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Iowa City Criminal Defense Law Blog

Student financial aid eligibility may be hurt by drug conviction

For over 50 years, federal student aid programs have helped Johnson County residents reach for their dreams through post-secondary education. Without the loan and grant programs available through federal financial aid, college could be out of reach for many. But as many already know, federal financial aid options may be curtailed for those convicted of drug-related offenses. Let's review how a drug-related conviction could interfere with the process of getting student aid.

If a student gets a drug-related conviction while receiving student aid, eligibility may be impacted for receiving aid in subsequent school years. As most students already know, in order to get federal student aid, a student must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. The FAFSA form contains a question asking whether the student has had a drug conviction for an offense committed while receiving federal student aid.

What administrative penalty does Iowa impose for OWI?

In addition to criminal penalties, the state of Iowa also imposes an administrative penalty on those convicted of of operating while intoxicated. The administrative penalty in question is the revocation of the driver's license. If a driver has had their license revoked, they may be able to apply for a temporary restricted license. This blog post will review this administrative penalty and the conditions of a temporary restricted license.

For a driver's first offense, or their first offense in a 12-year period, the driver's license will be suspended for 180 days. For their second offense, or one or more prior revocations in the preceding 12 years, the driver's license will be suspended for one year. If a driver causes personal injury while committing OWI, the driver's license will be revoked for one year in addition to the period of any other revocation. If a driver has a third offense and the court orders license revocation, the license will be revoked for six years. The license will also be revoked for six years if a driver causes the death of another while committing OWI.

We advise and advocate for those accused of felonies

When someone in Iowa City is convicted of a felony, they may expect to face a big fine and a lengthy sentence in prison or on probation. Although these are bad enough, there are other consequences of a felony conviction. These consequences can be as bad as the sentence. Felons have a criminal record that may make it difficult to get a job or a place to live. It can also make it impossible to legally own weapons.

This is because both the state of Iowa and the federal government outlaw the possession of firearms by those convicted of a felony. As we told you a few weeks ago, the state of Iowa prohibits the possession of firearms and many other kinds of weapons by convicted felons. The federal government has a similar prohibition. This can make it impossible for people to enjoy hobbies such as hunting or to do certain jobs that require employees to be armed.

Big brother may be hacking

Federal law enforcement may now hack into a phone, laptop or other electronic devices for many types of sensitive and confidential information. This raises many serious issues about privacy intrusion, taking advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities in electronic devices and software and illegal search and seizure.

Federal agents, through hacking, can also activate the camera and microphone of an electronic device, log keystones or take over its functions. Users of these devices are often unaware that they are under surveillance.

Iowa's drug paraphernalia law

When Iowans think of drug charges, they often conjure images of people who engage in drug possession and distribution. Charges related to these criminal offenses do make up a significant portion of drug crime prosecutions, but they are not the only drug offenses that prosecutors pursue. In fact, there are a plethora of drug charges that can be directed at every part of the drug consumption process, from manufacturing to transportation and use.

One criminal charge that can be levied against an individual is possession of drug paraphernalia. What is drug paraphernalia? Under Iowa law, this phrase has a broad meaning. It encompasses materials, products and equipment that are intentionally used to manufacture, use, test or enhance the effects of narcotics. Under this definition, scales, pill capsules, syringes, pipes and even plastic baggies can be considered drug paraphernalia if it can be shown that an individual was using those items in some sort of drug-related activity.

What is the crime of being a felon in possession of a weapon?

A few years ago in this blog, we described the federal crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm. While it is a federal crime to be in possession of a firearm, it is also a crime under Iowa state law. This blog post will briefly describe the state-level crime of being a felon in possession of a weapon. As you will see, it is broader in scope than the federal law.

First of all, the crime includes possession of not only firearms but offensive weapons and ammunition too. "Offensive weapons" under Iowa law include bombs and "ballistic knives" that shoot the blade like a projectile at a target.

Man faces murder charges based on 39-year-old DNA evidence

As DNA analysis technology progresses and as more people's DNA becomes available to investigators, more and more people will likely find themselves arrested and charged with crimes that happened years and even decades ago. Eastern Iowa residents have been reminded of this fact as prosecutors have filed criminal charges in a homicide case from nearly 40 years ago.

On December 19, officials in Cedar Rapids announced they had made an arrest in the killing of Michelle Martinko, whose body was found in her family's car at the Westdale Mall early in the morning of December 20, 1979. Police said that Martinko had been stabbed a minimum of eight times and had attempted to fight off her killer.

The penalties for marijuana sale and possession in Iowa

The taboo against the use of marijuana seems to be weakening somewhat as various states and countries move to legalize or decriminalize it. Still, pot remains illegal at the federal level and in many states, so using it is not without legal risks. Is marijuana still illegal in Iowa? Generally speaking, it is, but there is a limited medical marijuana exception. This blog post will take a closer look at the legal status of marijuana in the Hawkeye State.

Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive extract found in marijuana plants. In Iowa, patients with intractable epilepsy, and their caregivers, are allowed to possess cannabidiol. Outside of this very limited exception, marijuana possession and sale are against Iowa state law.

Some facts about the crime of embezzlement

It is common in both national new reports and local news reports in Iowa to hear of people accused of the crime of "embezzlement." Usually it involves a person taking money that they are not entitled to take. But, how does embezzlement differ from theft? Our readers should know some specifics about the crime of embezzlement.

Accusations of embezzlement are usually made in an employment, corporate or non-profit setting. This is because embezzlement is defined as the theft of assets by a person in a position of responsibility or trust over the assets. The assets in question could be money, property or both. Embezzlement is usually classified as a white collar crime.

The right approach to a criminal defense strategy

People in Iowa City may believe that criminal defense is the kind of thing that only other people need to worry about. If a person is honest and stays out of trouble, they don't have to worry about such things, right? The truth is, many people find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system unexpectedly. When this happens, it can be very important to have a strong criminal defense strategy.

Not long ago, a previous post here discussed searches and seizures and the rules law enforcement officials must follow in conducting them. If law enforcement officials do not follow the rules and then try to introduce evidence gained from the search and seizure, it may be possible to have the court rule that the evidence is inadmissible. This can happen if the police don't have a proper warrant or if they exceed the scope of the warrant, for example.

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IOWA Association for justice IOWA state bar association NACDL 1958 national association of criminal defense lawyers american association for justice board certified specialist DUI defense law the iowa state bar association


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J. Dean Keegan, Eric D. Tindal & Andrea Mason Attorneys At Law
425 2nd Street South East, Suite 1250
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406

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J. Dean Keegan, Eric D. Tindal & Andrea Mason Attorneys At Law
103 East College Street, Suite 312
Iowa City, IA 52240

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