Category Archives: Blog

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Arrested in Gwinnett County for Marijuana Possession

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Being arrested can be a frightening experience, especially the first time.  For many people young and old, their first encounter with going to jail comes following an arrest for possession of marijuana (referred to in Georgia as a Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act or VGCSA).  Individuals arrested in Gwinnett County generally will end up at the Gwinnett County Detention Center located off GA 316 at 2900 University Parkway in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  A list of active inmates at the jail can be found by clicking here.  The phone number of the jail is (770) 619-6500.

Despite laws around the country legalizing the use of marijuana under varying circumstances, the use of marijuana remains illegal in most situations in Georgia.  House Bill 1 was passed by the 2015-2016 Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal.  This law allows for very limited use of cannabis oil by individuals suffering from very serious medical conditions.  Other than those exceptions, the use of marijuana for recreational purposes remains outlawed.

So, you or a loved one has been arrested for possession of marijuana in Gwinnett County and want to know what happens next.  For county cases, you will likely be required to appear first in the Gwinnett County Recorders Court.  It is possible the case will be heard in the Gwinnett County State Court, or the Gwinnett County Superior Court for felony charges.

The Hernan Law Firm can assist you in identifying whether or not you have defenses to the charge.  For example: (i) you were not actually in possession of marijuana, (ii) the substance was not properly handled or tested, or (iii) the search that resulted in the discovery of the marijuana was illegal.  The weakness or strength of the evidence plays a key role in the negotiation of the case with the prosecutor.  During a free consultation with Jamie Hernan of the Hernan Law Firm, you or your loved one can discuss the many options and potential outcomes for your case.

Pre-Trial Diversion

For many first time offenders, a pre-trial diversion program may be an option.  With a pre-trial diversion program, individuals are given certain conditions to meet in exchange for a dismissal of the charge and restriction of their criminal history (formerly referred to as expungement in Georgia and discussed in more detail below).

Conditional Discharge by Statute

If you or your loved one has been previously convicted of an offense or completed a diversion program, the pre-trial diversion program will likely not be an option; however, you or your loved one may be eligible for a statutory program based on Georgia Code section 16-13-2.  That provision of the law allows a court, in its discretion, to conditionally discharge drug offenses or nonviolent property offenses that are related to an individual’s addiction to a controlled substance or alcohol. A conditional discharge under this provision generally involves a plea of guilty which is withheld by the judge while the individual meets the condition of their sentence.  If they successfully complete the terms of the sentence, the case is discharged without adjudication of guilt.  Please note that a conditional discharge may have serious immigration consequences even if the case is ultimately discharged.

Georgia’s First Offender Statute

If a pre-trial diversion program or a plea pursuant to OCGA 16-13-2 are not options, Georgia’s first offender statute may be considered.  Normally, this statute is used by individuals charged with a felony; however, it may be used on certain misdemeanors including drug offenses.  Georgia Code section 42-8-62 allows for the discharge without adjudication of guilt of a felony charge (or misdemeanor) for individuals who have never before been convicted of a felony.  Judges have the discretion to grant first offender status or deny it.  Many judges will discourage the use of the first offender statute on a misdemeanor charge because once it has been used it can never be used again.

Criminal History

If you or your loved one was fingerprinted in connection with the charge of marijuana possession, the charge will immediately show up on your criminal history as an arrest; however, no disposition will be posted until the case is resolved.  If you were given a citation but not arrested, the charge will not appear on your criminal history until you are convicted or otherwise required to get fingerprinted in connection with the case.  If the case is dismissed and you or your loved one is eligible for record restriction, the process is supposed to occur automatically and the law requires the prosecuting agency to submit evidence of the eligibility for record restriction to the Georgia Crime Information Center that oversees criminal histories in Georgia.

 

Call The Hernan Law Firm right now at (678) 275-4000 if you or a loved one were arrested for possession of marijuana in Gwinnett County, or anywhere in Georgia.

We look forward to serving you and delivering justice in your case.  

 

Important Disclaimer: The information provided in this message was based on information available at the time of its posting and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed at any later time.  Nothing contained herein should be considered by you to be specific legal advice.  For advice regarding your specific case, please contact the Hernan Law Firm at (678) 275-4000.  No attorney-client privilege is created by the posting of this message or your use of this website.  In order to engage the services of the Hernan Law Firm, a written engagement agreement must be signed by both you and Jamie B. Hernan.

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The Hernan Law Firm to open second office in Lawrenceville in Summer 2015

In order to expand its service offerings and accessibility to clients throughout Metro Atlanta, the Hernan Law Firm will be opening a second office in Lawrenceville in Summer 2015.  Please call our office at (678) 275-4000 for more information, and please check back at our website for announcements of the official opening date.  The Roswell office will remain open and will serve as the firm’s main office with the Lawrenceville office serving as a satellite office for the convenience of our clients.


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President Obama to make announcement on executive action on immigration on Thursday, November 20 2014 at 8:00pm

The President has indicated that he will make a long awaited announcement on his plan to address the broken immigration system on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 8:00pm.  Information about the plan will be posted upon its release at www.hernanfirm.com and www.deferredactionplan.com.


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Injured in a Car Accident in Roswell, Alpharetta or Milton

Were you or a loved one injured in an automobile accident in Roswell, Alpharetta, or Milton or the surrounding areas?  Immediately following an accident, it can be difficult to focus and determine what to do next.

Additional Resources available from the Hernan Law Firm for victims of auto accidents (coming soon):

  • What to do at the scene of the accident?
  • To Go or Not To Go (Treatment at the Emergency Room Following an Accident)
  • Information to Gather from the At Fault Driver
  • Demonstrative Evidence (Pictures, videos and more)
  • Don’t Forget the Witnesses
  • Gaps in Medical Treatment
  • Obtaining Copies of Medical Records

For loved ones, sometimes it can involve a frantic search to locate the hospital or other medical facility where a family member or friend was taken.  The following list includes some of the area hospital where individuals may be taken following an accident in Roswell, an accident in Alpharetta or an accident in Milton or the surrounding areas.  Note that Grady Memorial Hospital is the closest Level I trauma center and North Fulton Hospital is rated as a Level II trauma center (as is Children’s Healthcare in the pediatric field).  Click here for more information on trauma center designations.

Hospitals Serving Accident Victims in Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton

North Fulton Hospital
3000 Hospital Boulevard
Roswell, Georgia 30075
Level II Trauma Center
Telephone: (770) 751-2500
Emergency Room: (770) 751-2555
 
Northside Hospital – Atlanta
1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
Telephone: (404) 851-8000
 
St. Joseph’s Hospital
5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30342
Telephone: (678) 843-7001
Maps and Directions
 
Grady Memorial Hospital
80 Jesse Hill Jr Dr SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Telephone: (404) 616-1000
Level I Trauma Center – (More on Level I Trauma Centers)
 
PEDIATRIC
 
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Scottish Rite
1001 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342-1605
Telephone: (404) 785-5252
 

The following list includes some of the area chiropractors.  For more information on chiropractic care, please click here.

Chiropractors in Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton

Sweet Apple Health Group
11040 Crabapple Road, Suite B
Roswell, Georgia 30075
Telephone: (770) 645-9595
 
Absolute Chiropractic & Wellness
45 W Crossville Rd #503
Roswell, GA 30075
Telephone: (770) 587-2616
 
The following list includes some of the area orthopaedic doctors.

Orthopaedic Facilities in Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton

Resurgens Orthopaedics
1285 Hembree Road, Suite 200-A
Roswell, GA 30076
Telephone: (770) 475-2710
 
 
* Note: The information contained in this post is provided as a public service and neither constitutes legal advice nor an endorsement of or by any of the providers listed on this page.

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Approvals come through for Deferred Action petitions

USCIS has finally begun to issue approvals of the deferred action petitions filed beginning in August 2012, including for many clients of the Hernan Law Firm.  Early applicants have been receiving approval notices over the last month or two, as well as their employment authorization cards.

For more information about the deferred action for childhood arrivals process, please call the Hernan Law Firm today at (678) 275-4000 for a free, no obligation consultation.  Also, feel free to use the Make an Appointment link above to set up a consultation with attorney Jamie Hernan.  Also, visit www.hernanfirm.com/immigration or http://www.deferredactionplan.com/.


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USCIS announces final rule to allow for provisional waiver process supporting family unity

On January 2, 2013, USCIS announced the long awaited posting of the final rules for the provisional waiver process, a sensible solution to a component of immigration law that caused families to be separated during the petition process for immediate relatives (spouses, parents and children) who had entered the United States without inspection. Because of the beneficiary’s status and method of entry into the United States, the former process would require that they leave the country and apply for a waiver of their inadmissibility caused by such status. That could result in immediate relatives being separated from their families for extremely long periods of time, even as much as ten years. Under the process proposed early in 2012 and outlined with today’s announcement, the immediate relative will be able to apply for that waiver of inadmissibility while in the United States. While they still must depart the United States to obtain their visa through a consular process, if approved for the provisional waiver they would depart the country with the comfort and knowledge that they will be granted reentry promptly.

To be approved for a provisional waiver, the applicant must show that their immediate relative will suffer extreme hardship if they are not allowed to reenter the United States.

In other words, an individual who was previously unable to petition for their spouse, parent or child out of fear that their loved one would be forced to be out of the country for an extended period of time may now apply for a waiver of the bar to reentering the United States as part of the petition process. Once the beneficiary has an approved provisional waiver, they will be able to depart the United States knowing that the United States government has waived their inadmissibilty based on their method of entry into the United States.

It is important to note that this process not only makes sense for the important purpose of maintaining family unity, it will also likely be much less expensive for USCIS and the State Department to be able to have the waiver process handled from within the United States rather than at consular outposts around the world. Further, the final rules state that any increase in processing costs will be offset by fees charged to applicants.

Applicants will be required to file a new form (I-601A) to seek the provisional waiver. The process will be effective March 4, 2013.

For more information about the provisional waiver process, call the Hernan Law Firm at (678) 275-4000 for a free, no obligation consultation, or visit www.hernanfirm.com/immigration.


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How will criminal history affect application or eligibility for the deferred action for young people process?

Applicants for the newly announced Deferred Action for Young People process will not be eligible if they have ever been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor (defined further below), three or more misdemeanors or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

What constitutes a significant misdemeanor?

According to USCIS:

For the purposes of this process, a significant misdemeanor is a misdemeanor as defined by federal law (specifically, one for which the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is one year or less but greater than five days) and that meets the following criteria:

  1. Regardless of the sentence imposed, is an offense of domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation; burglary; unlawful possession or use of a firearm; drug distribution or trafficking; or, driving under the influence; or,
  2. If not an offense listed above, is one for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of more than 90 days. The sentence must involve time to be served in custody, and therefore does not include a suspended sentence.

The time in custody does not include any time served beyond the sentence for the criminal offense based on a state or local law enforcement agency honoring a detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Notwithstanding the above, the decision whether to defer action in a particular case is an individualized, discretionary one that is made taking into account the totality of the circumstances. Therefore, the absence of the criminal history outlined above, or its presence, is not necessarily determinative, but is a factor to be considered in the unreviewable exercise of discretion. DHS retains the discretion to determine that an individual does not warrant deferred action on the basis of a single criminal offense for which the individual was sentenced to time in custody of 90 days or less.

To communicate directly with Attorney Jamie Hernan regarding the Deferred Action Process, contact the Hernan Law Firm at (678) 275-4000 or click on the “Make an Appointment” tab on this website.


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Information Submitted in Request for Deferred Action Plan – Can it be used for immigration enforcement purposes?

One of the main concerns regarding the Deferred Action Process for Young People is whether or not individuals that are not currently in removal proceedings could be subjecting themselves to possible immigration enforcement actions by submitting their information to USCIS. Because deferred action is a discretionary form of relief that can be revoked at any time, many young people are worried that submitting their information creates more risk than the reward of possibly being granted deferred action.

On August 3, 2012, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it maintains the right to exercise its discretion in determining whether or not it is appropriate to refer applicants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In announcing their policy on this issue, USCIS has stated:

“If your request for consideration of deferred action
for childhood arrivals is denied, USCIS will apply its
policy guidance governing the referral of cases to U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the
issuance of Notices to Appear (NTA). If your case does
not involve a criminal offense, fraud, or a threat to
national security or public safety, your case will not be
referred to ICE for purposes of removal proceedings
except if DHS determines there are exceptional
circumstances.”

– “I Am a Young Person Who Arrived in the Unites States as a Child” – USCIS Brochure


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USCIS (Immigration) announces more detail about the Deferred Action Process for Young People

US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced more details today regarding the Deferred Action for Young People process.

Application forms will be made available through USCIS on August 15, 2012. Any petition filed prior to that date seeking deferred action under the new policy will be rejected.

The total filing fee for the process will be $465. This will include the cost for the application for a employment authorization document.

To be eligible, applicants must:

1. Have been born after June 15, 1981;

2. Arrived in the United States before the age of 16;

3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007 up to the present time;

4. Been present in the United States on June 15, 2012;

5. Entered the United States without inspection before June 15, 2012 or had lawful immigration status that was expired as of June 15, 2012;

6. Be currently in school, graduated or received a certificate of completion from high school, obtained a general eductional development certificate (GED) or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or US Armed Forces,

7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and

8. Be at least 15 years of age at the time of filing, if they have never been in removal proceedings or if their case was terminated before your request.


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New Application Forms for Deferred Action Requests from Young People to be Release on August 15, 2012

The forms to request consideration of deferred action and employment authorization for young people who entered the United States as a child will be released by US Citizenship and Immigration Services on August 15, 2012. A link to these forms will be provided in the “Forms” section of this website.

DO NOT SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF DEFERRED ACTION BEFORE THE FORMS HAVE BEEN RELEASED. Any request submitted prior to August 15, 2012, or using the wrong forms, will be rejected.

To communicate directly with Attorney Jamie Hernan regarding the Deferred Action Process, contact the Hernan Law Firm at (678) 275-4000 or click on the “Make an Appointment” tab on this website.


To set up a free consultation, call (678) 275-4000 or click this button.