New Ask-A-Lawyer Column!
Jay Brockman

New Ask-A-Lawyer Column!

Fans of the AMC drama Breaking Bad are familiar with Saul Goodman, the ethically-challenged, pretend-Jewish lawyer whose oft-repeated jingle advises potential clients to "Better Call Saul!" So with apologies to comedian Bob Odendirk, we present our latest, newest Navel Gazing column . . . Better Call Glew!

Unlike Goodman, Christopher Glew is a real attorney--and a highly ethical one, too! Specifically, he's a criminal defense lawyer who focuses on drug crimes, specifically marijuana. He's even got his own "Marijuana Lawyer" blog.

Each Thursday, Glew will answer questions from readers--see the first two after the jump!
What is the deal with this "legal untraceable cocaine and mushrooms" ads I have been seeing. Will I get arrested if I call the number and order some with my card? Since when has legal cocaine and mushrooms been so readily available?

Cocaine and psilocybin mushrooms are illegal under state and federal law. Therefore, under no circumstance is it legal to possess or distribute these items and as such it is highly deceptive to even use the phrase "legal" in connection with mushrooms or cocaine. However, many less-than-scrupulous companies take advantage of the current drug laws by staying a few molecules ahead of currently banned substances by creating compounds that are similar enough in look and potentially affect on the user to merit a high demand while remaining legal.

The biggest question is how dangerous these new products might be. It's possible that many of these products are even more dangerous than the illegal substances they are meant to replace. From a legal perspective it is also very dangerous to purchase these products. The problem is that unless you have a lawyer research the specific compound to make sure it is not a banned substance under state law or federal law, you cannot be certain that it is in fact legal.

Just because the ad claims the product is legal is certainly no guarantee. Remember it is your freedom and your record that will be negatively impacted if the ad is wrong. If you choose to purchase products from any of these companies I would encourage you to ask the company representative if they will pay your legal fees if you are arrested.

My friend is a police officer and he told me that if I ever get pulled over for DUI I should not blow into their machine.Is this true?

It is important to know that there are two separate instances for administration of a breath test during the course of a DUI investigation. All California drivers must submit to a chemical test upon demand of law enforcement once you've been arrested. But there's another kind of test--the so-called "Preliminary Alcohol Screening" or PAS test.

The PAS device is a handheld instrument that law enforcement utilizes to detect the presence of breath alcohol. It's known to be unreliable and if you haven't been arrested yet, you're not under any legal obligation to submit to it. At this initial stage the officer is attempting to generate probable cause to arrest you. If you assist by consenting to the PAS screening then you are merely helping them find probable cause.

The reason you should submit to the breath test after arrest is that if you don't, you can lose your license for one year on a first DUI. If you had simply submitted to the breath or blood test then the maximum you could lose your license for is six months on a first DUI. You're also eligible to receive a restricted license after thirty days if you did not refuse the chemical test.

Your friend should have made sure you understood that there are two potential breath tests and distinguished between the two. My conclusion is that your "friend" either isn't the smartest cop on the block, or he's just trying to make it easier to bust you!

Send all your questions (marijuana-related or not) to Glew at Remember: Better Call Glew!

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