Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, is in one of the pioneering states to decriminalize marijuana. This has proved positive in many ways; for one, police noticed they cited 73 percent less people than the previous year (when it was a crime). But the decriminalization of marijuana does not mean you should be driving while stoned in Philadelphia. And you will need a DUI lawyer if you get caught committing this act.
What Happens When You Get a DUI?
Those flashing lights can be very scary, even if you are not under the influence. This is because a cop can cost you more than what you are willing to pay. But being under the influence can put you in a compromising position.
If you get pulled over, this means that you need to do certain things to comply with the officer in order to avoid making the problem worse. One thing that you must remember is the Commonwealth v. Gery case, which was decided on April 29, 2014. This case gave police officers the power to search a vehicle if they feel there is probable cause.
Probable cause can include the smell of marijuana. The officer has the right to search your vehicle with probable cause, so do not put up a fight. Putting up a fight will be counted against you. But make sure you take note of what the officer says is the probable cause. You can use your phone to record the conversation, or write down notes about the ongoing stop.
But using your phone does come at a cost. Recording the incident has to be something that the police officer approves. You do need to state that you are recording to challenge the officer’s actions if you have a reason to challenge the actions.
You will need to prove that you had a reason to challenge the actions. The laws are still moving and evolving when it comes to digital data. It might be wise to talk to a lawyer regarding digital data, or just write down notes on your phone instead of trying to record the entire incident.
Remember that you do not have to answer any questions besides basic questions. Sure, you have to provide your drivers license, insurance, and registration. After that, you can just invoke your right to remain silent. This also means that you have the right to avoid answering anything about searching your vehicle. You already know that the cop has the right to search your vehicle, but this is under their suspicion. You can still reserve your right to stay quiet and not give the officer verbal permission to search your vehicle.
Be sure to write down everything that takes place during the search. Writing down or recording what transpires, including the time of the stop is very important. Your lawyer will have a better chance of finding out if there was some type of abuse of power when the police officer searched your vehicle.
Remember that if any foul play is found, evidence could be suppressed. This means that if additional weed was found illegally, it cannot be used against you during your trial.
Understand that you still need to comply to other requests, like getting out of your vehicle. Refusing to comply could put you in more trouble than you need to be.
Try to get information from witnesses if you are detained by a police officer. A different perspective can give a lawyer more power on your behalf. All you need to do is record a statement–with their consent. Or write down some contact information, which can be used later if necessary. There are other things to learn that a lawyer can help you with if you talk to him or her regarding your rights.
Complex Laws Regarding DUIs in Other States
One of the reasons you need a good DUI lawyer at this time is because laws about driving under the influence can get complex. The complexities are stacked against you, so it is better to have someone knowledgeable on your side. If you get caught in Texas, hire the best Austin DWI lawyer you can afford, or you might be staying in Texas.
Truth is, your best protection at this time is knowledge.
One thing you must remember is that there was an amendment in 2011 regarding the amount of cannabis that can be in the body, which is 1 ng/ml. This is a very small amount, so it is easy to get in trouble. You should remember that cannabis can stay in the system for weeks.
Understand that it is your right to refuse to submit to a chemical test, but you need to do so in an orderly fashion. Remember that refusing will give the police department the right to suspend your right to drive for six to eighteen months. Make sure that you understand that before refusing.
You should also understand that refusing to submit to chemical testing could also be used against you if your charge is taken to trial. Your lawyer should be able to help improve your chances of beating this particular issue. Refusal to submit might be a good idea, but it does depend on each case.
You can always try to talk to your lawyer about refusing to submit to the test, or if it serves your best interest to just submit. But you should remember that it is not your right to talk to an attorney before you choose to submit to the test or choose to refuse it. The officer does not need to give you permission to talk to a lawyer.
This is one of the reasons why talking to a lawyer about what might happen if you get caught using marijuana while driving is important. Yes, it is hard to predict this type of situation, but if you know that you habitually use marijuana, then it is best to cover all bases before something happens.
Another aspect that you need to consider is the kind of penalty that you might be looking at. A first offense is going to be seen as a misdemeanor. There is a lot of room for error, even if the problem is settled as a mere misdemeanor. For example, the minimum amount of time that you will spend confined will be 72 hours. But the judge does have a very large window, and he or she can sentence you to serve up to 6 months.
A good lawyer should be able to ensure that the judge stays as far away from 6 months as possible. The fine is also negotiable. The minimum fine is 1,000 dollars, but the maximum could be 5,000 dollars; that is more money than anyone would want to waste. There may be other requirements that a judge might impose on you. But a lawyer should help ensure that this ordeal is handled adequately.
You can clearly see that you will be in trouble if you are caught driving under the influence of marijuana. You know that there will be some consequences. But battling a prosecutor on your own, or with an inexperienced lawyer, is not a good idea. Remember that a judge can fine you the maximum amount as well as put you in jail. You will need a good lawyer on your side to help manage the situation. And if you take steps to prevent a DUI, you can avoid all this.