Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Court-house-300x200How COVID-19 Has Changed Our Legal System

It’s been a year since Covid-19 caused so many changes in our everyday life.  Let’s face it – the COVID-19 pandemic will leave its mark on the world forever, long after the virus itself has been dealt with. Vaccines are rolling out and everything is opening back up, but many things will never be quite the same. Certain industries have risen to new heights while others may never recover, working from home has become easier than ever before, and cleanliness has become a public standard. Naturally, the rise of the ‘new normal’ has affected our court system as well. Non-essential hearings and state jury trials may be back, but Georgia’s courts may still be changed forever.

You can choose not to go to the store, but you cannot opt out of appearing before a judge. Naturally, when the pandemic hit, our court system had to adapt and change to remain operational. The use of video technology has become widespread, filing documents electronically has become easier than ever, and it is now possible to fill out many legal documents entirely online. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you have questions about how these new developments could affect your own court case.

Tongue-300x200Does Smoking Marijuana Really Turn Your Tongue Green?

March 17 is Saint Patrick’s Day – a day of parades, pubs, and partying for both Americans of Irish descent and those without a drop of Irish in them at all. It’s a day where festivities abound, everyone is invited to have a good time, and everything is green! Green is everywhere you look on Saint Patrick’s day – green beer, green shamrock decor, and of course, you can’t forget the green most everyone is wearing. And if your tongue is as green as everything else on Saint Patrick’s Day, that definitely means you must have been smoking marijuana… right?

Wrong. There are many possible reasons your tongue might be green. Unfortunately, many law enforcement officers believe a green tongue automatically points to pot usage. Because there is no reliable breath test for marijuana, officers will use observations about your appearance and behavior as probable cause to arrest you for driving while high, and yes, this includes the myth of cannabis turning your tongue green. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana and see how our attorneys can help you with your case.

A Pandemic in a Pandemic: COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

It’s a sad but true fact – shelter-in-place orders may have been meant to protect Americans from the novel coronavirus pandemic, but they have inadvertently put many victims of domestic abuse in even more danger. Studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic has made domestic violence more common and more severe than ever before. Fortunately, if you are facing domestic abuse, you do have legal options that can help you. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you are facing family violence and let our attorneys get you the help you deserve.

Domestic violence has increased during the rise of COVID-19 for a number of reasons. An abuser’s isolation tactics can be harder to spot, due to social distancing becoming the norm. Economic hardships can increase tension and make it harder for the victim to leave if their abuser is the sole wage-earner in the household. Restrictions on movement can make it more difficult for a victim to get help and harder for their loved ones to realize something is wrong. This has been and continues to be an incredibly dangerous time for domestic abuse victims.

cannabis-gc54ff7575_180Is It Legal to Grow Hemp in Georgia?

Is it ever acceptable to grow cannabis in Georgia? Yes, as long as you’re growing hemp and not marijuana and as long as you have the right permits. Hemp, a variety of cannabis that is low on THC (a chemical that causes the “high” associated with marijuana) and high on CBD (a chemical that neutralizes THC) is a versatile plant with plenty of potential uses. However, growing hemp was only legalized recently, and you need to make sure you’ve filled out the correct paperwork before you even consider growing your own hemp in Georgia.

As lawmakers push to decriminalize marijuana on a federal level, and the debate over the legal status of cannabis continues to rage on, you may find yourself wondering about the legality of cannabis in Georgia. As a citizen of Georgia, when, if ever are you allowed to legally purchase and consume cannabis? Are CBD and medical marijuana legal in Georgia? What kind of legal penalties will you face if you’re caught with cannabis in Georgia? Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you have any further questions about Georgia’s marijuana laws and how they affect you.

Don’t Get Caught with Your Prescription DrugsPrescription drug charges | Georgia Lawyer Outside of Their Original Container

Let’s face it – for many of us who have to take prescription medication on a daily basis, a seven-day pill organizer is an absolute lifesaver. But while this is a helpful measure to take at home, it’s a risky choice to make while traveling. Under Georgia law, it is illegal to keep your prescription drugs outside of their original container in GA. If you are pulled over, and the police find your prescription medication outside of the bottle it was originally issued in, you will face criminal charges and need the help of a Criminal Defense Attorney. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you are facing a Drugs Not in Original Container charge and see how our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help you.

What are the Penalties for Drugs Not in Original Container?

IMG_38641-300x200Most people know that being caught with even a joint of marijuana by law enforcement can lead to criminal charges in most of Georgia. But even if the police don’t catch you smoking cannabis, you can still be arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana – even if you were not actually high at the time of your arrest. Officers must use their discretion when arresting someone for drugged driving and can make mistakes. On top of that, cannabis can linger in the body for weeks, which can negatively influence your test results and lead to an improper conviction. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, contact the Don Turner Legal Team and see how we can help you.

The Problem with Marijuana DUI Arrests

Georgia law forbids drivers from driving under the influence of any drugs, to the extent that it is less safe to drive or driving with any amount of marijuana in their system. Unlike alcohol, there is no measurable legal limit for cannabis in your system, and you cannot submit to a breath test to prove you were not driving while high. An officer arresting you for driving under the influence of marijuana will be making that arrest based on their observation of your driving performance, your mannerisms, and how well you perform field sobriety tests when pulled over.

IMG_35771Ah, the 1970s – back then, we were doing things totally opposite of what we are “allowed” to do in 2020. Back then, we didn’t worry about personal space, while now, space is the only focus. Right now, anxieties about COVID-19 color our day to day lives, especially when it comes to limiting the spread of the virus. Social distancing has become the new normal – you must maintain a six foot distance from strangers, and don’t even think about sharing a hug with a friend you run into in public. Don’t you wish you could go back to a simpler time, like the 70s? It was a time of free love, peace, and relaxation – and a time when cannabis culture was at its peak. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you have any questions about Georgia’s current cannabis laws.

A Dope Time for Cannabis

Ask anyone who grew up in the 1960s or 1970s, and they will tell you that cannabis culture was at an all-time high. Marijuana was commonly smoked by hippies, people who embraced the values of peace, love, and community. Pop culture influences such as The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Hunter S. Thompson, and Cheech & Chong helped create a new perspective on cannabis and helped to shape the history of marijuana as we know it today. Our troops were returning from Vietnam, and they brought new strains of cannabis back home with them, influencing the marijuana market for years to come.

6245D8B7-1C7D-4D66-81A6-905E850A5D4A-300x188As the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, spreads across the world, families across the globe are being encouraged to practice social distancing as much as possible. This means that schools are being closed and people have been told to self-isolate in their homes. It’s a necessary measure, meant to combat a significant public health emergency. It’s also a measure that could put many children in danger. This April, be aware that cruelty to children is a serious issue, whether a child you know is being abused, or you have been accused of child cruelty. Contact the Don Turner Legal Team if you are facing child cruelty charges.

There has been a noticeable drop in calls to child abuse hotlines in the weeks since social distancing measures were enacted across America. At first glance, this might seem like good news. Unfortunately, many experts believe that this drop in reports of child abuse and neglect is due to children no longer attending school or daycare, keeping them away from teachers, childcare workers, and other adults who have a mandatory duty to report any suspected child abuse.

Research shows that when parents lose their jobs, children can be negatively affected in a variety of ways, including an increase in harsh or neglectful parenting. COVID-19 has caused a wave of unemployment, as businesses are forced to lay off workers due to a staggering loss of revenue, with certain sectors, such as the travel industry, being hit especially hard. In fact, some economists have speculated that the unemployment rate could hit 32 percent due to COVID-19 – worse than the Great Depression’s peak of 24.9 percent.

6dfd6e82-aded-4b39-bd9e-3ca319f86404-300x200Concern over the abuse of opioids has been a public health concern in Georgia for years. From 2010 to 2017, there was a 245% increase of deaths from opioid overdose in Georgia. In fact, two thirds of all drug overdose deaths in Georgia in this time period were attributed to opioid abuse. This problem has been significant enough for President Trump to declare the opioid crisis a public state of emergency.

Much of the legislature surrounding opioid abuse seeks to treat opioid overdoses and make alternatives more available in order to prevent prescription drug abuse. However, a study at the University of Georgia proposes an alternative approach to how we handle the opioid epidemic throughout Georgia and across the United State. Instead of diverting resources towards curbing the use of opioids, the study argues, we should look at a culprit behind opioid addiction – chronic disease.

The term “opioid” specifically refers to a broad class of drugs, including multiple prescription drugs such as morphine, oxycodone, and codeine, and the illegal drug heroin. All of these drugs interact with the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. This dulls the body’s pain signals and emotional responses to pain, diminishing the body’s response to painful stimuli. Opioids also activate pleasure and reward centers in the brain, leading to a feeling of relaxation and euphoria.

broken-heart-syndrome_Blog_Float_RightFebruary 14 is Valentine’s Day, a day created to recognize the importance of the love we hold for one another. For most of us, Valentine’s Day means showing our loved ones how much we care with romantic gestures and well-meant gifts of flowers and chocolate. Sadly, for some people, Valentine’s Day means a brief reprieve from their abusive relationship. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Valentine’s Day is one of three days (alongside Christmas and Thanksgiving) where there is a slight decrease in reports of domestic abuse in the United States. That brief moment of relief is cold comfort for those who are victims of family violence.

Despite the name, family violence does not have to occur between family members. Under Georgia law, family violence is defined as any pattern of deliberately violent and abusive behavior between people in a domestic relationship, committed with the intent of establishing power and control. This includes parents and children, spouses and intimate partners, and roommates or housemates. There does not have to be physical abuse for an act to count as family violence either – if someone subjects a person fitting one of the above categories to emotional abuse, threatens to hurt them, stalks them, or deliberately damages their property, they can also be charged with family violence.

Despite the slight downtick in reports of domestic violence this Valentine’s Day, there are still bound to be lovers’ quarrels. These arguments can escalate into a domestic disturbance… and the situation might not be perfectly cut and dry. It takes two to tango, and there are unique circumstances leading to every incident. For example, you might be trying to get away from an argument with a partner that turned physical or fighting back against a spouse who attacked you first. Unfortunately, this might not save you from being charged with family violence if the police are called to your house.

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