Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: New York Ignition Interlock Violations are Crimes

Since 2010 any New York DWI case must have a mandatory court ordered ignition interlock device. The default court order is 12 months but with good behavior (NO violations) you can request that the judge remove after 6 months. What if you are NOT perfect? What if you violate the terms of the ignition interlock device?

What if the county monitor for your interlock decides to violate you?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Is a Drug or Alcohol Problem a Mental Health Problem?

Post traumatic Mental Health Disorders
From The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and
I recently had a client who was upset with their healthcare providers. Their doctors and nurse practitioner were characterizing their drug/alcohol abuse, and the concomitant DWI as a mental health disorder. Many if not most healthcare providers now see alcoholism and drug addiction as a disease much like diabetes or a heart condition.

Is it wrong and/or dangerous to label people struggling with drugs or alcohol with a mental disorder versus a drug/alcohol problem?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: New York Dangers of Possessing Concentrated Cannabis

Hash Oil is Potent
New York State has a special set of laws and regulations for marijuana. In fact, a small quantity of pot  is merely a violation in New York State. It's called UPM (unlawful possession of marijuana) under NY penal law section 220.05 Any amount from resin (yes resin in a pot) to 25 grams is still UPM in New York.

But be mindful that even resin Unlawful Possession can still carry many collateral consequences outside of court like ineligibility for Federal students grants, loans, and aid. What's far worse than garden day variety weed is concentrated marijuana.

How does New York define concentrated cannabis and how is that different than being charged with a Penal law section 221.05 UPM?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Off the Job Marijuana Use Leads to Legal Firing

Quadriplegics Aren't Protected
Under Federal Marijuana Law 
As we all stand witness to both the changing laws and the growth of the marijuana industry I am greatly troubled by all the injustice. But Larry twenty five states have medical marijuana and eight have recreational marijuana, isn't that great progress? Well yes and no because the law is still greatly imbalanced and confusing.

We have no uniformity with what driving while high on THC even means, we have four different standards nationally for driving impaired by THC. We have no uniformity for the medical use and prescription of marijuana amongst the twenty five states legalizing it's use. And we still have Federal law on controlled substances which just this past year has labeled marijuana as Schedule one right next to heroin and LSD. A recent Colorado case highlights just how messed up things still remain.

When a quadriplegic can't use his legalized medical marijuana without punishment well what about the average joe?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Can Your Depression Look Like Impaired Driving?

Antidepressants are CNS Drugs
Depressed People May Look Impaired 
It's a funny thing about depression, it has many of the same symptoms of DWAI drugs (driving while your ability is impaired). Yes it's true, many of the same signs and symptoms of untreated or even under treated depression can be viewed as a driver under the influence (impaired by) of drugs.

If you get pulled over while on your antidepressant medication can the officer charge you with DWAI drugs? Does that really mean you are driving while impaired in New York State?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Do Opioids and Driving Equal DWAI?

Drugged Driving Can Lead to a DWAI
The reality of narcotic use and driving is far from the media in truth. There are millions of Americans who utilize prescription narcotics like hydrocodone and oxycodone for chronic pain. They are not addicts or using these medications recreationally. At a recent DUI conference in Tucson, AZ Dr. Fran Gengo, a pharmacologist related a story of two people using pain meds. One is Johnny, and the other is Johnny's grandma.

Now while Johnny uses grandma's pain pains to get high grandma has two medical conditions, spinal stenosis and degenerative joint disease. She takes her pills throughout the day on a schedule to moderate her discomfort. If Johnny and Johnny's grandma both drive who stands the greater chance of being DWAI drugs? If Johnny's grandma has a higher blood concentration of hydrocodone does that mean she is more impaired than Johnny?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: The Dangers of Marijuana Use and a State License

Nothing Like a Colorado Rocky Mountain High
Just this month a New York Times article really brought to light how we are living in dangerous times. The best of times and the worst of times when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. With more than twenty five states now with medical pot and many with recreational marijuana sales in the billions are we heading for National legality? Are we as far as we think we are progressively when it comes to accepting marijuana for what it is? If you hold a teaching certification or other professional license in New York State is it dangerous to smoke or consume marijuana while on a Colorado or California vacation?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Watkins Glen DWI Lawyer: Getting Pulled Over while on ADHD Medication, Are You DWAI?

Adderall Has Been Shown Effective
for ADHD
DWAI drugs in New York (VTL 1192 (4)) is a bad criminal charge for a lot of reasons. One, it is a misdemeanor level offense requiring ONLY a violation level of proof. Two, there are many ways that law enforcement can show drug use ranging from a DRE (drug recognition exam) to your saying I took my ADHD medication today. Three, impairment in DWAI means any degree of impairment of your ability to drive.

But, are you actually DRIVING IMPAIRED by ADHD prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Substance Use is On the Rise at College

Anyone You Know?
When I go to the dentist, and he finds a cavity I know that that means drilling. I don't look forward to the experience but worse than that is the fear while he is drilling. Because I imagine that things are trending worse. The big question: how deep is he drilling? This procedure is heading in a bad direction, and my mental discomfort elevates as he goes deeper. Much like the dentist and his trajectory of pain I worry about how drug use and abuse in college and universities is on the rise. Just how much has prescription drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and illicit drug use increased over the
                                                                                       past few decades?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Recreational versus Therapeutic Drug Dose and DWAI

DRE = Drug Recognition Evaluator
I just came back from Tucson, AZ where I attended a DUI conference on DWI and DWAI drugs cases. One of the main speakers Dr. Fran Gengo (University of Buffalo) spoke on DRE (drug recognition evaluation) as well as Driving While Impaired by drugs. Now Dr. Gengo is a pharmacologist and understands toxicology at a high level.

How drugs are dosed, metabolized by the body, and can potentially impair a driver is complicated stuff. Now the DRE and the drug recognition evaluations used by the police have many issues. Can a law enforcement DRE officer using a DRE (yes, the person and the exam) tell you are New York DWAI drugs?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Can You Get a Conditional Driver's License After a Refusal?

This Puppy is ready to get a
 Conditional License 
This topic of New York DWI chemical test refusals and conditional licenses has been pounded online, and in so many forums. Even with all the writing and blogging people are left wondering, what's the answer? You refused a test, so that part is over BUT can you get a conditional license for work, school, and medical purposes in New York State?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: When Does New York's DWI Prompt Suspension Law Not Apply

New York DWI Triggers
Prompt License Suspension
A New York State DWI first appearance in Court mandates a prompt (as in immediate) suspension of NYS driving privileges. This is true whether you have a license from New York or someplace else. Although this law is strict it is NOT ironclad. There are a great many exceptions and exemptions to being summarily suspended from driving. So when is your license NOT suspended at the initial appearance for a New York DWI ?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Why the Impaired Driver Program and AA are NOT Treatment

New York State has Many OASAS Centers
for Alcohol and Drug Treatment 
If someone gets a New York DWI in 2017 they will most certainly have to have a drug / alcohol evaluation. If treatment is recommended then they will have to have alcohol treatment. But what you may think or feel is "alcohol treatment" the New York State DMV does NOT. Alcohol treatment in New York must be done by a "recognized" provider. To reinstate your driving privileges and to conform with most DWI Court conditions you must complete alcohol treatment. So when it comes to NYS alcohol treatment what exactly needs to be done and where?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: How DWI Clerical Mistakes Can Mess Up Your Getting a Conditional License

Excelsior is Latin for Ever Upward
New York State's judicial system has about 1,300 Justice Courts. With more than 2,000 Justices (Court Judges) handling about 2,000,000 cases a year. These Courts have the power to adjudicate (hold jurisdiction) over both civil and criminal matter. These Judges are responsible for administering justice over everything from simple speeding tickets to misdemeanor DWI cases.  Justice Courts are the local criminal Courts, and have jurisdiction over ALL criminal charges except felonies and preliminary jurisdiction over ALL offenses subject to their being divested (taken over) by Superior Court (County Court). So with all that power, What can happen if one of the Court Clerks checks an incorrect box on the DMV form in your DWI case?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Why You Can't Drive Crazy in Private Parking Lots

Not Always the Smartest Thing to Do
We get phone calls about the aftermath of negligent, careless, distracted, and reckless driving behavior daily. Sometimes people think it's OK to drive by feel in abandoned areas. Sometimes people test the limits of their Subaru in the ice and snow at the nearest Walmart.  Is it OK to do donuts in New York parking lots late at night or in the wee hours of the morning? Is Ok to drive without a license or a suspended license in a New York parking lot? How about driving drunk or high in a private lot?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Regular High Dose Smokers at Risk of New York DWAI Marijuana

Wide Spread Marijuana Use is
Presenting New Legal Issues 
You know there is still a nationwide debate about the dangers of marijuana and the evils of long term use. The reality is that 25 states now have medical marijuana and the trend is towards national legalization. BUT in New York state as well as many others drugged driving is a serious offense with harsh penalties. New research into THC elimination kinetics (how it leaves the body) has revealed dangers for New York drivers who are long term chronic users.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Why Upstate New York Public Defenders and Assigned Counsel Has Problems

From imdb.com
Would YOU hire him?
The headlines are gripping:

         Why You're in Deep Trouble If You Can't Afford a Lawyer

                                                                     Mother Jones Magazine

The New York State public defense system is in need of reformation and change. Of the 62 NYS counties, 24 have public defender offices, and the other 38 use assigned counsel (aka 18-B) lawyers. Ithaca (Tompkins County) and Watkins Glen (Schuyler County) use assigned counsel lawyers exclusively for public defense.

New York State uses full and part time public defenders as well as assigned counsel lawyers. All are paid for their legal services by their respective county either on a flat rate or an hourly rate. Some seemingly private attorneys also take public defense (assigned counsel) cases. There are numerous issues with New York's public system because it is largely overworked and underfunded.

Can you get by with a New York Public defender for your DWI or DWAI drugs charges?

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Warns New York Students That Get High Don't Get Stopped in PA

College Memories
New York State and Pennsylvania are places of great similarity and contrast. I have practiced DWI defense in both, and the laws, rules, and procedures are night and day. For those that smoke pot in New York the DWAI drugs "driving while impaired by a drug" driving charge, and the required proof for that offense morphs into something far different and ultimately more dangerous just below us in Pennsylvania.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: New Law Mandates Inspection for Car Window Tint

Police Officer Using Tint Meter Enforcer

New York State has long had law that cars and trucks cannot have window tint that is blocks light transmittance of greater than 30%. An amendment to that law has just taken effect on January 1, 2017 that makes checking window tint light transmittance part of every yearly car inspection. New York State like many jurisdictions has a mandatory annual car inspection forever.

This new window tint inspection amendment has been proposed every year since 2003, and the amendment has failed for 13 years running.    

                                 Why the New York Tint Inspection law passed this year is the question?  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: VTL 1144 (a) New Move Over Law Expands the Vehicles You Must Move Over For

New York State has a "move over" law, NYS VTL 1144 (a) which was originally enacted to safeguard police at roadside traffic stops. Cars and trucks whizz by vehicles stopped along the shoulder at close distance. This has lead to many unnecessary deaths of law enforcement over the years by careless motorists. The law will change once again on January 17, 2017 to protect even more public safety workers.

New York "Move Over" Law Expands Once Again January 2017

The law began in New York state January 1, 2011 after two State Troopers by the names of Ambrose and Searles were both struck and killed by motorists while making traffic stops. The law was expanded in 2012 to include:

tow trucks, snow plows and other vehicles performing road maintenance, construction or repair.  
The law under New York State Vehicle and Traffic section 1144 (a) MANDATES that motorists slow down and move over for: police, fire, ambulance, tow trucks, snow plows, maintenance vehicles, AND NOW ANY vehicle displaying a blue or green light, including volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers UNLESS traffic or other hazards prevent them from doing so safely.



An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the operation of vehicles when approaching a parked, stopped or standing vehicle displaying a blue or green light


To increase the roadside safety of volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers.


The bill would require all motor vehicle operators to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a vehicle parked, stopped or standing on the shoulder or any portion of a roadway while displaying a revolving blue light or revolving green light as authorized by law. The bill
also would require that, on parkways and controlled access highways, due care would include moving from the lane containing or adjacent to the shoulder where such vehicles are parked, stopped or standing.

A violation of VTL 1144 (a) is a non-criminal traffic offense which carries three points, a $275 fine, plus a NYS surcharge. These tickets are usually not given alone and frequently you are facing much higher fines, points, and surcharges. Discuss these and any other tickets with a local traffic attorney.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: What Happens When You Fail to Appear for a New York Traffic Ticket?

Check to See If You Have ANY
Outstanding Warrants?
FTA or Failing to appear for Court in New York State can be a big deal for a number of reasons. Depending on whether the stop of your car led to a violation level traffic offense or a criminal level traffic offense can lead to greatly different outcomes. The ticket on it's face merely shows the location of the court, and the specified time and date for your physical appearance. There is no contact phone number, email, fax, or much in the way to explain the process. But what if you fail to appear? What happens then?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Explains The Some Other Dude Did It DWI Defense

Some other dude did it = Mistaken Identity
SODDI means Some Other Dude Did It, NOT ME. SODDI is a real thing in the world of criminal defense. Usually used as a violent crime defense, it's the mistaken identity defense. In short the argument is that some other person (dude) did the crime and not you. That was the O.J. defense, somebody else killed his ex-wife and Mr. Goldman.

How does that stack up in the reality of New York DWI defense? Can it be used if they (the police) didn't see you drive?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Ithaca's Plate Scanners Give Law Enforcement Stopping Power

Police Scanners are Located on the Back of a Patrol Car
In 2014 Governor Cuomo granted Ithaca City Police, Cayuga Village Police, Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, Dryden Police, and Trumansburg Police money to buy Automatic License Plate Recognition Scanners (ALPR). This modern technology can give law enforcement a fast tool to assess a car and it's occupants in seconds. Some states like New Hampshire have been this technology as being an invasion of privacy but not New York. What if the scanner is not accurate? Is the stop of your car legal? Is anything the police finds in your car or on your person a violation of your rights?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Why Immigration and New York DWAI Drugs Charges Don't Mix

Many people don't realize that a New York State DWAI (driving while ability impaired) by drugs is really a controlled substance offense no matter the drug. Even though marijuana is the most common DWAI drugs offense to be charged, and even though New York does NOT classify marijuana as a controlled substance. Why is this true? And more importantly why should this matter to anyone?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Immigration and Pot Charges in Ithaca, New York

Don't Mess with the Feds

The whole country is at a pivotal point when it comes to marijuana, and it's "legalization." More than 25 states now have medical marijuana and the trend is moving upwards. In our home state of New York marijuana is decriminalized, meaning small amounts are a violation (non-criminal offense). Many states even have recreational pot, so what's the problem?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: What Makes a Final Court Disposition Like DWAI Good?

Welcome to Relative Boulevard

The other day I was asked why I thought a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) was good? They were confused because I've said on videos and my blog that a New York state DWAI doesn't get expunged, it's one of a few offenses that can never be sealed, and it will remain on your record forever. So that's GOOD? Well whether your final offense or court disposition is good or bad needs comparison to where you began.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: How You Can Lose Your Car for a New York DWI

Police Impounding Your Truck
After a DWI is NO Joke

Can the government take your car or truck after you are arrested for a New York DWI?
Can the county district attorney then sell your car at auction and keep the money?

A DWI arrest can bring many pains. Generally a New York DWI arrest will lead to fines, surcharges, DMV assessments, driver's license suspensions, and potentially a term of probation or even jail. But can you lose your car or truck too?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: New Hampshire Driver's License and a New York Speeding Ticket

More than a Motto
New Hampshire License Holders
Have Rights

I love the "Live Free or Die" state. I think that their slogan, and their attitude is so American. New England states have patriotism in spades. People who live there understand that people have rights but they need to be exercised to stay strong, just like muscles.

New York State doesn't give points for out of state tickets. Many states are NOT like New York in that out of state moving violations have consequences back in your home state. New Hampshire is one of those states. So what happens to your license and your driving record back in New Hampshire if you get a New York speeding ticket or other moving violation?