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Every year, countless people all across Manhattan are charged and convicted of marijuana possession. The sad reality is that many of these people are innocent, but they lacked the type of criminal defense attorney fighting on their behalf that is necessary to prevail in a court of law. While it is true that we are a nation where the accused are to be viewed as innocent until proven guilty, the system is often stacked against those charged with a drug related offense. If that is where you find yourself right now, consider the following four reasons why you really need a Manhattan marijuana defense lawyer.
You Simply Did Not Commit the Crime
It is true that many people charged with such a crime simply did not commit it in the first place. Be it a misunderstanding or what have you, such a charge is nonetheless extremely serious. If you have not committed the crime, you might feel that you have nothing to worry about and opt to try to settle the matter on your own. This could be a mistake. There is a reason that you were charged in the first place. Law enforcement officials do not necessarily like to admit that they made an error, so you can bet the prosecution will continue unless a qualified and professional fighting on your behalf can make the charges go away before trial.
Criminal Convictions Affect Future Employment Opportunities
It might be hard to believe, but roughly 20 percent of the adult population in this area has a criminal conviction on their record. This is a staggering statistic. For each of these individuals, however, they can tell you that such a conviction limits their employment opportunities. For this reason alone, you will want to fight the charges. Even if you are just sentenced to probation or a small prison sentence, you will find that the stigma will fall you around for the rest of your life when you go to fill out applications for employment.
One Criminal Possession Conviction Can Ruin Your Life
Laws in New York governing marijuana possession are strict. Depending on the amount you have in your possession at the time of arrest, you could be charged with anything from misdemeanor possession to having an actual felony charge of drug trafficking. You are often at the mercy of law enforcement and the prosecutors office in this regard. A lawyer can help negotiate terms of the charge and work to prove your innocence. Just one criminal possession conviction on your record can ruin your life, so make sure to have an attorney working on your behalf to keep that from happening.
Subsequent Convictions Can Add Years to the Sentence
If you happen to already have a drug possession charge on your record, a subsequent arrest can significantly raise the stakes. Sentences can be raised substantially to the point that you could be looking at decades behind bars. You cannot under estimate the importance of having a professional criminal defense attorney in such cases. You need to fight this and prove your innocence or get the charges reduced.
These are just four of the many reasons why you need to have a criminal defense attorney fighting on your side. The stakes are simply too high to trust just anybody. As soon as you have been charged with marijuana possession, no matter how major or minor the charge itself might seem to be, contact our office for help. We will put our years of experience and our speciality in the field to come to your prompt and speedy defense.
Can A Urine Test Reveal Marijuana and the Degree of Impairment?
This is a question that comes up quite often in our our criminal defense law practice, particularly when someone is facing a charge of driving while impaired. We have found it best to break the above question into two parts: “Can a urine test reveal the presence of marijuana?” and “Can a urine test determine the degree of impairment?”
Can a urine test reveal the presence of marijuana?
There are a number of chemical tests that can detect the presence of marijuana in a urine sample, but none of these are simple to administer, or are sufficiently reliable, to be used at the roadside or within a police station / state police barracks. There are a number of factors that contribute to such tests that can make them unsuitable for routine use. First among these shortcomings is the realization that there a number of substances that may trigger a “false positive” reaction.
Among the more common self-administered medications that are known to case a sample to “test positive” for THC, the compound that is responsible for the “high” that accompanies marijuana use, are ibuprofen (such as Advil, Motrin, and Midol), naproxen (Aleve and Naprosyn) and “proton blocker” antacids (such as Pepcid, Nexium, and Prevacid). Since many of these medications are available without a physician’s order, many people (including police officers) would have no reason to suspect that these “OTC” medications could suggest recent marijuana use when, in fact, no such use had taken place.
While it is true that marijuana can be detected in urine, the testing techniques required to detect THC and related compounds require sophisticated laboratory facilities and highly trained laboratory technologists. In fact, many state crime labs do not routinely perform such testing but will send such samples to one of a few testing centers nationwide with the capability to perform such analysis.
Can a urine test determine the degree of impairment?
In a word, “no.” Unlike the case with alcohol, where a certain amount of alcohol in a urine sample can be used to presume that the person submitting that sample is intoxicated or impaired, there isn’t a “presumptive” level of THC in the urine beyond which a person is considered to be impaired. There are a number of reasons why this is the case.
First of all, as is the case with alcohol use, a frequent marijuana user will have a higher tolerance for THC than will an infrequent user. In other words, the overall effect caused by a given amount of THC will vary depending on how frequently a person uses the substance: a relatively small amount of THC in the urine could have little effect on a regular user but that same amount could render an infrequent user to be all but helpless.
The second problem with using a urine test to determine the degree of impairment attributed to marijuana use is related to three separate, but related, characteristics that determine the effects of any substance: 1) intake, the manner in which a substance enters the body, 2) metabolism, how that substance is processed by the body, and 3) excretion, how and by what route that substance leaves the body.
In general, intake and metabolism take place at relatively constant rates while excretion is the most variable. Depending on factors such as body weight, the percentage of body fat, and the amount of fluid intake, the presence of marijuana and its byproducts can be detected up to 10 days after its most recent use. Since there is so much variability in the rate in which marijuana is excreted, and the fact that the amount excreted in the urine cannot be used to determine how much (and certainly not when) marijuana was ingested by an individual, such testing has very little value as evidence that could be used to support of a charge of driving while impaired.
In summary, there are far too many variables that must be taken into consideration if the amount of marijuana and its related compounds detected in a urine sample is to be used as evidence of impairment at the time such a sample was collected.
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