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Strong Marijuana Smell Does Not Justify Warrantless Search of Hotel Room.

If a police officer smells marijuana, does that create an exigency exception to the normal requirement of a warrant before a search?  After all, if the officer can smell this, doesn’t that necessarily mean it is burning, so evidence is being destroyed?  If evidence of a crime is being destroyed, isn’t that the type of exigency the “exigency exception” to the warrant requirement How would a judge rule on such a case?  The answer may surprise you.  Click on the following link to read how the evidence was treated -

Eighth Amendment Challenge to Three Strikes Law Fails.

Is a sentence of twenty five years to life fair for a case normally punishable by sixteen months, two years or three years in state prison just because the individual has two prior strikes?  Is it cruel and unusual punishment to give the person a sentence more than eight times longer than the maximum just because he or she has a prior history.  Read the following case summary about a written decision that considered whether the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unsual punishment was violate by California’s Three Strikes Law –

Restitution in Domestic Violence Case Does Not Violate Harvey Rule.

It is very common in criminal cases involving many counts for a defendant to be asked to agree to a “Harvey waiver.”  The judge may briefly explain that this waiver allows the judge to consider the whole case, including facts related to dismissed charges, when deciding on a sentence.  This can become an issue with a probation violation or if a defendant fails to surrender for jail on time or picks up a new case before surrendering to start serving time.  But can a Harvey waiver apply to restitution?  Click on the following article to find out –

Restitution Order in Federal Court Improper When Calling for Immediate Payment.

It is not uncommon for a judge to order restitution and while doing so, feel a bit of scorn toward the defendant.  The defendant also may have negotiated a plea bargain that the judge feels is not fair, but the judge feels he must approve it to resolve the case because a trial could tie up his or her courtroom for weeks or pose other unique issues the judge really does not want to deal with.  What if the judge, in federal court, orders that restitution be paid immediately?  Is this legal?  Click on the following article to read the answer –

What is a Critical Needs Restricted License?

It is very common for my office to hear a DUI client protest that the DMV cannot suspend his or her driver’s license because it is necessary for work, for school or to drive the grandmother to doctor’s appointments.  Many attorneys coldly respond, “well, you should have thought about that before you got drunk and drove.”  This may be true, but is there a special license that one can get when facing such a critical need to drive?  Click on the following article to read about a critical needs restricted license -

Mail Fraud Indictment Sustained for Case Involving Commercial Driver’s Licenses.

What exactly is mail fraud?  Is it using the mail to tell someone they won a millon dollars, but that they must pay a small $149 fee up front to ensure the paperwork is properly handled before the million dollars can be disbursed?  Does there have to always be a defined monetary loss?  Can a government subcontractor defraud the government by helping unqualified people pass a driving test?  Is that mail fraud?  Click on the following article to read more about these issues -  

Felony Hit & Run Charges Involving Injury or Death Often Depends on Willfulness of Conduct

In our experience, hit and run is often a charge that is based upon a minor accident that our client is not even aware of having been involved with, perhaps because the collision is quite minor.  The charge can also be a false charge wherein another driver seeks to name our client as a responsible party for rather significant property damage and even physical injuries, perhaps because our client appears to have insurance (i.e. our client is driving a commercial vehicle).  Sometimes, the other party collides with our client in a parking lot while our client’s car is parked and no one is even in it.  To read more about this offense, click on the following link –


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