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Nassau County Criminal Defense Law Blog

Protecting your rights during a criminal legal matter

Often when a crime allegedly occurs much of the narrative surrounds the alleged victim. The victim is the person who purportedly suffered the consequences of another person's alleged criminal actions, and in New York and other American jurisdictions the person who allegedly committed the criminal wrongdoing is the defendant. Defendants are often seen as bad individuals even before the facts of their cases are heard due to the allegations prosecutors bring against them.

However, it is often this one-sided understanding of criminal law that leaves criminal defendants at a disadvantage. Just as victims are asked to tell their stories to support the charges that prosecutors lodge against defendants, so too should defendants have the right to explain the circumstances of their charges. Criminal defendants should be reminded that they have rights and are encouraged to put forth their sides of their stories to ensure that their cases are heard fairly and consistently.

5 men facing drug charges

Facing criminal charges, especially serious drug charges, is an uncertain and fearful experience. A group of men from New York are in such a situation after being arrested by police.

In late October, the Chittenango Police Department was made aware of potential narcotics activity in a Chittenango neighborhood. There was a complaint made that narcotics were being sold out of a home. After the police responded to the home, they executed a search warrant and arrested four men. The charges of the men (who were aged between 23 and 44) ranged in scope and included fourth-degree conspiracy, unlawful possession of marijuana, first-degree criminal nuisance, tampering with physical evidence, petit larceny, seventh-degree possession of marijuana and others.

The basics of underage DWI charges in New York

Throughout New York state, there is a zero tolerance policy concerning underage drinking and driving. Young people who are under 21 years old and are caught driving after consuming any amount of alcohol are likely to be charged with underage DWI/DUI under the zero tolerance law. Whether or not they are charged may depend on the prosecutor's reading of the zero tolerance law.

The potential penalties and consequences of an underage DWI charge can include probation, which may threaten the accused individual's ability to leave the state, jail time, fines, community service and increased insurance rates. In addition, an underage DWI charge can have a significant negative impact on an accused individual's personal and professional life and may impact college eligibility, eligibility for scholarships and the accused individual's employment opportunities.

What is a felony charge?

If you have been accused of a crime, you may know that there is a difference between misdemeanor and felony charges but may wonder what that difference is. Felony charges are the most serious type of charges an accused individual can face. Felonies may be divided into classes and penalties associated with a felony charge may vary according to the class of felony charged.

In general, a felony charge is punishable by a year or greater in prison, while a misdemeanor is punishable by a year of less in jail. This is one way to distinguish the more serious felony charge from a less serious misdemeanor charge, however, all criminal charges should be regarded with seriousness. Individuals facing felony charges can also expect to face possible fines associated with the charges in addition to possible jail time.

Can I get my criminal record expunged in New York?

Question: About fifteen years ago, I was involved in a night of youthful indiscretion: I went out drinking with some friends (I was underage), and we ended up stealing a car. We were caught that night (it was a stick shift and we didn’t really know how to drive it.)

My criminal record is causing me all kinds of problems getting jobs and renting an apartment. I heard there is a new law where I can get this record sealed. Does that include the things I did back then?

What is drug trafficking and how serious are the charges?

Drug trafficking charges are unquestionably serious but if you have been charged with them, you may wonder what they entail and what you are facing. Drug trafficking laws make it illegal to sell, transport or import unlawful controlled substances and provide penalties for the sale, transportation and illegal import of unlawful controlled substances. Unlawful controlled substances include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs.

Drug trafficking charges are felony charges which are the most serious charges in the criminal justice system. Sentences for drug distribution charges can be harsh and can range from 3 to 5 years in prison. The sentence the accused individual is facing depends on the situation and circumstances including the amount of drugs involved, the type of drugs involved, the geographic area the drugs were distributed in and whether or not children were targeted by the alleged drug trafficking.

Man faces DWI and other charges following traffic stop

Driving while impaired allegations and charges require a strong criminal defense response. Following a traffic stop in a New York community north of Carle Place, one man is facing DWI and drug charges. According to authorities, two men in the vehicle are facing charges after they were pulled over and were allegedly in possession of drugs and the driver allegedly had a blood alcohol content level triple the legal limit and was driving an unregistered vehicle with stolen license plates.

Authorities reported that they pulled over the 22-year old driver of the vehicle after he allegedly committed several traffic violations. After the traffic stop, the man and his 35-year old passenger are alleged to have been in possession of cocaine. The driver provided a breath sample and his blood alcohol content level was allegedly three times the legal limit.

Understanding juvenile defense rights and options

When a juvenile has been charged with a crime, and is facing serious potential penalties and consequences that go along with the charges, it is important for them and their parents and loved ones to be familiar with their criminal defense rights and options. Both misdemeanor and felony charges can be serious for juveniles and the criminal justice system can be understandably intimidating.

Juvenile defenseresources are important to be familiar with whenever a minor child is facing criminal charges. In New York state, juveniles are prosecuted differently than adults. The aim of the juvenile justice process is to rehabilitate young people, however, juveniles accused of crimes still face significant potential consequences so they should be taken seriously.

Understanding drug charges and penalties in New York

The potential penalties and consequences for drug possession charges in New York are serious which is why accused individuals should be familiar with the elements of the crime of drug possession that must be proved against them to face a conviction for drug charges. It is also important for accused individuals to understand that the prosecution is required to prove the elements of a drug possession crime against the accused individual beyond a reasonable doubt.

The elements of a drug possession charge include that the substance was a controlled substance; the accused individual possessed the controlled substance; the accused individual knowingly possessed the controlled substance; and the possession of the controlled substance was unlawful. Penalties for drug possession in New York range from one and a half years in prison to 20 years in prison and a fine ranging from $15,000 to $100,000.

What is New York's Zero Tolerance Law?

If you have heard of New York's Zero Tolerance Law you may have wondered what and who it refers to. The law applies to drivers under the age of 21 who operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content level of between .02 percent and .07 percent. If an accused individual is pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence and being under the age of 21, they will be required to submit to a breathalyzer test and may be detained for that purpose.

If the accused individual refuses a breathalyzer test, they are subject to having their driver's license suspended for up to one year. Different procedures apply based on the accused individual's blood alcohol content level. If the accused individual's blood alcohol content level is between .02 percent and .07 percent, they will be subject to an administrative hearing. If the accused individual's blood alcohol content level measures at .05 percent to .08 percent or greater than .08 percent, they will be subject to the criminal court process.