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Ronkonkoma woman arrested after call-in from off-duty officer

Witness testimony is a factor in many criminal cases. People claim to have seen something that was allegedly illegal, and prosecutors use witness statements to bring charges against a defendant. One problem with witness testimony is that it isn't always reliable. Among other factors, people's preconceived notions tend to affect their ability to accurately assess particular situations.

With these issues in mind, let's consider the recent arrest of a woman from Ronkonkoma. The outcome of her case remains to be seen, but the circumstances of her arrest remind us of important questions that need to be asked in the defense of anyone accused of a crime.

The woman was pulled over after a 40-year police veteran, off-duty at the time, claimed to have seen her driving erratically. The inspector was in an unmarked vehicle as the alleged traffic offense took place, and the man radioed for someone to check out the situation.

Eventually, the woman was pulled over and arrested, and now she is accused of two counts of seventh-degree drug possession and a third-degree offense of driving on a suspended license.

Everyone should understand that driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous and can result in serious penalties, including jail time and fines. However, the circumstances of every arrest should be carefully scrutinized for mistakes on the part of police and prosecutors.

Incidentally, the woman was also cited for using her cell phone while driving. That action alone could result in so-called erratic driving.

Often, given the circumstances of the arrest, the charges brought against a defendant are excessive. To protect their own rights and freedom, accused individuals should take the necessary steps to mount an aggressive criminal defense. Such a defense will involve a close look at witness statements to determine exactly how they factor into the allegations against the accused.

Source: longisland.com, "Off-Duty Inspector Assists in Arrest of Woman on Drug Charges," March 20, 2014

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Lerner & Lerner, P.C.

Former prosecutors with more than 50 years of combined experience

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