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New York City Criminal Defense Blog

Always fight cocaine charges in New York

No matter what circumstances lead to your cocaine charges, you should and probably do have the right to build a strong legal defense. In the moment, it is not always easy to see how building a defense is even possible, but with careful attention and understanding of the law and the criminal justice system, you almost certainly have more defensive options than you realize.

New York is a strange and beautiful city in many ways, but certainly not a place where you want to face a conviction related to cocaine possession or distribution. While the Big Apple enjoys a reputation as a progressive city in many respects, its law enforcement policies are also world-renowned for their harsh implementation, in many cases.

How many people attend drug court?

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a suspected drug crime in New York, you might want to learn about the state's drug court program. Within the greater New York City area there are multiple drug court programs based in part on geography as well as on area of focus.

According to the New York State Unified Court System's 2016 Drug Court Annual Report, a total of 3,729 people were referred to drug court programs for evaluation in 2016. Of those, 615 entered guilty pleas which enabled them to participate in the drug court. Another 320 people graduated from a drug court in 2016. Between 1998 and 2016, more than 64,000 people were referred to the programs which more than 11,000 taking part.

Batting continues over breathalyzer accuracy

People who are arrested for and charged with driving under the influence offenses in New York often provide breath samples designed to capture and identify their blood alcohol level. This information can then become critical evidence in the case against them. The accuracy of the readings provided by breath test devices is therefore something that is of great importance to prosectors, defense teams and defendants alike.

A debate that has been underway for many years between researchers and one manufacturer of breath tests units appears to still be unresolved and not poised to stop any time soon. At issue are units made by a company from Germany. The units are used by law enforcement teams in multiple states in the U.S. including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Several years ago some researchers in Washington State were allowed to obtain the source code from the German company's units.

What defines different types of theft?

In New York, theft can be defined in a number of different ways. Depending on how much you have been accused of stealing, the total worth of the stolen goods, and the circumstances around the incident, you could be facing charges that you might not initially expect.

FindLaw shows the line that divides theft, robbery and burglary. Robbery, for example, must specifically involve a threat of physical force or fear. If you're being accused of robbery, then it's a combination of stealing or attempting to steal items along with threatening people in order to get those items. Bank robberies are an example of this, with people typically accused of threatening the tellers or other customers in some way.

Proposed law expands state prosecutors’ powers

State lawmakers in New York are working on amending legislation to expand the scope of power granted to prosecutors pursuing charges against individuals who receive a presidential pardon. Under current statutes, a person who receives a presidential pardon for federal crimes may be exempt from prosecution of state laws as well.

Proponents of the change argue that current law impedes the ability of prosecutors in New York to uphold state law, pointing to recent developments surrounding the team of advisors and campaign staff to the Trump administration who face potential jail time for allegedly violating a host of financial regulations. Many in the industry expect President Trump to pardon one or more of the individuals accused of crimes related to his campaign, creating an interesting legal dilemma.

Man released from jail after drunk driving crash

People in New York who are arrested after being involved in a crash in which they were accused of being drunk will no doubt want to know how they might ever be able to defend themselves or move forward with their lives. Certainly a conviction for the involvement in an alleged drunk driving accident can have serious consequences but defendants should not give up on themselves or their futures.

An example can be seen in the case of one man who had come to be referred to as "the affluenza teen". The young man who is now in his early 20s was a mere 16 years old when he is said to have been driving drunk. He ended up hitting four people, all of whom died as a result of their injuries. Another person who was in the vehicle driven by the defendant survived but was seriously injured.

Woman facing charges for alleged sex trafficking

People in New York who find themselves suddenly charged with serious crimes learn quickly the importance of remembering that the criminal justice system provides them with the guaranteed opportunity to be treated fairly and defend themselves. People are to be considered and assumed innocent unless they are proven guilty. Along the way, proper evidence must be provided to prove that supposed guilt. 

One woman who had previously been known for her acting ability and career is now being accused of active involvement in a sex trafficking cult. No details have been released about the evidence used to support her arrest or how long any investigation may have been going on. If she is convicted of the forced labor and sex trafficking consipiracy as well as sex trafficking charges, her prison sentence could last her whole life or be 15 years on the short end for all charges together.

Do you know about New York’s Good Samaritan law?

New York is one of only a few states and cities that use a Good Samaritan law, often simply called "Good Sam." This law provides specific protections to individuals who experience an overdose of an illegal substance as well as those who witness someone overdosing.

The purpose of the law is to offer those in need of immediate medical attention the freedom to contact police or medical services by calling 911 without fear of getting arrested in the aftermath.

Defining theft of services

Say the word "theft" in New York City, and most would give as examples a person swiping another's purse or wallet, or breaking into a home to steal all of its valuables. In reality, there are actually many different forms of theft, some of which many may not perceive to be stealing, yet can still leave those accused of them facing serious criminal penalties. 

For example, obtaining any sort of normally compensable benefit without paying is referred to as "theft of services." Section 165.15 of New York's Penal Laws defines theft of services as one willfully and knowingly: 

  • Using a stolen debit or credit card to pay for a service
  • Refusing or attempting to avoid paying for a meal at a restaurant
  • Refusing or attempting to avoid paying for transportation costs
  • Gaining access to a movie, concert or theater performance without paying
  • Using the business resources of another with no intention of providing compensation
  • Utilizing electronic services without paying 

Can you be arrested for prescription drug abuse?

When New York residents think about drug charges, you likely think about illegal drugs. But did you know that you can even be arrested for abusing legal prescription drugs? Neil S. Ruskin, attorney at law, is here to help if you're facing prescription drug-related charges and their subsequent penalties.

Several legal drugs are known for their addictive side-effects, causing people like you to become dependent on them and take them even if you no longer need them. This can include medications like:

  • Percocet
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone

visa, mastercard, American Express, discover.