I Crashed a Car and I Didn’t Know My Friend’s Drugs Were in It

Drug possession charges are serious allegations, regardless of whether you are accused of possession of drug paraphernalia or possession of meth. Upon being arrested for actual or constructive possession of a controlled drug, you will likely face felony drug charges.

Misdemeanor charges result only in a few possession situations. A felony conviction could lead to years behind bars, years of probation, costly fines, and when you are free, problems finding employment and moving ahead with your life.

If you did not realize that your roommate’s drugs were in your vehicle but law enforcement has arrested you, it would be advisable to consult a competent attorney as soon as you can. A skilled drug possession lawyer in AL can defend you against these allegations and fight to win the most favorable result in your case.

What is Possession?

A person found with drugs can be charged with actual or constructive possession of drugs. Actual possession takes place when the drugs are on your person, such as in a backpack you are wearing or in your pocket.

Constructive possession implies that drugs were near you and within your control. If you wanted, you could easily access the drugs. The prosecution may claim that you had constructive possession of one or more controlled substances if they were found in your vehicle.

You should consult a drug possession attorney regarding whether the prosecution is claiming that you had actual or constructive possession of drugs. In many cases, prosecutors allege that you had possession of a controlled substance as they were in the vicinity. However, we know that they may have belonged to someone else.

You might be in a friend’s vehicle or a roommate may have brought the controlled substance into your car without you being aware of it. A qualified AL drug possession lawyer can aggressively argue, gather proof, and defend you against charges of constructive possession of a controlled substance.

Misdemeanor or Felony Drug Possession Charge Defense

Upon being accused of possessing illegal substances, you should talk to a drug possession attorney about the most robust defense possible under the circumstances. Depending on the situation, your lawyer may argue:

  • You did not have actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance
  • You lacked awareness that the substance was in your vehicle
  • You were stopped in an unconstitutional manner
  • You were subject to an unconstitutional search and seizure
  • You were subject to unlawful interrogation
  • An incorrect test lead to a false positive for a drug

Drugs Belong to Your Roommate

A strong defense to any crime charge is to simply state that you did not do it. Upon being arrested for drug possession, you can say that the drugs do not belong to you or you weren’t aware of their presence in your vehicle. A seasoned defense lawyer will challenge prosecutors to prove that the substance found in the vehicle belonged to you.

Unconstitutional Search and Seizure

Under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, citizens are guaranteed the right to due process of law, including legal search and seizure before an arrest. Matters related to search and seizure matters are common for defenses pertaining to drug possession.

Controlled substances, found in “plain view,” such as a vehicle’s dashboard after a legal traffic stop, may be seized and used as proof. However, drugs located in a vehicle’s trunk after forcing it open with a crowbar (assuming the suspect did not give permission) cannot be entered into as evidence. In case the Fourth Amendment rights of the defendant were violated, then the drugs cannot be used at trial and the charges are often dropped.

Drug Possession Laws in Alabama

Unless you hold a valid prescription or other authorization, possession of a controlled substance is unlawful. In the state of AL, you commit a Class D felony if you illegally possess a controlled substance in Schedules I through V, or if you use deceit, subterfuge, misrepresentation, or fraud; make changes to a prescription; or provide a false name and address to acquire a precursor chemical or a controlled substance.

In comparison to other controlled substances, marijuana is treated in a distinct way. Under AL law, marijuana possession for personal use only is a Class A misdemeanor. This is called possession of marijuana in the second degree.

If you possess marijuana for something besides personal use, you can be charged with a Class C felony. You could be charged with a Class D felony if you possess marijuana for personal use but have been convicted of a marijuana crime in the past. Talk to a skilled and knowledgeable drug possession lawyer immediately to understand the level of the charge you will face if you are caught with drugs, or if drugs were located in your vehicle.

Contact Experienced Alabama Drug Defense Attorneys

A strong defense is necessary if you have been charged with a narcotics-related crime in AL. Law enforcement makes mistakes, which makes it possible to fight these cases. Sometimes, the evidence is insufficient. In other cases, the stop or arrest was unlawful. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can zero-in on the weaknesses of the case against you and expose them.

The drug possession lawyers at the Zach Peagler Law Firm are well-versed in handling any type of charge pertaining to illegal substances or narcotics. We will fight tirelessly all the way to the jury if you decide to plead “not guilty.” At the same time, we will ensure that you understand your options, allowing you to make the most appropriate choice for yourself. For a no-obligation consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney, call today at (205) 871-9990.

Is it Possible to Expunge My Criminal Record in Alabama?

Do you have a previous arrest that is not only a source of embarrassment for you but is also an impediment in your career? Fortunately, a seasoned criminal defense lawyer can likely get it erased from your criminal records if the charge was resolved favorably and was not a violent felony?


Criminal charges do not automatically get expunged in Alabama, and you must take necessary action. A skilled expungement lawyer will help you in collecting all the records that are required for the petition. Besides, they will assist you in developing the petition to ensure that it is per the law as well as written in a manner that increases your chances for a favorable result. If a hearing is scheduled, your attorney will prepare for it with you, including preparing you for court testimony, if required.


What is Expungement?

Expungement aims to erase a criminal arrest, charge, and prosecution from your record. Under Alabama law, when a case is expunged, the arrest and charge are eliminated from your official criminal history in the state records. Following an expungement, the proceedings on the charges are deemed to never have taken place. Except in specific situations, the court and other agencies must reply to any query that no record exists on the earlier proceedings.


Moreover, the person whose record has been expunged does not have a duty to disclose the record or any matter relating to it, except in limited circumstances. However, the person still must disclose to any government regulatory or licensing agency, any utility and its agents and affiliates, banks, and other financial institutions.


What Types of Criminal Charges can be Expunged?

If one of the below-mentioned criteria is met, a non-felony charge (a traffic violation, a violation, a misdemeanor criminal offense OR a municipal ordinance violation) may be expunged:


  • there was a dismissal of the charge with prejudice
  • the charge was no billed by a grand jury
  • the defendant received a not guilty verdict for the charge
  • the charge was dismissed without prejudice over two years ago and has not been refiled subsequently, and the defendant has not received a conviction for any other misdemeanor or felony crime, any traffic violation, or any violation, besides minor traffic infractions, during the past two years


Expungement of a non-violent felony charge is possible in the following cases:


  • the charge was dismissed with prejudice
  • the charge was no billed by a grand jury
  • dismissal of the charge following the successful completion of a substance abuse court program, mental health program, veteran’s court or any court-approved deferred prosecution program, diversion program AND over one year has elapsed since the successful completion of the program
  • dismissal of the charge without prejudice over five years ago and the charge was not refiled as well as the petitioner has not received a conviction for any other misdemeanor or felony crime, any traffic violation, or any violation, besides minor traffic offenses, during the past five years
  • 90 days have elapsed from the date of dismissal with prejudice, acquittal, no bill or nolle prosequi and the charge has not been refiled subsequently


What does the Process for Filing an Expungement involve under Alabama Law?

A Petition for Expungement is filed in the same jurisdiction where the charge was initially filed. The petition is prepared and filed with the Circuit Court (in the respective jurisdiction), and must include the following:


  • Under the penalty of perjury, a sworn statement made by the individual seeking the expungement that they have upheld the requirements of the Alabama Expungement statute section of the Alabama Code.
  • Must inform whether the person seeking the expungement has applied for an expungement in any jurisdiction in the past.
  • A certified record of arrest, case action, or disposition from the relevant agency for the Court record seeking to be expunged
  • A certified official criminal record acquired from the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.
  • A specific criminal charge description from the record to be considered along with the department or agency where the arrest occurred or where the petitioner was detained or incarcerated.


Legal Assistance in Expungement of Criminal Record by Seasoned Defense Attorney in Alabama

Expungement is an excellent opportunity for you to clear your record. However, it can be a prolonged process, and approval is at the court’s discretion. For this reason, it is of paramount importance to work with a skilled expungement attorney. At the law offices of Zach Peagler, a seasoned Alabama expungement lawyer can help you navigate the complex judicial system.


We can help determine whether your arrest record is eligible for potential expungement and will guide you on the necessary steps for a more successful future. At Zach Peagler law firm, we believe in second chances. For a free case review, call (205) 871-9990 today.


How Does a Criminal Conviction Impact Future Employment?

Making mistakes is an indelible part of the human experience, but for some who have been convicted of a crime, the consequences can last for a lifetime. Sometimes, an impulsive decision can lead to humiliation and loss of freedom on being arrested and incarcerated.


Many people utilize their time in prison to rehabilitate themselves. Jail offers an opportunity to detox for inmates who were on drugs. Many people enroll in reading classes, obtain a GED, or even register for college classes while behind bars with the genuine intention of making their lives better. They fully intend to be honest, law-abiding citizens.


But the ability of such people to rehabilitate themselves is affected by laws or the absence of laws that allow employers to discriminate against people with a criminal record. Often times, these regulations are contrary to the public policy of enabling rehabilitation.


These laws compromise the initiatives of people who want to better their life situation. This dichotomous occurrence has prompted many government agencies to pass laws and implement programs to change this dynamic.


Collateral Consequences on Job Prospects


There are a variety of collateral consequences that a person may face after committing a crime. A common consequence for many people convicted of a crime is that their employment prospects suffer negative effects as employers do not give them a chance after they come to know about their criminal conviction.


Sometimes these consequences are reasonable and backed by a sense of logic. But in other cases, there is less logical reasoning. For instance, preventing someone from getting a job because of some indiscretion they committed several years ago.


Unfortunately, there is no federal law that forbids discrimination on the basis of a criminal record. In fact, it has been found by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and some courts that using a person’s criminal conviction to refuse employment may be classified as a type of racial discrimination.


The reasoning for the above is that the arrest and conviction rates for specific racial groups are disproportionately high, which means that the use of criminal convictions to refuse employment may, in reality, be a way of concealing racial discrimination.


Immediate Termination of Employment


If an employee has been convicted of a crime, particularly a felony, many employers provide for the immediate termination of the convicted employee. In certain cases, such termination is only limited to convictions that are directly related to the position or a felony conviction that highlights to moral issues.


Sometimes a conviction may not directly cause immediate termination, but the employee may lose their job anyway due to time off work during their sentence or while they appear in court to handle their legal matters.


Exclusion from Certain Professions


If a person has a felony conviction, they will be prohibited from working in certain professions. For instance, school districts may not employ such people to teach or undertake other tasks in the district. Registered sex offenders are disallowed from working in any profession that necessitates a check of such registration prior to employment. Union rules may prohibit employing a felon.


If you have been convicted of a felony related to alcohol and substances, transportation companies may not be willing to hire you as a commercial truck operator as you will likely be perceived as a safety concern to driving a large truck. Companies will not be willing to put themselves up for allegations of negligent hiring by knowingly employing a convicted felon.


In cases where a business is willing to hire someone with a criminal record, the insurer would insure the employee at much higher rates, which can further be a roadblock to potential employment.


Background Checks


Before extending the offer letter, many companies perform background checks. Such checks can reveal a possible criminal record of the applicant under consideration. The applicant can typically face termination of employment if they fail to report the conviction on an application.


Clearing a Criminal Record in AL


In the state of Alabama, there are no provisions for the expungement of adult convictions. But it is possible to expunge dismissed.


Misdemeanor and non-violent felony records, which did not lead to a conviction, are usually eligible to be expunged. Such erasure is possible even if the charges were dropped after the successful completion of a diversion program, drug court program, mental health court program, or veteran’s court program.


In addition, Alabama frequently grants pardons. The pardon process to record clearance is a feasible relief option in Alabama, unlike many states.


Legal Assistance from Well-Qualified Criminal Defense Lawyers


The criminal defense lawyers at Zach Peagler Law Firm are highly skilled in the area of pretrial litigation strategies. Our attorneys understand that every case can potentially change the life course of any person facing a criminal lawsuit.


We have a proven and successful track record, and we will have your back throughout the complex judicial process involved in criminal cases. To speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney, call today at (205) 871-9990.


Concussions From Slips And Falls

Today’s topic written by Aaron Crane, an experienced personal injury attorney in Phoenix at Cantor Crane, is a discussion about concussions. A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head, a fall or any other occurrence resulting in jarring or shaking of the brain inside the skull. A person can suffer a concussion without any visible injuries to the face or head.

Those who suffer from concussions don’t always lose consciousness as a result. People can recover from minor concussions within a few hours. More serious concussions may take a few weeks to heal fully. A person who has suffered a concussion will require monitoring by a medical professional.

What Causes a Concussion?

The brain is a soft organ surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid that acts as a cushion against shock or brain damage. Generally, the cerebrospinal fluid prevents the brain from striking the skull. However, if the head or the body receives a hard blow, the brain may crash into the side of the skull and become bruised.
Concussions often occur as the result of:

• Playground injuries
• Automobile accidents
• Slips and falls
• Fights

They can also occur during contact sports such as football and boxing. Hockey, skiing and snowboarding are other common causes of concussions.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim of a concussion may display blatantly obvious symptoms or extremely subtle symptoms. These symptoms can occur immediately or hours and days later. Obvious signs of a concussion include loss of consciousness, vomiting, headache and slurred speech. More subtle symptoms include sensitivity to light and noise, ringing in the ears and changes in taste or smell. Some symptoms may develop over time and include:

• Sleep disturbance
• Amnesia
• Depression
• Irritability

When to Visit ER

The severity of your injury will determine your medical treatment. The Mayo Clinic recommends immediate emergency care if the injured party is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

• Loss of consciousness
• Stumbling
• Clumsiness
• Repeated vomiting
• Severe confusion
• Behavioral changes

If in doubt, always err on the side of caution. If you are unsure whether a person is exhibiting symptoms of a concussion, contact a medical professional immediately.

Multiple Concussions

Concussions are increasingly dangerous if they are experienced multiple times. Having a previous concussion may make you more likely to experience another if you hit your head again. Those who have had multiple concussions over the course of their lives are at an increased risk for long-lasting and potentially permanent impairments as a result of these injuries.

Let Us Help

A concussion can be a life-changing injury and should not be taken lightly. If you think someone else is at fault for your injury, consider contacting an accident injury attorney. An accident injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve after you’ve been wrongfully injured. The medical expenses incurred as the result of a concussion should not be taken lightly. If you or someone you know has suffered a concussion, contact Cantor Crane at (602) 254-2701 or visit our website at www.cantorcrane.com. We look forward to working with you.

Fultondale Man Sentenced After Pleading Guilty In Beating Death Of Elderly Man

Attorney Zach Peagler comments on news item in www.AL.com about a Fultondale man who will serve 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to killing an elderly man by beating him.

This seems to be a very favorable plea for this defendant, who was initially facing a capital murder charge.  If he had been convicted of capital murder, he would have been sentenced to either life without the possibility of parole or sentenced to death.  Additionally, by pleading guilty to the Class B Felony of Manslaughter, he will be eligible for parole in a shorter time frame than if he had pled or been convicted of the Class A Felony, murder. 

With 3 prior felony convictions, I would say this defendant should count himself lucky with this result.  That, most probably is a result of the State’s case being difficult to prove.  From a capital murder standpoint, the State would have had to prove that a murder happened during the course of another felony, namely burglary.  The article mentions that the two men knew each other, making burglary more difficult to prove, particularly if there were no other witnesses.  Additionally, the fact that they were in a dispute may point to the fact that the death was not caused intentionally. 

Danger At Work: After 4 Killed Tuesday In 2 Shootings, Experts Offer Advice On Prevention

Attorney Zach Peagler comments on news item in www.AL.com about an employee at UPS facility, who after killing two of his co-workers killed himself as well.

The tragedy at the UPS facility in Birmingham really hit close to home. This article addresses a serious consequence of the shootings, namely the additional fear and anxiety that results in the survivors of these senseless acts; not just the families but the co-workers and the public in general. The sadness and loss felt by the families of the direct victims is almost unimaginable.

From a legal standpoint, UPS is going to have to take a look at better security at not just this facility, but all of their facilities. I feel certain an internal investigation will be done and reveal inadequacies in various policies and procedures in place at the time of, and leading up to the shooting. Hopefully, these inadequacies can be addressed to prevent future incidents, and educate other businesses on how to better prevent senseless acts of violence such as this one.

If not, and even if so, there may be an outside investigation into these policies and procedures if the families of the victims demand answers on how an armed former employee, with presumably no current credentials, so easily infiltrated a secure facility and shot two former co-workers.