prison sentence of 20 years for a first time conviction of drug trafficking. A person may also face additional penalties including very large fines, rehabilitation, community service and the imposition of probation or parole. His or her personal belongings may be seized if they are believed to be linked to the crime or received through ill-gotten gains.
Since there are often parallel state and federal crimes when it comes to drug charges, the defendant may find that he or she is charged under both state and federal law. This can happen despite double jeopardy protections. If there is a choice between filing state or federal charges, the federal charges are often brought. This results in the criminal defendant facing minimum mandatory sentencing.
In addition to the criminal consequences of a drug trafficking conviction, a defendant may face many other repercussions. He or she may lose a professional license or CDL. He or she may be barred from pursuing certain types of career trajectories. His or her employment applications may be rejected based on status as a convicted felon. He or she may be barred from going to college or receiving student loans. He or she may also be barred from public housing or other types of housing. His or her professional reputation can easily be ruined by such a conviction.
Defendants who are facing criminal charges for drug trafficking often decide to hire a lawyer of their choosing. They may select someone who has extensive experience in handling drug cases that are tried in state and federal court. In some instances, law enforcement has used an informer who is attempting to avoid his or her own conviction by cooperating with police. A criminal defense lawyer will assess the evidence that is used against the defendant and fight to protect his or her rights. He or she will also challenge the evidence when appropriate.
A criminal defense lawyer can also explain the defendant’s rights so that he or she protects them. He or she may suggest not talking to police or other investigators. Through a careful investigation of the case, a lawyer can determine which defenses most apply to the case and are most likely to be successful in the case.
Filing a Restraining Order
- If you are in potential and immediate danger, call the emergency (911). even in the situation where you are threatened, abused, and/or the matter has ended, call and tell the police that you want to press charges. If at all the case is immediately prosecuted, the court will issue an order of protection immediately.
- Get the family to a safe place and ask for help. People are mostly helpful in such matters and they would assist you in filing a restraining order.
- Approaching the police station would be of help, as the officers there would definitely give more detailed information on how to press charges.
- Call up the local family court (in case of domestic violence) and ask how to file an order of protection. Then, you would need to go to the court and get the requisite documents.
- Next, you would need to fill out the papers properly and carefully. Inclusion of social security numbers, birth dates, date of the incident/incidences of abuse or stalking, witnesses’ names, and if at all there are any evidences, like photographs.
- In the context of a woman being a victim of domestic violence and she has children, the woman can get a restraining order for them as well. If instructed so, sign the papers before a notary. An order of protection against domestic violence can only be obtained during a divorce.
This was mainly in connection with domestic abuse. In case it is something different, you have an option of filing a harassment restraining order.
Filing a Harassment Restraining Order
- Ensure whether you are being harassed in legal terms and if the situation is so critical. An order of restraint can be easily overturned in case you do not have a cause good enough to file the order in the first place.
- Consult a law enforcement officer or an attorney before you file a restraining order about your jurisdiction. The procedure would slightly vary depending upon the area, but there would be forms specifically meant for order of protection. They would have to be filed with a city or county clerk.
- Initially, it would be a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), having a validity between 5-15 days of filing the order.
- Once the court reviews the order, you can decide if you want to file for a permanent restraining order (PRO). If you want to file for a PRO, it is better to hire an attorney.
- One of the most important things to remember is to avoid and refuse any contact with the restrained party. If you are skeptical about the fact that you need protection, you would jeopardize your wish to turn your TRO into PRO.
- The laws vary depending upon the country you are in, so you would need to be careful about that as well.
Restraining order could prove to be extremely crucial when it comes to your own safety. So if you are facing something like Gillian, and you are sure about that, then do not think twice about putting an order of restraint on the person. Ultimately, your safety is what matters, and being able to live without fear is one of the most important and fundamental rights in the constitution of any country.
As quite a few of us know, Power of Attorney (POA), in civil law system, refers to an authorization to act on behalf of someone, in a business or legal matter. The one who grants the authorization is called the principal or donor, and the one who has been granted the power is referred to as an agent or attorney. There can arise a situation where the principal can change his or her mind, as to who the agent or attorney will be. In that case, having an idea about revoking power of attorney will be helpful.
There a number of websites from where you can download a form for revoking a POA. If you are not too keen on that, you can make your own document or a simple letter. In case you are creating a document yourself, you will have to include,
- your full legal name
- current date
- date when the original power of attorney was put into effect
- the name or names of the people designated as your agent for the original power of attorney.
- statement that you are of “sound mind”
- clear description of your wish to revoke the original document, that is the POA.
Once you are done with the earlier step, you will have to sign and date the document in the presence of a witness. Request the witness to sign on the document, and then add his or her address and the date underneath the signature. You might also have to get the document notarized. You will also have to write ‘REVOKED’ on the original document, at the top and across the text. Then don’t forget to sign and put in the date. Doing this will ensure that the purpose of the document is not misused.
You have to make sure that this document which clearly mentions that the Power of Attorney has been revoked, reaches the concerned government entities – banks, hospital, other offices if at all and the like. So these organizations have to be sent copies of the revoked POA. This too, is a very important aspect.
Last, but not the least, send the person who originally had the POA, a copy of the document saying that his or her power has been revoked. Further, ask that person to give you the papers saying he or she has accepted the revoking of the Power of Attorney.
Some POA Revocation Tips
The above were the basic things regarding revoking a POA. Here is a look at some quick tips related to it.
- There is a common notion and rule, that the POA can be revoked only if the person is mentally sound and competent to do so.
- Each state has its own laws in connection with revoking Power of Attorney. So before you do that, it would be a good idea to get to know about those laws.
- In case something happens to a person granting the POA, be it a general or specific POA, it is considered to be void, automatically.
That’s all! If all this seems difficult to handle, you can always ask for professional legal advice! Whatever you do, please be very very careful about the documentation and the related affairs! Till next time!
Much of the controversy regarding stop and frisk is determining when there is reasonable suspicion. A law enforcement officer may state that a person is suspicious because he or she is highly emotional, appears drunk, is fearful or is angry. Law enforcement officers may also depend on information about the surroundings to explain their reasonable suspicion of the suspect. Such circumstances may include the suspect being present by a crime scene, moving in a suspicious manner or running away from someone. An individual can also be lawfully stopped if he or she matches the description of a wanted felon.
If reasonable suspicion does exist, the law enforcement officer can stop the suspect. Some stops include a show of force, such as the law enforcement officer ordering the suspect to stop and sometimes even physically forcing the suspect to stop. A police officer may also execute a stop by showing his or her authority, such as by displaying a badge, giving the suspect a particular look or using certain demeanor to execute the stop.
A person can be stopped without also being frisked. A frisk consists of a law enforcement officer patting down a subject to determine if he or she is carrying any weapons. The reason for a frisk is to make the law enforcement feel more comfortable so that he or she knows that the suspect will not be able to harm him or her with a concealed weapon. A frisk is also meant to protect the other citizens in the vicinity. A frisk can also be used to detect if a person is carrying drugs. If the law enforcement officer can inherently determine that the item being patted is plainly drugs without having to manipulate the item in any way, the item can be seized. This is based on the “plain feel” doctrine.
A frisk is only justified in certain circumstances, usually in situations in which the encounter may be riskier. For example, a frisk may be conducted when the law enforcement officer believes the suspect is armed and dangerous or is concerned about his or her own safety or that of others. A frisk may also occur when an officer does not have backup. The law enforcement officer may also be able to justify a frisk based on certain factors when considered together, such as the number of suspects, the size of suspects, how the suspects are behaving, appear or how their emotional state appears, evasive answers given during the stop, the time of day or the area where the stop is made.
Problems Associated with Stop and Frisk
The primary concern regarding stop and frisk is that it may be abused by law enforcement officers to complete unconstitutional searches. Individuals who have been subjected to a stop and frisk and believe that their rights were violated may choose to contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn about their options and their rights.