Monday, April 23, 2018

DWI Dismissed High Beams Violation was an Unlawful Stop

Dazzling Lights Can Be Dangerous
BUT They Must Affect Driving

People v. Langhorne is a 2018 DWI case that went up to New York's high court on appeal. Police can generally legally pull you over for a traffic violation or an equipment violation. Langhorne was pulled over for using high beams. The lower Town court found the police officer had sufficient proof to support the Dazzling Lights (high beam) VTL 375 (3) violation. When reviewed by the upper court this New York DWI .08 or more breath test case was successfully dismissed for lack of probable cause.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Ithaca DWI Lawyer Blog is a Top 40 NY Law Blog

New York Law Blogs
Ithaca DWI Blog is Top 40 NY Law Blog
I was just surfing and saw our blog is in the top 40 of New York law blogs. This was in Feedspot.com. So naturally I'm excited about our body of work after 760 blog posts in the last 9 years. To me it's more than that because explaining New York law and breaking things down is something I love doing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Three Things You Gotta Know to Celebrate 420 Safely

Celebrate 420 Safely in NewYork
Ok 420 is coming this Friday, and I am ever mindful of the power of the flower. Marijuana is truly a remarkable plant that can help many people. I believe it the key to this opioid crisis that is killing thousands of people. It's uses medically for PTSD, anxiety, and a host of autoimmune conditions is staggering. Unfortunately it is still a federally controlled substance.

Using cannabis in New York be mindful of just three No's and ONE huge positive YES...

Friday, April 13, 2018

#Vanlife, Marijuana, and Your Right to Privacy

Is Bong Bear Probable Cause?
Millions of people have embraced a new way of living called Vanlife. A lifestyle that is mobile and free. Living out on the road they say "is simple but certainly not easy." I am fascinated by the legal ramifications of choosing a home life that is on wheels.

Is your reasonable right to privacy in danger by choosing van life?
Is your 4th amendment intact and upheld when the police want to search your mobile home?
Does the future hold challenges for those that partake in marijuana and van life?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Will Connor McGregor Be Found Guilty of Assault?

Will a Corneal Abrasion be Enough to prove assault?
Recent video has Connor McGregor, the UFC fighting champ throwing a hand truck  into a bus window. The window shattered and those inside could have been hurt. Mr. McGregor has been charged by the police with felony criminal mischief, and three counts of misdemeanor assault.

Will the 3rd degree misdemeanor assault charge in New York hold up against McGregor?

Will Connor McGregor be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt from the assault charges?

Is Connor McGregor Going to Jail?

From high times, McGregor is a fun Irishman

UFC fighting champion Connor McGregor just got into some trouble in New York. He attacked a bus full of UFC fighters and took a hand truck to one of bus' windows. He's charged with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor assault.

Between a normal person (that is not a celebrity), and McGregor what is going to happen in terms of court and this process?

Was alcohol involved? Does the fighter have an alcohol issue? Does McGregor have an anger management problem? Does McGregor have an immigration issue?

Felony Charges for Marijuana Brownies





Marijuana and New York State Criminal Charges



Over the course of my years of practicing in the Finger Lakes region we have defended many college students from SUNY Cortland, SUNY Binghamton, Cornell University, Ithaca College, Keuka College, etc. Marijuana use seems to go with college like cereal goes with milk. 

It is now legal recreationally or medically in so many states BUT some people think that New York State has completely decriminalized marijuana, sometimes it is only charged as a violation, but even in relatively small quantities it can be charged as a misdemeanor or even as a felony (if sold to minors). 

The New York Times recently did an article on Marijuana's New York history. 


Is legalization close at hand? 

Marijuana in Your Car in New York State

It is always a bad idea to travel with marijuana. Because of it's pungent and familiar odor police have a reason to go through your belongings. If you are stopped for speeding, an unsignaled lane change, etc. watch out. Things go south fast.

NOTE: After any lawful arrest in an automobile in NYS the entire car is subject to search top to bottom, inside and out. So much for your 4th amendment rights in New York State.

Walking Outside Smoking Marijuana in New York

Outside, in a public park or on the street we have a different story. Police will sometimes make a false statement ie. lie to get an arrest. I know, as unbelieveable as that may sound Virginia, it happens. Law enforcement will tell college kids that they "have to" make a search. That if they want to avoid an arrest they should empty their pockets, and to show them what they have or else? Legally they could only pat you down for weapons, but to go into your pockets requires permission or probable cause, but once the marijuana is exposed to public view we have a full blown misdemeanor.

Ranking New York State Marijuana Offenses (least to highest level) 


Here is a ranking of the New York State Pot Laws from least severe to more severe (in terms of penalties and consequences):

1. UPM under Penal Law 221.05: Unlawful Possession of Marijuana

Is not a crime (criminal level)it is merely a violation BUT since marijuana is a controlled substance under FederalLaw a plea of guilty will make you ineligible for Federal Financial Aid (thank you President Clinton) for one year. It as to go on your FAFSA application. 

Side note: Marijuana is not considered a controlled substance under New York State Law but we are discussing Federal Student Loans, Federal Work Study Monies, Federal Grants, and the Federal Hope College Credit. 

UPM is possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana. 

In the majority of these cases (with first time offenders) your attorney can move for an ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal) or a straight dismissal of the charge. The judge will set the term of staying out of trouble (no new criminal charges) FOR EITHER 6 MONTHS OR ONE YEAR. It is in his discretion. Also in his discretion is whether there is a substance abuse evaluation. Some judges also require community service. 

The next level up of Marijuana offense is:

2. CPM under Penal Law 221.10: Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the 5th degree

This where the marijuana is either open to public view, burning, or where the amount is over 25 grams but less than 2 ounces. CPM is a crime. It is class B misdemeanor. 

The next level up of Marijuana offense is:

3. CPM under Penal Law 221.15: Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the 4th degree. This is where you have more than 2 ounces but less than 8 ounces. Now that's what the District Attorney will say is real weight, and they are thinking at this point you are dealing drugs and not just possessing them for personal use. CPM in the 4th is a class A misdemeanor.

4. Penal Law 221.35 is for the Sale of Marijuana. All that is necessary is less than 2 grams or one joint/blunt. It is a Class B misdemeanor. Sale is a very loose term under the statute. Sale also includes gifting or an exchange of anything, as no "consideration" is needed under the statute to consider it a sale.

5. Penal Law 221.40 is for the Sale of Marijuana. Less than one ounce. It is a Class A misdemeanor. 

The next two levels are where we move from misdemeanor level offenses (less than a year in jail) to felony level offenses (more than one year in jail). Misdemeanor offenses can be handled by City, Town, or Village Courts. Felony charges are only handled at the County Court level.

* Beware that Sale of More than ONE OUNCE moves the offense to Class E FELONY Status in New York State (punishable by up to 3 years in State Prison). 

* Beware of New York State Penal Law 221.50. Sale of Marijuana to a minor (a person less than 18 years old). It is a Class D Felony Status. Which is punishable by a term of 4 to 7 years in State Prison, that's not county jail. 

I would like to end off with the GOOD NEWS about number 1 through 5 above:

That Penal Law 221.05 UPM (Unlawful Possession of Marijuana), Penal Law 221.10 CPM (Criminal Possession of Marijuana) in the 5th degree, Penal Law 221.15 CPM (Criminal Possession of Marijuana) in the 4th degree, Penal Law 221.35 Sale of Marijuana, and Penal Law 221.40 Sale of Marijuana are all covered under the First Time Offender ACD statute.

Getting Marijuana Charges Completely Dismissed with New York Criminal Procedure Law Section 170.56


Called an "ACD for Marijuana" as in your get one free bite at the apple. In New York you can use this ACD section one time in your lifetime.

Captioned as "Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal in cases in involving marijuana."

If a person qualifies under the statute a motion can be made by his attorney, and then his marijuana charges may be dismissed in the future, and all his official records and papers relating to his arrest and prosecution, whether on file with the Court, the police, or the New York State Division of criminal justice services will be sealed and not made available to the public or private agencies. 

Upon the granting of such an order by the Court, the arrest and prosecution can be considered and deemed a nullity (as if they never happened) and the person shall be restored to his or her pre-arrest status.

If of course someone has has other prior charges (relating to marijuana and/or other drugs) then his attorney can potentially negotiate to some other non-criminal disposition, such as disorderly conduct. This is a violation and all the records of the arrest and prosecution would be sealed at the local level.