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Newport Legal Blog

Opioid addiction help urged

Rhode Island residents who are arrested for and charged with drug crimes understandably may be concerned about the penalties they may face if they are ultimately convicted of the offenses. In addition to criminal or legal consequences, however, many people must also struggle with the problems associated with serious addictions to substances. In recent years, there has been a growing amount of pressure across the country to tackle the issues relating to opioid addiction.

Opioids are pain medications that require prescriptions to obtain. However, many street drugs have emerged as some efforts to curb the prescribing of these medications increased once the addiction problem became obvious. The President of the United States has a Committee on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. This committee published a report that is urging for the President to declare a national state of emergency to give the country more ability to provide help to people who are addicted to these drugs.

Speeding tickets, running red lights and the law

Oftentimes, pressing situations can tempt drivers to accelerate at speeds well beyond posted speed limits. Despite such demanding situations, the law requires drivers to obey speeding signs and follow through with court procedures when they show neglect to such signs. Rhode Island has its own set of traffic violations, including speeding regulations to ensure safety on the road.

The State of Rhode Island General Assembly offers online links to Chapters 31-14 Speed Restrictions. In the section titled "reasonable and prudent speeds," restrictions hold that no person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable, noting that all drivers must take heed of such guidelines and understand the potential hazards on the road. Such regulations can help drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians or other conveyance on or entering the highway. The restriction details close with reference to violations and the potential fines of speeding. Of course, there are a number of other factors involved when determining a traffic violation, but it is important to understand such restrictions and know drivers' rights concerning speeding tickets.

Installing an ignition interlock device to get a hardship license

Drunk driving in Rhode Island can bring various penalties that may have a significant impact on your life. From your personal freedom to your right to drive, you may find it beneficial to confront these charges in the hopes of mitigating some of these penalties. 

One of these penalties may be the loss of your driving privileges. This could affect your ability to drive to school, work and transport your kids. However, it may be possible to secure a hardship license upon installation of an ignition interlock device. It may be beneficial to better understand these devices and your potential requirement to have one installed in your vehicle.

The outlook of marijuana laws

A highly controversial topic that has only gained traction over recent years, cannabis laws in America are ever-changing and researched continually. Marijuana is still seen as a Schedule I drug according to the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, but is more recently exempt from such laws due to its various uses in some states. Rhode Island was one of the states on the East Coast that contained marijuana legalization measures on the ballot for the November 2016 election.

 

Possession of a knife can implicate weapons violations

Firearms are not the only kind of weapons addressed under Rhode Island’s weapons violations laws. Rhode Island has a robust set of criminal laws designed to curb violence by restricting the possession or carrying of various weapons. While most people are aware of the existence of stringent laws regarding firearms, many may be less familiar with the prohibitions on other weapons as well.

According to Rhode Island’s criminal offense law found under § 11-47-42, the mere possession of various non-firearm type weapons may result in a criminal charge. The type of items prohibited include, among other weapons, a blackjack, slingshot, stun gun and metal knuckles. It also prohibits the concealed carrying of blades over 3 inches long. One does not need to have any intent to do harm to be in violation of the law. In this law, the length of the blade is a critical element to the crime.

What is the eye field sobriety test?

If you or someone you know has been charged with a driving under the influence offense in Rhode Island, it will be important for you to fully understand the arrest and criminal defense process. Once you have been stopped by an officer for whatever reason, you may be asked to take certain tests if that officer suspects that you may be impaired by drugs or alcohol. These tests do not and cannot prove that you are intoxicated. However, they can provide legal support for an officer to place you under arrest for a DUI. 

According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved three specific tests to be used for the purposes of investigating a potential impaired driving offense. One of these is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Some people call it the eye test. This is because a nystagmus is a specific type of motion similar to a jerk that the eyeball naturally makes. This motion is totally involuntary and unable to be controlled by a person.

White collar crime search warrants

Many in Rhode Island associate the word "crime" with violence, but financial crimes carry their own consequences and may affect many people who are strangers. According to The Atlantic, the term "white collar crime" was coined in 1939 by a criminologist who believed illegal acts committed by professionals deserved special attention. Typically having to do with money, white collar crime often refers to embezzlement, wire or bank fraud, tax evasion or insider trading, among other charges. 

Although white collar crimes are often of interest to the public, the prosecution of these crimes has decreased dramatically in recent years. Experts say that in 1995 there were almost 11,000 white collar criminal cases, in 2016 that number was only around 6,000 cases. One challenge in prosecuting the crimes, as the New York Times reports, is that finding evidence can be difficult because often times law enforcement officers are not entirely sure what to look for.

Two drivers fail field tests and charged with DUI

Rhode Island residents who may be preparing for a fun holiday weekend as the Fourth of July approaches should remember that the state's laws on drunk driving are tough and penalties may have long-lasting effects on their lives. Two drivers are learning this firsthand today after they were recently arrested for and charged with suspected driving under the influence in Westerly.

Reports indicate that a man drove over a center island and in an opposing lane of traffic in the area near the Westerly library. An officer is said to have witnessed the erratic driving and pulled the man over. Field sobriety tests were not passed and two different breath tests returned breath alcohol content levels of 0.298 and 0.322 percent. The defendant is 57 years old and has been released from custody on a bond until his next court appearance.

You're headed for gun court if charged with weapons crimes here

If you want to incite a contentious debate among residents of the United States, a likely way to do so is to broach the topic of gun control wherever two or more people are present. In fact, it's probably one of the most controversial subjects in the nation after being a central focus of the most recent presidential election. The U.S. Constitution protects your right to keep and bear arms. Although such rights may not be infringed, the law of the land does not entirely prohibit firearms regulation.

Most weapons regulations are determined at the state level of government. Laws vary in every state; therefore, if you plan to buy, sell or carry a firearm in Rhode Island or across state lines, you'll want to clarify all laws governing such matters to avoid problems.

Golfer's arrest shines light on drugged driving

Many across Rhode Island and across the nation have heard of the DUI arrest of famed golfer, Tiger Woods, that happened near his home in Florida at the end of May. Woods blew a .000 on his Breathalyzer, according to The Atlantic, but issued a statement saying his erratic driving was due to “an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications."

With his arrest, Woods has become the face of a problem plaguing people across the nation: drugged driving. Americans drivers who die in a car crash are now more likely to have had drugs, not alcohol, in their systems at the time of death. This is a clear reversal in recent years. As recently as 2005 alcohol was involved in 41 percent of fatal crashes, compared to 28 percent for drugs. A 2015 report puts those numbers at 37 percent for alcohol and 43 percent for drugs.

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