Month: September 2018

California Marijuana DUI Laws and Defenses

While it is currently legal in California to enjoy the pleasures of marijuana, there are still several ways in which law enforcement can use pot against you. Today’s narcotics and marijuana possession laws afford Californians little leeway to get high and drive. Let us look at how this drug may cause loss of license, an immediate arrest, and problems that will not go away.

The Current Law

In California, if you are pulled over for suspicious driving or are in an accident that you have caused, the police may have cause to test your blood for marijuana or alcohol. If they find your blood to be over the legal limit, which is 5 ngs (nanograms), or 5 billionths of a gram, of delta-9 THC per milliliter of blood, you can be charged with marijuana DUI. If someone else was seriously injured as a result of an accident, and you are found with more than 5 nanograms of delta-9 THC per milliliter of blood, then you can be charged with vehicular assault.

What if I Refuse a Blood Test?

The police can not coerce you to give up your blood. However, they can charge you under the law as if the test came back positive, which is why refusal should only be done under attorney guidance. Now, some clever folks may be wondering if the Fifth Amendment protects them against self-incrimination. The answer is no. The Fifth Amendment only protects against

incriminating yourself in testimony. It does not apply to DNA tests, blood tests, hair samples, or fingerprints. In other words, you can refuse a blood test, but the police (and very likely the judge) will consider refusal as evidence that you are, in fact, inebriated and are only withholding the evidence for the purpose of hiding that fact.

There is also the chance that the judge will consider this an affront to the execution of justice. They may decide to revoke your driver’s license as a result of your refusal.

Pot stays in your system for 30 days. The fact you smoked 10 days ago may be a defense to your charge. California authorities have developed a blood test to determine how much marijuana is in your system. It is true that marijuana will remain in a hair sample or urine after 30 days. The blood test is designed to determine how much marijuana is in your system at the time the test is given.

Marijuana DUIs in California

To be clear, California treats marijuana the same way it does any intoxicant. Those who are caught driving under the influence are subject to the same penalties as an individual driving under the influence of alcohol. That can include felony charges when an individual has been caught driving under the influence more than twice. It includes felony charges when an individual injures another person while intoxicated.

If you have been charged with marijuana DUI, you will need an attorney who will advocate on your behalf – not just any counsel, but ones who have significant experience with marijuana possession law. You are facing serious charges; therefore, you need legal assistance that is equally serious.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney James E. Blatt helps persons accused of marijuana DUI, with his first goal being dismissal of their case. Contact his office today to retain superior representation in all criminal defense cases.

Immoral Interrogation of Persons Accused of Terrorist Threats

Harsh interrogation’ most recently came to be defined by the Bush administration as enhanced questioning methods used by U.S. government military and intelligence organizations. To many, it is merely a clever and politically correct phrase that cloaks the more ominous connotation of torture, yet this type of persecution dates back to the earliest recordings of human history.

As recently as World War II and the Vietnam War, heinous techniques were used by both allies and combatants to extract information for defense purposes (in fact, the methods were grotesque and frightening). They all called for the infliction of maximum pain and bodily (or emotional) harm as a means to ensure that individuals would supply accurate responses to tactical questions. Today, you will find that persons who purportedly initiate terrorist threats to Americans may undergo similar ‘grilling.’

Since the end of these conflicts, and in light of more recent skirmishes across the globe, many U.S. law enforcement agencies have taken a more voluble stance against the application of any type of physical, mental, or emotional abuse to write an unnecessary narrative. That, of course, includes the immoral debasing of persons accused of terrorist activity.

Are Interrogatory Methods a Political Ploy?

When the use of enhanced interrogation techniques came to the public’s attention, the military and intelligence organizations were quick to point out that they could in no way compare to the final moments of terror that American citizens had suffered as they were flown into the Twin Towers or were left to die horribly as first responders lost their own lives in valiant attempts to save them.

These visions were offered to serve as justification that amounted to nothing more than ‘tit for tat.’ How that translates to today’s use of interrogation in alleged terroristic threats is indicative of which organization is questioning the defendant.

Choosing an Alternative Resolution

Do alternative methods of questioning subjects in such dire matters of national
security exist?

Certainly there are a number of experts in political matters who agree this question merits more attention. However, as the nation awaits this new attitude and transformation, there are those in the military who continue to study the ethical options available to the military in regards to obtaining information from our adversaries.

Defense attorneys have long contended that the unconstitutionality of immoral interrogations extends beyond those who infringe upon our nation. In fact, persons who merely look like they could be terrorists are being treated and interrogated as such. Just like they have been post-9/11.


The use of ‘torture’ in its earlier explanation and the politically correct terminology of ‘enhanced’ interrogation techniques should leave free-thinking citizens wondering where the line is drawn between constitutionality and rationality. With a clear understanding that silence on the matter has been mistaken for approval of the use of callous tactics to garner information, more people are speaking out against inhumanities such as harsh questioning strategies.

For the innocent person interrogated by law enforcement simply by fitting into societal façades of what an anarchist, if you will, should look like, harsh interrogations should be outlawed at all levels of government.
Have you been apprehended for terrorist threats or unfairly questioned or interrogated? Regardless if you are guilty or innocent, these tactics are wrong. Contact our firm today and let us serve justice to those who treated you unfairly.

Defending Credit Card Fraud Charges in California

Like other white collar crimes, credit card fraud involves the unauthorized use of another person’s credit card, whether one has possession of the card or not. Regardless how much was spent, being accused of this crime could have serious residual effects, including loss of gun ownership rights, loss of employment, and extended periods of incarceration.

Defending charges of fraud by credit card takes an in-depth understanding of finance laws, and the willingness to dig deep inside the prosecutor’s case to learn the backstory.

How California Law Defines Credit Card Fraud

California’s evolving Penal Code, specifically Chapter 5, sections 484-502.9 covers the crime of larceny in its many forms. Except for provisions regarding leased property, anyone who ‘carries away another’s property without paying for it’ commits larceny. Let’s concentrate on section 484g, which outlines credit card fraud.

An individual who uses, with the intention to defraud, another’s access card or card information without the cardholder’s express written consent has committed credit card fraud. The charge is escalated to grand theft if the amount exceeds $950 within a six-month period.

The same can be charged if another’s access card is copied or purposely damaged.

How Prosecutors Will Charge the Crime

When persons are simply in possession of stolen credit cards, a litigable offense has occurred even if they have not used the stolen instruments. Prosecutors defend the interests of both the state and victims, and will use whatever evidence is presented to hold persons accountable.

Some credit card offenses are called ‘wobbler’ offenses, meaning either misdemeanors or felonies may be charged. For example, possessing and using expired credit cards may be charged as misdemeanors, whereas actually charging thousands on someone’s credit account may land the perpetrator in prison.

How county prosecutors charge credit card fraud depends on specifics involving the case. Did an individual actually have written permission, but had that permission later recanted by the owner? Did an individual living in California possess someone’s credit card information from Arizona? Many factors determine final charges assessed to the defendant.

How Defense Attorneys Protect Clients

Persons who never intended to defraud or steal another’s credit card information for purposes of egregious spending may have defenses to their alleged crime.

For example, an individual who used expired credit cards to pay for items would lack requisite intent to be held accountable under California law. Same would hold true if mother sent her daughter to purchase groceries, but the cashier felt uneasy about daughter using the card and calls police. While the cashier would be correct in feeling suspicious, no criminal charges would apply since she was granted permission.

Other meritorious defenses may apply to credit card fraud cases, which your attorney can explain to you in further detail.

If Caught With Stolen Credit Cards

It is never suggested one takes another’s credit card. However, if you are caught red-handed, do not volunteer information to law enforcement as they have got enough to arrest you, anyway. Cooperate with their requests, and take note of every detail surrounding your arrest. Small technicalities, like not having the arrest Mirandized, may get charges dismissed.

California’s Penal Code leaves little room to argue. Credit card fraud is serious, as are the punishments that coincide with being found guilty.

Credit card fraud attorney James E. Blatt takes cases with one goal: complete dismissal. If you have been charged with any financial wrongdoing, contact his office immediately by phone, email or scheduling an in-person consultation. Learn about him through his notable cases.

Could California’s Net Neutrality Bill Curb Internet Crimes?

Anyone proactive online since dial-up speeds were popular knows Net Neutrality could mean speeds are reduced for others or increased for persons willing to pay. Advertising expenses would reach almost unaffordable heights for some, while content you have enjoyed before may be impossible to find – if your ISP does not block access to it altogether.

One notion is that with stricter access comes fewer internet crimes. Is that belief ill-conceived, or could having ‘controlled movement’ when accessing various websites actually force people into old school criminal thinking – far easier to control with today’s technology?

Legislators Want Tougher Laws

An internet without rules is undoubtedly grim, and many have experienced this fact firsthand with numerous Facebook live killings, Craigslist murders and abductions, and various other internet crimes and scams. SB-822 specifically addresses broadband internet access service and provisions that would make California the toughest state on Net Neutrality. The bill would dissuade internet service providers (ISPs) from denying access, or speeding up or slowing down video content or websites, or forcing some websites to pay for ‘premium’ speeds.

During the same session, SB-460 inched closer to legislative action, an action lauded by committee members. It would forbid establishments that encroach upon net neutrality rules in SB-822 from being awarded public contracts.

Internet service providers strongly oppose both bills, citing an overreach into what regulations the federal government seek to replace.

Passing These Bills Could Thwart Crime

Most internet crimes, such as fraud and other schemes, are crimes of opportunity. Having the ability to freely access sites across the world provides just enough ammunition for folks who intend to harm one’s financial health. Bank and loan fraud manifests from one’s ability to easily acquire username and password information from black market sites, too.

Given the opportunity, persons with the wrong mindset will capitalize on anyone’s right to access sites with or without parental permission.

Take away one’s ability to access certain websites, and you will neutralize digitally conceived threats of violence and financial malfeasance. However, punishing select groups of law violators hurts the millions that want to access content from a myriad of legitimate mediums.

California politicians will engage in an epic battle to either prevent internet ‘gatekeepers’ from existing altogether, or may have to rethink their strategy to assuage the fears that telecom giants will lose customers in droves.

What Comes Next?

Both SB-822 and SB-460 will hear arguments on the legislative floor this week, with no finite timeline for final approval and enactment. Until something is passed, the current state of internet access will remain unchanged.

Even if something is passed expediently, do not expect internet crimes to curb immediately. Those truly intent on using the internet to perpetuate crimes will find their way around blocks or rules, although having regulation may greatly diminish the number of internet-based crimes committed annually.

Regardless what crimes are committed online, all defendants are innocent unless proof beyond doubt exists to the contrary.

James E. Blatt works all internet crimes cases with one goal – to get all charges dropped. If you have been charged with or are currently being investigated for internet crimes, contact the firm immediately.