Articles Posted in ALCOHOL / DRUGS

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keep-calm-holidays-are-here.pngHappy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!! From Black Friday to New Years, the holidays and the biggest shopping days of the year are here again. That means that every retail store from Walmart to Kroger are not only trying to lure you in with sales, but they are also beefing up their security. Stores have developed elaborate systems to combat and prevent offenses ranging from credit card and check fraud, counterfeiting and shoplifting, and even pickpocketing and snatch and grab thefts. Undercover operatives roam the aisles and sophisticated camera networks spy on us from above. And where there are holiday parties there is also alcohol, and maybe even drugs. Police make hundreds of alcohol and drug related arrests during these few weeks.
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Thumbnail image for keep_calm_and_call_your_lawyer_tshirts-rd344890ffde24af8924834bf42aa6b30_8naxt_512.jpgThe importance of seeking the advice of a lawyer when you are facing a criminal offense, no matter how insignificant you think it is, can not be overstated. Not long ago i spoke with two people whose recent legal difficulties are a direct result of not hiring an attorney when they faced prior criminal offenses.

Meet Billy. Two years ago, Billy was pulled over in in Dekalb County and consented to a search of his car. The police found a small bag containing less than an ounce of marijuana and he was arrested and taken to jail. Although police officers may take it somewhat easier on you if you cooperate, my advice, generally, is that you should not consent to a search. The State is obligated to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty using evidence that its agents (the police) find and collect. You have no obligation to help them collect the evidence. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution protect us against unreasonable search and seizures and self-incrimination. But once you consent to a search, all bets are off. The police can almost do whatever they want. So don’t consent to a search. Make them do their job.
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House_Party_Rule_1.jpgAround the country, local governments are finding ways to confront and tackle the problem of underage drug and alcohol use. It is against the law for everyone to possess and ingest illegal drugs; and of course is already against the law for people under the age of 21 to drink. But over the last two years local governments have been trending towards extending the liability of underage drinking to children’s parents and/or guardians.

Referred to generally as “party ordinances” or “host ordinances,” these laws are designed to impose criminal penalties against the parents or guardians, or owners, or occupiers of residences where alcohol is knowingly supplied and furnished, and children are allowed to drink it. Two Cobb County cities have jumped on this bandwagon, The City of Austell and The City of Kennesaw. Now, when City of Austell and Kennesaw police officers crash a party, they will arrest all minors for being in possession or consuming alcohol, and they will also charge the people chaperoning the party.

Minors who are arrested for the first time might be entitled to participate in a pre-trial intervention or diversion program. If so, they will generally be required to perform such tasks as community service, get drug and alcohol evaluations, provide clean urine drug and alcohol tests, write statements admitting what happened and what they have learned from the experience, and sometimes to write a statement implicating who hosted the party and supplied them with the alcohol. These programs are important, however, because competing one of these types of programs results in a dismissal of the case and eligibility to have criminal records cleaned. Minors who do not qualify for a diversion program face a host of harsh and unforgiving consequences ranging from probation, fines, community service, and suspension of their driver’s license if they have one.

Georgia law does allow alcohol to be furnished to those under the age of 21 in certain narrow circumstances:
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