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By:  Webb Law Intern Kayla Estes

Is Marijuana Legal Under Federal Law?

Marijuana is currently illegal under federal law. Federal law divides each drug into a “schedule” classification according to its properties. Schedule I drugs include almost all illegal drugs, while Schedule V drugs are the least addicting, such as some cough medicines. Schedule I drugs carry the most severe punishments under federal law.

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Maine’s Move Over Law: Safety for Police Officers and Safety for You

Saco and Portland Maine Criminal Lawyer Katherine Campbell

By: Maine Criminal Defense Attorney Katherine M. Campbell

It is well known that when you see an emergency vehicle driving up behind you with its lights or siren activated, you pull over. But one important law that many motorists fail to follow is Maine’s “Move Over” law which also requires you to move over when an emergency vehicle is stationary on the side of the road.

Maine OUI Field Sobriety Tests

When you are stopped and the officer suspects impairment, they will utilize field sobriety tests to determine possible impairment due to alcohol or drugs. Your performance on these field sobriety tests is used by the officer to develop probable cause for arrest and as evidence in court.

Standardized Tests Versus Non-Standardized Tests

A wide variety of field sobriety tests exist and range in terms of reliability and weight if used in court. There are three standardized tests that are meant to be done identically by every officer to yield the most accurate results. There are also many more non-standardized tests that hold less evidentiary weight, but still can be used by an officer. The three standardized tests are Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, and One Leg Stand.

OUI

Everyone knows someone that has gotten an OUI. And if you don’t know of anyone, a friend of a friend likely has.

To give you an idea, in 2016, there were 8594 arrests relating to driving under the influence. This does not mean convictions of any crimes.

Getting pulled over for an OUI can happen relatively easily, and unfortunately, most often, you are guilty until proven innocent. And the way to prove your innocence can also condemn you in a court of law.

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oui maine

Operating under the influence (OUI) is a charge known as DUI in other states, which tends to be the more recognized acronym.

Being charged with an OUI means that you were driving or trying to operate a vehicle (that’s any motorized vehicle) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For an OUI in Maine, the legal limit for alcohol in your blood or breath is 0.08%. If you’re over this, you can be charged with an OUI.

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Maine Lawyers Katie Campbell and John Webb

Revised September 20, 2019 by John Webb and Katie Campbell

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The Difference Between Sexual Assault and Rape Charges

If you have been charged with sex crime charges, you need to understand the allegations so your criminal law attorney can respond (on your behalf) accordingly. The first thing to do is not talk to any police investigator without legal representation by an experienced sex crimes attorney. Only those convicted will be placed on the registered sex offender list.

Police manipulate breath testing devices (breath alcohol machine) by controlling the way people blow into them. Usually, police officers tell a person taking an alcohol breath test to take a deep breath and to blow into the machine as long as possible. During the test the officers will encourage this by telling the test subject to “blow, blow, blow” until the person runs out of breath. The alcohol breath test results then produce a falsely high number.

The blow alcohol tester machines are designed to estimate your blood alcohol content or BAC by measuring your breath alcohol. To do this the machines must use certain assumptions about your temperature, blood particulate levels, and several other factors.

By far the most important factor is temperature. Henry’s Law says that the concentration of a substance contained in the gas found in the headspace over a liquid is directly proportional to the temperature at the point of exchange. In breath testing terms this means that the warmer your lungs are, the more alcohol will be in your breath, regardless of the concentration of alcohol in your blood.

DUI Marijuana Laws in MaineEven if you are not stoned, you can lose your license in Maine if you are convicted of DUI marijuana, also known as DUI weed. Maine drug law says that if there is probable cause to believe you are under the influence of some drug, and you show a positive test for a drug metabolite in your urine or hair tests, your driver’s license will be suspended.

The problem with this marijuana impaired driving law is threefold.

First, probable cause is a very low standard of proof. It isn’t even proof that something is more likely than not, it is a mere suspicion based on observed facts. How little proof is required? The case of State v. Webster, 2000 ME 115, the defendant made an illegal U-turn. When police stopped him he denied any recent drinking, but the officer smelled alcohol on his breath. The officer then gave Webster field sobriety tests which he PASSED. Despite passing the tests, Webster was arrested. His breath tested at a .10% alcohol.

alochol-300x199When I last wrote I discussed whether a warrant was needed for a breath test. I argued that a warrant was needed based on previous Supreme Court cases. I was happy that one judge agreed with me.

Well, a couple of weeks ago the Supreme Court decided North Dakota v. Birchfeld. They held that a breath test was a search, but that a warrant wasn’t needed. The Court basically said a breath test is not particularly intrusive. They concluded it can be done when someone is arrested as a search incident to that arrest. Again, one judge – Justice Sotomayor – agreed with me, that a warrant should be required.

The Court reaffirmed that a warrant is needed for a blood test. They also held that a state cannot make it a crime to refuse a blood test without a warrant because that would penalize people for asserting Fourth Amendment rights when the person insisted on a warrant. Although urine tests were not at issue, they will probably be treated the same way as blood tests, and a warrant will be required. I still think these rules should apply to breath tests, too.

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