A marijuana breathalyzer developed by Hound Labs in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley finished field testing in California. The breathalyzer, which detects concentrations of THC in a person’s breath, is the latest in cannabis detecting technology to stop drivers from driving high. The device works like the alcohol breathalyzer test. The suspected driver blows air into the device, which then records the concentration of THC in his or her breath. However, it has not yet been decided what amount of marijuana detected in the driver’s breath can be used to establish impairment. The current law states the amount an alcohol breathalyzer can detect before being considered impaired, but not for marijuana. Further, the current blood and urine tests being used reveal whether there is some marijuana in your system. Not how much marijuana is sufficient to impair one’s ability to drive.

Working with California law enforcement, Hound Labs tested the device on driver’s suspected of driving while high. Officers would pull over the suspect and, if the driver failed their field sobriety tests, he or she would then be asked if they would voluntarily blow into the prototype breathalyzer. After recording the driver’s breath, the information would then be relayed to the research team to collect and compare with other results. According to Hound Labs, the device performed well, and they did find a correlation in the amount of THC recorded in comparison to how recently the driver has smoked marijuana. The drivers who failed their sobriety tests were not arrested but rather educated in the dangers of driving high. The drivers were also found alternative transportation to make it home safely.

Due to the promising results, Hound Labs now focuses on improving the size and durability of their breathalyzer. They hope these improvements will make the device easier to handle. At this time, the marijuana breathalyzer is not in use by California police officers. However, this does not mean officers are not on the lookout for driver who may be driving under the influence of cannabis. If you have been charged with a marijuana DUI, the Law Office at Louis G. Goodman can help. Our lawyers have years of experience handling Californian’s changing marijuana laws. We can help protect your rights and defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law.

Despite all the handwringing about driving under the influence of marijuana in the brave new world of legalized recreational pot, little will change in terms of motorist behaviors, arrests, or prosecutions.

As a longtime criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor who has handled thousands of DUI cases, I note that there is a substantial difference in DUI alcohol and DUI marijuana. Marijuana simply does not affect driving as negatively as alcohol. While most DUI alcohol arrests are made because of police stops based on obviously bad driving, most DUI MJ arrests take place after the police have made a stop for some other minor infraction (taillight, registration violation, routine traffic matter), and then smell marijuana in the car.

Despite legalization, incidents of DUI MJ will not significantly increase. Let’s not kid ourselves, people who choose to smoke marijuana have not been much deterred by the fact that it was illegal. Moreover, due to legalized medical marijuana being readily available, there has been a reliable supply of high quality, THC laden, pot available to virtually anyone who wanted it. Legalization is unlikely to significantly increase the number of people who smoke pot, nor for that matter, likely to increase the number who drive while under its influence.

For a prosecutor to win a DUI case, she must prove to a jury that the defendant’s ability to drive was significantly impaired by use of a substance or some combination of substances, beyond a reasonable doubt. Modern legislation deems that anyone with a .08 blood alcohol is driving illegally, whether or not their driving is actually impaired. The .08 level was determined after much scientific research and testing. For a variety of reasons, no such testing has been done on marijuana levels and driving performance, therefore, prosecutors have no reliable blood/marijuana tool at their disposal. Therefore, a DUI MJ case would have to be made on circumstantial evidence: bad driving, accident, smell of pot in the car, poor Field Sobriety Tests, admissions of the defendant, etc. This is not an impossible prosecutorial standard, but it is far more difficult than simply proving .08 or higher. Add that to generally friendly to marijuana use Bay Area juries and it is not hard to see the uphill battle a DUI MJ prosecutor faces.

The reality is that legalization will cause only a marginal increase in marijuana use, a minor increase in DUI MJ, little change in DUI MJ detection and enforcement by police, and not much change in prosecutorial attitudes toward DUI MJ cases.

marijuana DUIIn many cases, people are accused of stalking even though under the definition of the law, they did not commit any acts that would be considered stalking in California.

Definition of Stalking in California

CA.gov features a page on stalking in California. The page has a section on it regarding behaviors that are defined as stalking. These behaviors include the following:

  • Spying – This can include cyberstalking, literally hiding and spying or showing up at an event and keeping watch.
  • Threatening – Making threats that cause the victim fear or apprehension, such as threatening to enter the victim’s home.
  • Monitoring – Keeping track of the victim’s activities by following them online through their social media pages, using a GPS device or questioning the victim’s friends and family about the victim’s activities and whereabouts.
  • Harassing – Making several calls to the victim that are harassing in their frequency or due to their content.

There are several defenses that can be used if you have been accused of stalking. To learn more about what happens if you are accused of stalking in California and what you should do about it, call the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman. Criminal defense lawyer Louis J. Goodman has been successfully protecting the rights of people charged with stalking. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation with him.

I recently had a discussion with some friends who expressed frustration about not being able to vote in elections that they cared about because they did not live within the voting jurisdiction. There are lots of ways to influence an election. You can knock on doors, leaflet, make phone calls and you can donate money. Campaigns are expensive and have to be financed by somebody. TV costs money, phone banks cost money, flyers, yard signs, pizza for volunteers, all cost money. In the recent 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries candidates averaged about $40.00 per vote cast. An Alaskan Senate campaign cost the candidates over $100.00 per vote. Local elections are less costly, often coming in at around $12.00 a vote. The point being that running for office is expensive and candidates need financial support. Let’s be clear, money, in and of itself will not win an election (Hillary Clinton vastly outspent Donald Trump.) but no campaign can run without money.

One friend, who is highly educated, well employed, and who I admire very much, said that he believed that a campaign should just be a reasoned debate between candidates and then voters vote on the best person. Money should not come into it. Much as I might like this utopian myth, I recognize that reality dictates otherwise.

Here’s my point: If you like a cause or a candidate, send the campaign some money. It’s easy to do, just go to their website, find the prominently displayed “Donate” button and take it from there. Send what you can, even ten or twenty dollars really helps. More importantly, you and I can say that we participated in the democratic process, even though we did not ourselves get to vote directly, and regardless of the outcome, we made an effort to positively affect government by the people.

Please use a designated driver for HalloweenWant to do something really scary for Halloween? How about sitting with your hands cuffed behind your back in the hard plastic seat of a police car?

So if you’re a ghost or goblin who is planning on a few social alcoholic treats for Halloween, or maybe just working up the courage to be seen in public in that costume, best to plan on a designated driver, taxi, Lyft, or Uber to get you home.

My office sees far too many holiday arrests. Plan on not being one of them.

At the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman, we passionately defend the constitutional rights of our clients.

Just because you failed a blood, breath or urine test does not necessarily mean a criminal defense attorney cannot get a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge reduced or even overturned.

How to Challenge DUI and DWI Blood, Breath and Urine Test Results

It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. When police pull drivers over under the suspicion of DUI or DWI, they use chemical tests to check the BAC level in the driver’s saliva, blood, breath or urine. If the results of these tests show that a driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, then the prosecution will use it as a key piece of evidence to pursue a DUI or DWI conviction. However, if the defense can challenge the accuracy of these tests, then they can sometimes prevent the prosecution from being able to use the results in the case against a DWI or DUI suspect. A few of the ways the defense can challenge a chemical DUI test includes:

  • Failure to warn – In some states, refusing to take a chemical test will result in your driver’s license being suspended. If the police fail to warn you that your license will be suspended if you refuse a chemical test, you may be able to prevent the results of the test from being admitted as evidence. In addition, many states allow you to have a choice as to which chemical test you would prefer to take. If the arresting officers do not offer you a choice about which chemical test you would like to take, it may make the results of the test inadmissible.
  • Improper administration – If the device used to administer the test was faulty or not calibrated properly and you can prove it, you may be able to ensure the results of the test cannot not be admitted as evidence. Similarly, if the technician administering the test does not follow the required steps for administering the test, the results of the test may be inadmissible.

These are just a couple of the defenses that can be used to challenge the results of DUI and DWI blood, breath, saliva and urine tests. For more information about DWI and DUI defenses, contact the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman. Criminal defense attorney Louis J. Goodman has years of experience successfully defending the rights of people charged with DWI, DUI as well as other charges. He is tough, professional and respected. Call now to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation with him.

Although medical marijuana is now legal in California, it’s still illegal to drive under the influence of any drug or alcohol. For alcohol cases, this is usually a simple question. A person is either over the legal limit of a .08, or they’re not. Although a person can be charged when alcohol influences their ability to drive when they’re under a .08 blood alcohol content, this rarely happens.

No legal limit for Marijuana

For marijuana DUI, the line isn’t so bright. The State of California doesn’t have a legal limit for marijuana. They also don’t have a way to test a person’s marijuana levels on the side of the road.

Alcohol is measurable in a person’s breath, so law enforcement can test a person’s alcohol levels using a breathalyzer test. However, marijuana doesn’t appear in the breath, so law enforcement has no way to test your marijuana levels without drawing your blood. For now, a marijuana DUI is hard to detect, and it’s even harder for law enforcement to prove your guilt to the satisfaction of a jury.

Promising New Research

Researchers in California are working on trying to establish a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana. To do this, they’re having volunteers smoke marijuana and then use a driving simulator. They’re testing the participants at different strengths of marijuana use and at different intervals between smoking and driving. They’re also having participants take other cognitive tests to determine their ability to think and reason after smoking.

As marijuana use continues to grow, this research becomes more important than ever. Early research shows that drivers aren’t much more likely to be in an accident if they have only moderate levels of marijuana in their system. Ultimately, researchers hope to establish a legal limit for marijuana DUI. They hope that this legal limit, in turn, helps law enforcement create new techniques for detecting drugged driving and fairly enforcing California laws.

We Can Help

If you’re facing a marijuana DUI, the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman can help. Their team of legal professionals has years of experience helping clients navigate California’s complex and changing marijuana and drunk driving laws. If you’re facing any kind of marijuana or drunk driving charge, you should contact our office as soon as possible. The Law Office of Louis J. Goodman can help you protect your rights and defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law.

federal charges for online crimes is a reality. here is an image that depicts a hacker.Many people do not realize that the Internet is a public place and every transaction that takes place has a backlink thread. In many situations communications are transmitted from one state to another or from one nation to another, making any criminal activity committed online a federal offense. In addition, the federal statutes specifically describe certain activity that is unlawful and federal law will be used to prosecute the case. This can be a real problem for those who are accused because federal offenses are much more serious than typical in-state offenses. Sentencing guidelines for federal crimes are very strict and harsher than state sentencing. That is why it is vital for anyone facing federal charges for online offenses to retain an aggressive criminal defense attorney who understands how federal charges are prosecuted.

Pretrial Hearing

When a defendant is arraigned on federal charges for online offenses the judge will assess bond arrangements, just as in a state case. In many instances, the arraignment also becomes the pretrial detention hearing as well, but the criminal defense attorney can request a continuance. This is usually no more than five days. The pretrial hearing will consist of the U.S. Attorney submitting the articles of evidence against the defendant, often with a federal agent present for cross-examination by the criminal defense attorney. This serves the same purpose as discovery in a state case, and it is normally the only chance at questioning an agent for the defending counsel before the actual trial. The actual trial will be scheduled by the judge at the end of the pretrial hearing.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof in a case for federal charges for online offenses is the same as other cases, as the federal government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crime was committed. A defendant can also be responsible for paying restitution and damages for any funds that have been stolen by illegal transfer or identity theft, but these cases are proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower standard. Even if a defendant does escape a conviction for federal charges for online offenses, the defendant can still be sued for compensatory or punitive damages, depending on the nature of the charges.

Federal defendants should have an attorney when being prosecuted because all federal charges normally carry significant jail time. A convicted defendant must also serve 80% of any federal sentencing term, so it is never a good decision to settle for a public defender. Always choose an experienced federal case attorney like legal professional Louis J. Goodman who understands how to craft a solid defense against the U.S. Justice Department.

Word is that police arrested Tiger Woods for suspected DUI. News reports say that police smelled a strong odor of alcohol. The police say that Mr. Woods refused a chemical test and was “arrogant.” Tiger says he fell asleep because of prescription drugs he took for back pain.

As with most criminal incidents, there is a difference of opinion as to the facts and as to those facts ought to be viewed. I would respectfully note that there were also allegations of drug/alcohol use in the incident a few years ago when Tiger crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and his then wife came out swinging with a golf club. There was no arrest in that circumstance but it led to a heap of family law trouble. (more…)

Spring break is a time to forget about school and enjoy being with friends and family. That fun can sometimes get a little too wild with you doing things that might end up with you being arrested. Each state has its own regulations about what you can and can’t do at local beaches or in state parks, but for the most part, there are a few common things that people do to get arrested during spring break. (more…)