Domestic Violence Not Guilty Verdict – 9/27/17

The Alleged Crime:  My client was charged with one count of Battery Domestic Violence, a misdemeanor.

The Evidence:  The alleged victim claimed that her then-boyfriend and father of her child grabbed her arm and pushed her to the ground in the driveway of the house where he was living.  When she reported the incident the next night, the police took her statement and photos of her injuries, but did not further investigate the incident.

The Trial:  I cross examined the victim regarding her version of events and was able to show that she had at least four different versions of her story.  For example, on direct examination she claimed that she went home after the incident, where her brother called police about an hour later.  In fact, I was able to show that she did not report the incident to police until over 24 hours afterward.  I was also able to get her to admit that she probably made physical contact with my client first. No evidence was presented that my client pushed the alleged victim to the ground.

In addition, I called two witnesses to testify on behalf of my client.  One of the witnesses saw the alleged incident, but explained that he saw my client grab the alleged victim’s arm only after she swung at him, and only in self-defense.  His testimony came off as credible because he admitted that he felt both parties were in the wrong.  The other witness explained how the alleged victim stayed at the house for several hours after the incident and had no visible injuries at that time.

The Defense:  It was our position that my client acted only in self defense.  When arguing self defense, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self defense if any evidence of self defense is provided.

The Outcome:  My client was found not guilty of all charges.

What You Need to Know About “Legalized Marijuana” in Nevada

Recreational marijuana became legal in the state of Nevada, but that doesn’t mean that there are no limitations.  The area of law surrounding “legalized marijuana” is still complicated.  Here are some things you should know:

  • You must be at least 21 years old to possess marijuana (unless you have a valid Nevada medical marijuana card)
  • You may possess up to one ounce (1 oz.) of marijuana or 1/8 ounce of concentrated cannabis for personal use only
  • You may only possess or use marijuana in a private residence – no public consumption!
  • “Possession” can be constructive or actual possession
    • actual possession is having or carrying it on your person (like in your pocket or a bag you’re carrying)
    • constructive possession means it is in your dominion or control (like in your backpack that is sitting near you, or like keeping it in a place you have control over, for example your bedroom or your car)
    • the same item may be possessed by more than one person at the same time (for example, if it is kept in the common area of an apartment or home)
  • It is not legal to buy marijuana unless you do so from a licensed dispensary
  • It is legal to grow your own marijuana, but only under certain strict limitations
  • It is still illegal to possess more than one ounce (1 oz.) of marijuana or 1/8 ounce of concentrated cannabis
  • It is still illegal to possess marijuana or concentrated cannabis “for the purpose of sale” (law enforcement and prosecutors utilize a number of factors to support a conclusion that possession is with the intent to sell, including things like proximity to scales, presence of small baggies, owe sheets, and cash in multiple denominations)
  • Selling marijuana is illegal unless you do so appropriately from a licensed facility
  • You should think of marijuana more like alcohol and less like a cigarette when it comes to the law:
    • Do not consume marijuana while driving.
    • If you have marijuana in your vehicle, make sure it is in a sealed container that is not within your reach and is within the legal amount for possession.
    • Providing marijuana to minors, or making it accessible to minors is illegal.
  • You can be charged with DUI (Driving Under the Influence) for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana (NRS 484C.110) on a public roadway
    • You may be charged and convicted of DUI if you have consumed marijuana to any degree, however slight, that renders you incapable of safely driving or having actual physical control of the vehicle.
    • In Nevada, you are per se above the “legal limit” for marijuana while driving if a blood test properly taken shows that you have an amount equal to or greater than 2 ng/ml of marijuana or 5 ng/ml of marijuana metabolite (or a urine test properly taken shows you have an amount equal to or greater than 10 ng/ml of marijuana or 15 ng/ml of marijuana metabolite) in your system.  This is a similar concept to getting a DUI for having above a .08 blood alcohol content.  Even if you are driving “safely,” it is still illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of the vehicle with these levels.
    • Marijuana metabolite is a chemical your body produces after you have consumed marijuana.  Depending on how much and how often you consume marijuana, the metabolite can stay in your system at levels over the per se amount for several days or even weeks.  For example, I have seen individuals who are regular marijuana smokers have blood test results showing metabolite levels near or above 200 ng/ml, which is well above the legal limit of 5 ng/ml.
    • Although research shows that the metabolite levels don’t indicate sobriety or intoxication, the law in Nevada still criminalizes driving with metabolite levels outside a certain range.
    • What this means is that it is possible for a person to be charged and convicted of a marijuana DUI in Nevada even if the person has not recently consumed marijuana and is no longer “high.”
  • Employers can still drug test you and, depending on their policy, you could get in trouble and/or fired for testing positive for marijuana
  • If you are on probation or have an open court case, you should be careful to find out if possession or consumption of marijuana could violate the Court’s orders.  Even though recreational marijuana is legal, courts can still prohibit you from possessing or using it in some situations (like they can with alcohol).
  • Landlords, HOA’s, etc. can further regulate marijuana
  • Municipalities can further regulate marijuana
  • Possession of marijuana is still illegal under federal law
  • Convictions related to marijuana could have a negative impact on things like immigration, obtaining federal student aid, and obtaining employment

It’s easy to get excited about the new legal status of marijuana in Nevada, but it’s also important to know your rights and the law. As you can see, legalizing marijuana doesn’t mean you can legally possess or use marijuana whenever and however you want.

If you are charged with a crime, please contact Anderlik Law, Chtd. for a free consultation.  We have experience in defending clients in cases related to marijuana and other drug possession, sale, and DUIs, and we can help you with your case.

The above post is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation of all laws and legal implications and is not legal advice.  No lawyer/client relationship is created by reading this post.

Domestic Violence Not Guilty Verdict – 9/11/17

The Alleged Crime:  My client was charged with one count of Battery Domestic Violence, a misdemeanor.

The Evidence:  The alleged victim claimed that his then-girlfriend struck him.

The Trial:  After cross-examination of the alleged victim, I was able to show that his testimony was not credible.  There were no other witnesses presented at trial.

The Outcome:  My client was found not guilty of all charges.