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New York Criminal Defense Law Blog

Driver found with cocaine and marijuna at accident scene

New York police took a driver into custody after an accident that took place in Harrison on April 7. Troopers were sent to the scene of the crash on Interstate 684 at about 5:30 that morning. An investigation determined that the driver had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. However, there were no details given as to what caused investigators to come to that conclusion.

The man was found to be in possession of 32 grams of cocaine and about 2.3 grams of marijuana. More than $3,500 in cash was also found during the investigation at the scene of the crash. The 30-year-old driver was taken to Westchester County Jail without bail after being arraigned at Rye Brook Court. He faces charges of a misdemeanor count of DWI and a marijuana possession violation. Furthermore, he was charged with a third-degree felony count of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

How illegal drugs affect driving abilities

Alcohol is not the only substance that can significantly impair your driving ability. Using illegal drugs makes it dangerous to operate a vehicle and may lead to serious criminal charges, especially if there is an accident that results in injury or death. 

According to a recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20 percent of motorists test positive for drugs. Here is how some illicit drugs may impact your ability to drive safely.

Officers bust large New York drug ring on Long Island

Law enforcement officers announced that they busted a large drug ring that was operating in Suffolk County. The bust happened during the weekend of March 23 through March 25 and was conducted by Suffolk County police.

According to reports, four locations were raided by the police. The officers recovered $362,000, 475 grams of heroin, 3,250 grams of cocaine, 400 grams of crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia. They also seized four handguns. The District Attorney's office stated that a 50-year-old Middle Island man was the ringleader. Both he and a 31-year-old Bronx man were taken into custody and charged with being major drug traffickers.

Six arrested for drug crimes

In New York, a single charge of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute can carry serious consequences. Six individuals were taken into custody by the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office in March on multiple counts of possession with intent.

According to the Saratoga County sheriff, an arrest made by the sheriff's office led to the largest seizure of illegal narcotics in the county's history. The seizure stemmed from a series of arrests made at two homes in the town of Quaker Springs. According to the Sheriff's office, the six individuals had varying roles in dealing cocaine and marijuana throughout the Capital Region.

Drug possession penalties in New York can be serious

New York, like other U.S. states and countries around the world, has a range of criminal penalties for the possession of illegal drugs classified as controlled substances in state law. The type and severity of the penalty often depend on the specific drug a person is accused of possessing as well as the amount in their possession and any previous record of convictions on the same charge. Depending on these factors, people could face felony or misdemeanor charges that carry an array of penalties, from fines to jail or prison time.

Like all states, New York sets its own penalties for drug crimes, including possession charges. This means that penalties can vary from state to state, sometimes substantially. State law governs the majority of possession cases; while federal drug charges are not uncommon, they are more frequently related to allegations of distribution or manufacturing rather than simple possession. Perhaps marijuana possession charges most strongly illustrate the ongoing debate across the country about how to handle drug cases; many states, including New York, have decriminalized marijuana possession for personal use.

New York men face drug charges

On March 7 around 2:15 a.m., troopers in LaGrange made a traffic stop of two men, ages 28 and 32, driving a 2006 Nissan. Law enforcement reported that they smelled marijuana when talking to the driver.

On a more thorough inspection, troopers claim to have found $1,800 in currency, around 3 grams of marijuana, more than 200 grams of heroin and about 17 grams of crack cocaine. The men were taken into custody.

Understanding marijuana charges is important for New Yorkers

The legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana has been a hot topic across the country for the past several years. Many states have legalized cannabis for recreational smoking and “edibles,” and some of those that have not, do allow certain people to purchase and use the drug to relieve pain and other symptoms of serious medical conditions. However, New York continues to have some of the strictest laws in the country regarding cannabis use. If you understand the basics of marijuana laws in New York, you may avoid potentially serious criminal charges.

New York lawmakers have, for the most part, decriminalized the use of small amounts of marijuana, according to the cannabis rights group Norml. The state permits medical marijuana and strictly regulates it. This does not mean you will avoid trouble if law enforcement catches you with a few grams of pot. You could face a $100 fine for your first offense being found with 25 grams or less of cannabis. Subsequent offenses carry higher penalties, which may not surprise you. Possessing between 25 grams and eight ounces or growing any amount of marijuana raises your charges to a misdemeanor.

3 taken into custody on drug-related charges

Three New York residents were detained on Feb. 23 as part of a two-month drug investigation in Umadilla. A 35-year old man and another man and a woman, both 27, were charged with two misdemeanors related to drug paraphernalia and felony counts of first- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. They were also charged with second-degree possession of marijuana.

The New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, uniformed state troopers and a state police Special Operations Response Team all participated in the search of a residence that led to the people being taken into custody. Police found 15 pounds of processed marijuana, 11 ounces of concentrated cannabis and 11 ounces of cocaine.

Men charged with cocaine possession after arrest

Two men in New York were jailed in February after being arrested on drug charges related to cocaine. In the town of Southpoirt, where the New York State Police's Community Narcotics Enforcement Team joined with two more special police forces carried out a raid and investigation into narcotics distribution on Caton Avenue in the town. There, two men from Elmira were accused of possession of approximately 13 grams of cocaine.

At the residence, detectives conducting a search and seizure reportedly confiscated the 13 grams of cocaine in addition to drug paraphernalia, a 2005 Mercedes-Benz vehicle and $3,771 in U.S. currency. The two men, aged 31 and 26, are facing misdemeanor and felony drug charges. They were accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree. The possession charge is a class B felony while the paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor. The two men were brought to town court and sent to the Chemung County Jail; the 31-year-old was denied bail while the 26-year old was given a bail order of $25,000 cash or a $50,000 bond.

County program for 1st time DWI could prevent criminal record

People from all walks of life in New York get caught driving while intoxicated, but, in Broome County, first-time offenders have an opportunity to avoid a criminal record. The district attorney's office has started an alternative program that involves an ankle or wrist monitor that checks defendants for alcohol consumption for 90 days. In addition to monitoring, people would receive alcohol counseling and attend victim impact panels.

A person who successfully completes the program and abstains from alcohol for 90 days could qualify for an exemption from the DWI misdemeanor charge. The prosecutor would apply a lesser charge of driving with impaired ability. A local defense attorney commenting on the program said it provides people who have never been in trouble with the law before a fair way to keep a criminal conviction off of their records.

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