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Nassau County Criminal Law Blog

What are the different alcohol/drug-related violations?

Like other states, New York takes intoxicated driving very seriously. The penalties for the different alcohol- and drug-related offenses, however, vary widely in severity depending upon a number of different factors, including the amount of alcohol or drugs in the accused person's system and whether or not he or she has prior drug or alcohol convictions.

Someone whose blood alcohol level is determined to be .08 percent or greater may face a DWI, or driving while intoxicated, charge. If the person's BAC is .18 percent or higher, the severity of the charge increases to aggravated driving while intoxicated, which carries much heavier penalties. While the legal limit for alcohol consumption and driving is .08 percent, a driver can be deemed to be impaired by alcohol if their BAC is between .05 percent and .07 percent. Those who are younger than 21, which is the legal age to drink alcohol in the U.S., and who drive with a BAC between .02 percent and .07 percent may be charged under the state's zero-tolerance law.

New York City police charge reality TV star with drunk driving

Police in New York City have reported that reality television star Buddy Valastro was taken into custody in the early morning hours of Nov. 13 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Valastro did not enter a plea to drunk driving charges at an arraignment hearing later in the day, and he was subsequently released. The New Jersey resident shot to fame as the star of the reality television show 'Cake Boss," which follows events at his Hoboken bakery.

According to an NYPD report, the television star's sports car was pulled over by officers after it was observed being driven erratically in Manhattans Hell's Kitchen neighborhood at approximately 12:30 a.m. Officers say that the yellow Chevrolet Corvette was weaving between traffic lanes near 10th Avenue.

2 men arrested on drug charges in New York

Two men in New York were arrested for drug possession after they were pulled over for a routine traffic stop on Nov. 13. State police pulled a pickup truck over on Evergreen Street in Lancaster for failure to use a turn signal and driving with no license plate lamp. A 30-year-old former substitute teacher was driving, and a 20-year-old man was riding as a passenger. According to police, the driver claimed to be a substitute teacher and wrestling coach at Rush-Henrietta School District.

Records show that the driver worked for the district at least a month before this incident occurred. The district claims that the driver was employed as a junior varsity coach up until the previous year, and then as a substitute teacher on occasion. Following the incident, the district informed local reporters that the man is no longer included on their list of substitutes. Both the driver and passenger were charged with drug possession and intent to sell.

NY troopers allege man tried to eat BAC results

A man who had already been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated reportedly was arrested on additional charges after he reportedly attempted to eat his Breathalyzer results. According to state troopers, the incident occurred at the state police barracks located in Tarrytown on Nov. 2.

According to reports, officers had stopped the man while he was driving on Interstate 95 around 5:30 a.m. The troopers originally pulled him over for allegedly speeding. When they began talking with the man, they believed he was possibly intoxicated and placed him under arrest.

New York police say man tried to eat DWI test results

State authorities reported that a man tried to eat the results of his drunk-driving test after police detained him for allegedly speeding on Nov. 2. According to the New York State Police, troopers stopped the 40-year-old man at about 5:30 a.m. on Interstate 95 and took him into custody after determining that he was impaired.

While in custody at the Tarrytown police barracks, the man tried to eat the result of a breath test that was emerging from a printer, troopers allege. Besides drunk-driving charges, the man also faces charges for criminal tampering and obstructing a government administration. Reportedly, the 40-year-old man is from Connecticut.

DWI penalties in New York

In the state of New York, there are a number of different charges associated with drunk driving. For example, someone driving with a blood alcohol content of at least .18 percent may be charged with aggravated DWI. Even if a driver's BAC is less than .08 percent, a driver may still be charged with driving while ability impaired by alcohol. An impaired driver under the age of 21 could be charged under the Zero Tolerance Law if his or her BAC is between .02 and .07 percent.

The severity of the penalties may depend upon the offense and if the person has prior DWI convictions. For example, someone who was charged with his or her first DWI may face a maximum of one year in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine. A second DWI offense carries a maximum jail sentence of four years and a $5,000 fine. A third offense increases the maximum jail penalty to seven years, and an individual could face up to $10,000 in fines.

Man accused of running drug website to be transferred to New York

According to authorities, a 26-year-old computer programmer was taken into police custody in San Francisco on Nov. 5 on suspicion of resurrecting a website known for selling illegal drugs. The site was initially shut down in October 2013 and was allegedly resurrected by the 26-year-old man in December 2013.

Operating on the Tor network, the website sold false identities and computer hacking services in addition to illegal drugs, according to officials. This network allows individuals to create hidden websites that make tracking users extremely difficult. Many of these websites purportedly use Bitcoin, which allows users to pay for items anonymously.

Weapon laws in New York

New York residents may benefit from learning more about the state laws prohibiting the use of dangerous weapons as described in Section 265.35. People caught using a dangerous weapon to hunt within city limits may be charged with a class-A misdemeanor. Several other scenarios described in the section could lead to someone receiving a class-A misdemeanor for a weapons offense.

According to New York statutes, people who discharge a firearm as a part of their official duty or for the sake of self-defense may not be penalized by law. Otherwise, anyone else who willingly fills an air gun, firearm, missile or throws some other type of dangerous weapon in public, or anywhere that can endanger another person, may be charged with a class-A misdemeanor if no injury or death ensues. This include anywhere within a quarter mile of a school or similar institution with authorized instructors.

New York's drug treatment courts

In some cases, individuals charged on drug offenses in New York may be eligible to participate in drug treatment court, which is a drug diversion program. Reportedly, there are 146 courts operating in the state, and they permit certain non-violent drug offenders to have their charges reduced in exchange for participating in court-supervised drug treatment programs.

The basic concept behind the drug treatment courts began in 1989, when jurists in Miami noticed that there was a positive correlation between drug addiction and criminal drug charges. Policymakers created drug diversion programs with the hope that law enforcement officials, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and drug treatment specialists would work together to fight the root cause of drug-related crimes. As of Aug. 1, 2014, there have been 85,415 people in New York accepted into these programs through drug treatment courts, reportedly.

New York teen faces DWI charges after accident with school bus

Ontario County Sheriff's deputies detained a 17-year-old driver on suspicion of DWI after an Oct. 15 accident involving a Penn Yan School District bus. The incident occurred at about 4 p.m., just after the teen's vehicle purportedly ran a stop sign at the Phelps intersection of Trimble Road and State Route 488.

According to law enforcement officials, the teen's car struck the school bus, which was carrying a girls' soccer team to a game in Clifton Springs. Emergency medical personnel evaluated the bus' occupants at the scene of the crash. Reportedly, there were 21 girls traveling on the bus at the time of the incident, and emergency personnel transported three of them to a Clifton Springs hospital for precautionary measures.