DUI, Drugs & Driving

DUI & Drug Trafficking Cases In Ohio

March 18th, 2014

drug traffickingMore and more, we are seeing an increase in drug trafficking cases.  The Ohio State Highway Patrol has become much more aggressive in using a traffic stop as a pretense to do an extensive search for illegal drugs.  These stops frequently turn a minor traffic violation case into a trafficking, distribution or possession of drugs case.  We expect more of these cases as the Ohio State Highway Patrol begins implementation of the Drug Recognition Expert protocol.

The analysis of a drug trafficking case is very similar to the approach we take to an impaired driving case.  What that means is that we deconstruct each and every decision that the officer makes.  Was there proper justification for the traffic stop? Did the officer have reasonable and articulable suspicion to continue the detention to conduct a drug trafficking or possession investigation?  Did the officer conduct an illegal search of your person and/or vehicle? Did the officer’s actions, based on a totality of the circumstances, establish probable cause for a drug trafficking arrest?  Was the evidence handled or tested properly?  Can the government establish a proper chain of custody for the evidence?  Our mission is to get your case thrown out! We act aggressively to keep you out of jail, keep your fines low and protect your freedom.

We have a great track record of defending drug trafficking, distribution, possession and other drug charges.  We know how to seek treatment in lieu of conviction and how to minimize penalties. We also have a track record consistent with fighting these charges.  For the past five years we have been the chosen team to represent Miami Valley N.O.R.M.L.  We speak, we advocate and we defend.

If you are facing a drug trafficking charge in the Miami Valley, call Charles M. Rowland II for a free consultation at (937) 318-1384.  If you need assistance after hours, please call the 24-7 Hotline at (937) 776-2671.

Possession of a Controlled Substance: Drug Possession Laws

March 3rd, 2014

drug possession

Drug Possession, a.k.a. Possession of a controlled substance is defined in Ohio as knowingly obtaining, possessing or using a controlled substance under the Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11.  As applied to marijuana, possession of less than 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces), giving 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person, or growing less than 100 grams of marijuana are each considered  “minor misdemeanors,” punishable by a maximum fine of $150. A minor misdemeanor is not a “jailable” offense, but a person’s driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from six months to five years, and a conviction on a person’s record can have far-reaching effects when it comes to job prospects and housing. Possession of marijuana is still a very serious charge in Ohio despite the national movements to legalize and/or decriminalize marijuana possession.  In fact, we have seen a dramatic increase in drug possession enforcement by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Under R.C. 3719.41, controlled substances in Ohio are classified into five schedules, ranging from the most serious drugs with the harshest penalties to the least serious drugs with the least harsh penalties.  Many are surprised to learn that marijuana is considered as a Schedule I (the highest) drug.  As such, drug possession involving marijuana is a very serious offense.

  • Schedule I – These substances have a high potential for abuse by users and no known or accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples of controlled substances in this category are marijuana, mescaline, morphine, peyote and psilocyn.
  • Schedule II – These substances have a high potential for abuse, but may have limited accepted medical use in the United States. Examples in this category include codeine, methadone and GHB.
  • Schedule III – These substances have some potential for abuse and accepted medical uses in the United States. Controlled substances in this schedule include anabolic steroids, ketamine and barbituric acid.
  • Schedule IV – These substances have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs and have known medical uses in the United States. Common examples in this schedule can include Xanax, Valium and the generic versions of these types of drugs.
  • Schedule V – Substances in this schedule have the least likelihood for abuse and are commonly used for medical treatment in the United States. Examples in this schedule can include medications with small amounts of narcotics.

Possessing an illegal drug in Ohio is punishable as a state offense, federal offense or both. Controlled substances or drugs can include medications with a prescription, medications without a prescription, street drugs, illegal drugs, natural substances and chemicals.  Because “drug possession” is a required element of the offense, if the prosecution is unable to prove the alleged offender had either actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance, they will most likely be unable to convict the offender.

The analysis of a drug possession investigation is very similar to the approach we take to an impaired driving case.  What that means is that we deconstruct each and every decision that the officer makes.  Was there proper justification for the traffic stop? Did the officer have reasonable and articulable suspicion to continue the detention to conduct a drug investigation?  Did the officer conduct an illegal search of your person and/or vehicle? Did the officer’s actions, based on a totality of the circumstances, establish probable cause for a drug possession arrest?  Was the evidence handled or tested properly?  Can the government establish a proper chain of custody for the evidence?  Our mission is to get your case thrown out! We act aggressively to keep you out of jail, keep your fines low and protect your freedom.

We have a great track record of defending drug trafficking, distribution, possession and other drug charges.  We know how to seek treatment in lieu of conviction and how to minimize penalties. We also have a track record consistent with fighting these charges.  For the past five years we have been the chosen team to represent Miami Valley N.O.R.M.L.  We speak, we advocate and we defend.

If you are facing a drug possession charge in the Miami Valley, call Charles M. Rowland II for a free consultation at (937) 318-1384.  If you need assistance after hours, please call the 24-7 Hotline at (937) 776-2671.

 

 

 

Alcohol Is A Central Nervous System Depressant

February 18th, 2014

central nervous system depressantAlcohol is classified as a Central Nervous System Depressant for its effects on the human body.  It is listed as such for purposes of DUI investigations in the 2013 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (hereinafter NHTSA) “DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing” Participant Guide. See NHTSA, HS 178 R5/13.  CNS Depressant type drugs (see below) slow down the operations of the brain, and usually depress the heartbeat, respiration, and many other processes controlled by the brain. The most familiar and ubiquitous Central Nervous System Depressant is alcohol.

Other Depressants of the Central Nervous System include:

• Barbiturates (such as Secobarbital (Seconal), and Pentobarbital (Luminal))
• Non-Barbiturates (GHB-gamma-hydroxybutyrate and Soma)
• Anti-Anxiety Tranquilizers (Such as Valium, Librium, Xanax, and Rohpynol)
• Anti-Depressants (such as Prozac and Elavil)
• Muscle relaxants and many other drugs (Soma)

Depressant drugs usually are taken orally, in the form of pills, capsules, liquids, etc.  In general, people under the influence of any CNS Depressant drugs look and act like people under the influence of alcohol.  General indicators of Central Nervous System Depressant include, but are not limited to the following types of behaviors:

• “Drunken” behavior and appearance
• Uncoordinated
• Drowsy
• Sluggish
• Disoriented
• Thick, slurred speech

Eye indicators of Central Nervous System Depressant influence are:

• Horizontal gaze nystagmus usually will be present
• Vertical nystagmus may be present (with high doses)
• Pupil size usually will not be effected, except that Methaqualone and Soma may cause pupil dilation

Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can emailCharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

Central Nervous System Depressant information and other city-specific info at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

The Erosion of the Fourth Amendment

January 9th, 2014

Fourth AmendmentThe Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was a response to the British government’s abuse of writs of assistance.  These writs served as a general type of search power allowing British soldiers to go onto any property without cause.  Any place could be searched at the whim of the holder, and searchers were not responsible for any damage they caused, thereby putting anyone who held such a writ above the law.  The Fourth Amendment engrained a unique principle of free people that a person’s home and property were beyond the scope of government officials unless a judicially approved warrant was issued.  Furthermore, no warrant could issue unless it was supported by probable cause.  The Fourth Amendment also encapsulated the idea of the “Castle Doctrine” (that was symbolically adopted in the Third Amendment), limiting the government’s ability to oppress its citizens property and land.  Sir Edward Coke, in Semayne’s case (1604), famously stated: “The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose.” Semayne’s Case acknowledged that the King did not have unbridled authority to intrude on his subjects’ dwellings but recognized that government agents were permitted to conduct searches and seizures under certain conditions when their purpose was lawful and a warrant had been obtained.

The United States Supreme Court enforced the principles of the Fourth Amendment via the “exclusionary rule.”  That rule made evidence obtained without a proper warrant inadmissible against the defendant at a criminal trial.  See Weeks v. United States (1914), Silverthorne Lumber Co v. United States (1920) and Nardone v. United States (1939).  It is from the Nardone decision that we get Justice Frankfurter’s famous labeling of the evidence as “fruit of the poisonous tree.”  In 1961 the Supreme Court extended the Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule to the States in Mapp v. Ohio (1961).  The Court reasoned that the rule’s function “is to deter—to compel respect for the constitutional guaranty in the only effectively available way—by removing the incentive to disregard it.” See Elkins.

The culture wars of the 1960′s led to a very severe and determined opposition to the Fourth Amendment who wanted to exclude and limit its application.  By the 1980s, critics saw the “War on Drugs”  as a means to an end for such a purpose. Starting in 1974 the Court ruled that grand juries could use illegally obtained evidence in grand jury proceedings. See United States v. Calandra (1974).  The Court reasoned that  ”the damage to that institution from the unprecedented extension of the exclusionary rule outweighs the benefit of any possible incremental deterrent effect.”  The 1980s saw a more bold approach to limiting the Fourth Amendment.  In United States v. Leon, the Court, applying the “good faith” rule, ruled that evidence seized by officers relying in good faith on a warrant was still admissible, even though the warrant was later found to be defective.  INix v. Williams the Court ruled that “fruit of the poisonous tree” evidence could still be introduced if a prosecutor could demonstrate that it would have been an “inevitable discovery” of legitimate investigation. In Segura v. United States, the Court ruled that evidence illegally found without a search warrant is admissible if the evidence is later found and legally seized based on information independent of the illegal search.  The 1990s and 2000s saw further erosion.  Arizona v. Evans (1995) and Herring v. United States (2009), ruled that the exclusionary rule does not apply to evidence found due to negligence regarding a government database, as long as the arresting police officer relied on that database in “good faith” and the negligence was not pervasive. In Davis v. United States (2011), the Court ruled that the exclusionary rule does not apply to a Fourth Amendment violation resulting from a reasonable reliance on binding appellate precedent.

Amie Stepanovich, director of the domestic surveillance project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, offers three ways the government has attempted to erode Fourth Amendment protections.

  1. They’ve worked around it. In 1979, the Supreme Court denied constitutional protection to information voluntarily turned over to third parties. The government argues this permits warrantless collection of, among other things, information about Web visits, phone calls, location, and banking data.
  2. They’ve limited its scope. The Supreme Court has said that Fourth Amendment protections don’t apply in all places or at all times. For example, U.S. borders have become, practically speaking, Constitution-free zones. And the Department of Homeland Security has decided that the border consists of all land and sea boundaries, and extends out for 100 miles, placing the majority of the U.S. population within that region.
  3. They’ve limited its application. The government argues that nothing that occurs in public is actually a search. Public-space surveillance has been traditionally limited by available resources. But new technology like GPS tracking makes it easy to surreptitiously monitor a person’s location and activities in public.
 This author would argue that the only way to regain the ground we have lost is to strengthen the freedoms of the Fourth Amendment in the States.  It will take a 40-year effort to stem the tide.  It will take overcoming the fear of another terrorist attack, the fear of drugs and the fear of each other – but it can be done.  With the vast resources available to the government in this age of surveillance, the Fourth Amendment is more important than ever.

Drugged Driving Defense: The ARIDE Program

December 18th, 2013

drugged drivingDrugged Driving defense attorneys are going to have to learn about the ARIDE program.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ARIDE course is described as a bridge between the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) courses.  ARIDE, which stands for Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, is a 16-hour course that claims to teach officers how to look for signs of drug impairment (drugged driving) during traffic stops.  The SFST program trains officers to identify and assess drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, while the DEC/DRE program provides more advanced training to evaluate suspected drug impairment. The SFST assessment is typically employed at roadside, while an officer trained as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) through the DEC program conducts a 12-step evaluation in a more controlled environment such as a jail or a detention facility.

The drugged driving course begins with a review of the three SFSTs followed by a practice session and then a proficiency exam. The student has two opportunities to properly demonstrate the three tests per NHTSA standards. The student is graded by a qualified NHTSA instructor and a failure to show proficiency within two attempts (if necessary) prohibits the student from continuing on in the ARIDE course.  Once proficiency is shown, the student is introduced to the general concept of “Drugs in the Human Body” and learns about typical ingestion, effects of drugs, observable signs and symptoms of impairment, and then begins the process of learning the seven major drug categories. During this overview the student is briefly introduced to some medical conditions (see session IV, page 8-9). One (1) page of materials out of 98 pages, and about 10 minutes of class time out of 16 hours, is dedicated to the discussion of medical conditions that mimic drug impairment.

Drugged driving is all in the eyes according the ARIDE.  The HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) test is used to confirm the possibility of the presence or absence of certain categories “on board,” as will the subjects pupil size, and the same is said for the Lack Of Convergence (LOC) of the eyes. LOC is simply the inability to cross one’s eyes. However, while it is hailed as a valid and reliable indicator, 40% of the population is naturally unable to converge/cross their eyeballs.  These eye “conditions” or “observations” alone or in combination and their presence or absence are the primary method of identifying any single or multiple drug categories.

The seven categories are:

1. Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

These are substances that slow down the operation of the brain and CNS. Examples are Alcohol, Zanax, Prozac, and GHB

  • HGN is Present
  • Pupils are NORMAL
  • LOC is PRESENT – the eyes cannot be crossed

2. Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants

These are substances that stimulate, or over stimulate the brain and CNS. Examples are Cocaine, Ritalin, and Methamphetamine

  • HGN is NOT Present
  • Pupils are DILATED
  • LOC is NOT PRESENT – eyes can be crossed

3. Hallucinogens

Natural and synthetic substances that impair your ability to perceive reality. Examples are LSD (acid), Peyote, MDMA (ecstasy)

  • HGN is NOT Present
  • Pupils are DILATED
  • LOC is NOT PRESENT – eyes can be crossed

4. Dissociative Anesthetics

The best description of these is PCP and Ketamine (horse tranquilizer).  These were originally developed for use as anesthetics. They are powerful drugs that cause symptoms of both depressants and hallucinogens.

  • HGN is PRESENT
  • Pupils are NORMAL
  • LOC is PRESENT – cannot cross eyes

5. Narcotic Analgesics

Natural and synthetic opiates. Examples are Opium, Morphine, Heroine, Codeine, Demerol, and Methadone. All of these are designed and used for pain relief.

  • HGN is NOT Present
  • Pupils are CONSTRICTED, or pinpoint
  • LOC is NOT PRESENT – can cross

6. Inhalants

These are any number of breathable chemicals or volatile solvents and compounds that are inhaled. Oven cleaner is a particularly dangerous yet common example. While not intended by their manufactures to be used as a drug, they are nevertheless inhaled and produce a high.

  • HGN is PRESENT
  • Pupils are NORMAL
  • LOC is PRESENT – cannot cross eyes

7. Cannabis

The most well known drug category as it includes marijuana, hashish, and a synthetic compound called marinol. Recently, K2, spice, and potpourri are newer synthetic versions.

  • HGN is NOT PRESENT
  • Pupils are DILATED
  • LOC is PRESENT – cannot cross eyes

By the end of 2014, Ohio will have more than 125 DRE officers dedicated to removing drug-impaired drivers from Ohio roadways. Additionally, nearly every sergeant and trooper in the OSHP has received Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training, which provides officers with general knowledge related to drug impairment. ARIDE training is now being provided to all agencies throughout Ohio.

Drugged Driving attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver (and drugged driver) in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

 Find information on defense of drugged driving and other city-specific info at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville