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With the number of states that have passed recreational marijuana laws, the need to detect stoned drivers has increased. Technology companies have come to the rescue, creating devices to detect whether an individual has recently smoked or ingested marijuana. While the devices are still undergoing testing, one researcher, who happens to be a volunteer officer, has begun field testing.

Like the alcohol breathalyzers that are commonplace, the marijuana breathalyzer detects the active ingredient, THC, in an individual’s breath. Based on the reading provided, an officer will be able to tell if a person has recently ingested or smoked marijuana. However, unlike alcohol, where there have been countless studies regarding the point of impairment, the research in regards to marijuana is lacking.

Perfectly reasonable laws can sometimes lead to some wacky lawsuits. Usually, it's due to some lawyer with a novel theory on how to apply the law. Recently, a Pennsylvania judge dismissed one such wacky lawsuit against the Sands Casino.

Basically, a Pennsylvania man sued the casino claiming that he suffered damages because he was convicted of battering his fiance there. He claimed that the casino was at fault for serving him too much alcohol. Fortunately, the judge in the case wasn't having any of that nonsense.

While many heads across the country are still spinning after Tuesday’s results, voters in four states will be able to slow their roll with some legal marijuana. California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine all legalized marijuana for recreational use by adults, but there are some limits to be aware of. For example, it will still be illegal for minors to use recreational marijuana and it will be illegal to drive with under the influence. And the penalties violating these rules won’t just be a slap on the wrist, either.

Is Arson Always a Felony?

One of the hottest areas of criminal law, literally, is arson. Arson is defined as willfully, wrongfully, and unjustifiably setting property on fire, often for the purpose of committing fraud. However, like a fire, in most states, arson is measured in degrees, meaning that not all acts of arson are punished equally.

Generally, if a person is injured, or the value of the property destroyed exceeds a few hundred dollars, arson will be charged as a felony. However, because of the deadly potential of fire, if a person dies, a defendant could be facing felony murder charges on top of felony arson charges.

Can I Hack My Own Phone?

For the next two years, it is completely legal to hack the devices you own. While there are some restrictions, the revisions to the DMCA that took effect last month effectively mean that you cannot be prosecuted for reverse engineering a device you own. The law is temporary and will expire in two years, unless law makers act to make it permanent or extend the time period.

While the word "hacker" invokes thoughts of malicious cyber-attacks and identity theft, this isn't always the case. Hackers frequently try to make consumer products better for everybody. Hackers are also notorious for discovering security flaws in consumer goods, including medical devices and even cars.

While parents are regularly and explicitly warned about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome, it is an unfortunate everyday occurrence. According to the New York Department of Health, there are an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 infants shaken every year. One in four shaken infants will die, and 80% of those that don’t die suffer permanent injury.

What makes shaken baby syndrome so tragic is that parents may not mean to harm their infants, but due to their fragile constitution, even a brief shaking can cause irreversible injury and even death. While parents who have had to deal with this diagnosis are usually devastated, the diagnosis usually requires doctors to contact law enforcement, and for law enforcement to investigate if there was criminal wrongdoing.

For decades, illicit drug makers have been attempting to skirt drug laws by altering the chemical composition of illegal drugs in order to change the chemicals that make the drugs illegal. While the new compounds usually do not remain legal for very long after their discovery, the makers just alter the chemical until it is legal again. Over the past few years, two synthetic drugs, spice and bath salts, have wreaked havoc on their users.

Illicit drugs are generally categorized as synthetic, derivative, or natural. Marijuana, in its plant form, is a natural drug; cocaine, as it is synthesized from a plant is a derivative; and drugs like bath salts, are typically completely synthetic, having been made from mixing synthetic chemical compounds. While synthesized drugs like cocaine, LSD, and ecstasy, are known to be illegal, synthetic drugs, even the unknown and “legal” ones, can still get you arrested.

While having your identification on you in public is generally advisable, there is no law that requires people to carry identification with them when out in public. As such, you cannot be arrested simply for not having your ID on your person. However, there are situations that can lead to arrest if you fail to identify yourself.

Although carrying a government issued ID at all times is not required by law, certain activities do require showing a government issued ID. For instance, purchasing alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, tattoos, or other age restricted items, frequently requires showing a government issued ID to a store clerk, however, failure to show ID will only result in being unable to purchase those item or services, and not in an arrest.

Arrested for Vaping?

There aren't many places left for the cigarette smokers of the world. Pushed out of offices, airplanes, bars, and even some sidewalks, the choice is either to quit or to smoke at home. Or, find something that isn't "smoking." Many new and long-time smokers are turning to vaping instead, in the hopes of circumventing anti-cigarette ordinances.

The question then becomes, what's the difference between smoking and vaping, and can you get in trouble for vaping the same way you can get in trouble for smoking cigarettes?

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a BB gun does not count as a firearm when it comes to a felon-in-possession charge. David Haywood, who was convicted of a felony in 2005, was convicted three years ago for possession of a firearm and sentenced to the mandatory minimum 5 year sentence. Now, his conviction is overturned.

Most states restrict the rights of individuals who have been convicted of a felony when it comes to gun ownership. The ruling by Minnesota's highest court will indeed change the landscape of gun ownership for felons, but only in Minnesota, and only until the legislature responds.