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Mineola Criminal Defense Law Blog

What is Leandra's Law?

The holiday season is upon us in New York, with all of its yuletide merriment and festive events. For anyone tempted to drive after imbibing a bit too much at a holiday party, a reminder about Leandra’s Law is in order.

According to New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the statue carries the name of an 11-year-old girl killed in a drunk-driving accident in 2009. She was a passenger in a car driven by the inebriated mother of a friend.

A DUI can seriously damage your career

It's Friday and you have had a long week at work. As usual, you drive over to your favorite Mineola watering hole to consume some adult beverages. When happy hour ends, you decide to drive home instead of moving to the next bar with your friends.

Unfortunately, your weekend takes a turn when you suddenly see red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror. After a field sobriety test, you end up in the back of a squad car and on your way to the police station. You are now facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. This was not how you had imagined your weekend going.

Does a breathalyzer count as chemical testing?

Implied consent laws may be a new concept to many Mineola, yet they may be worth understanding in case you are ever in a position where a law enforcement officer asks you to take a sobriety test. Essentially, such laws state that by applying for the privilege of driving, you agree to submit to chemical testing in order to determine whether or not you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. New York does indeed have such a law, and a refusal of such testing could result in your license automatically being suspended for one year. Such a suspension may still be enforced by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles even if you are acquitted of the criminal charges leveled against you. 

Yet what exactly qualifies as chemical testing? Such testing refers to an actual chemical analysis of your blood, breath, urine or saliva. The most common test that you and others may associate with sobriety testing, however, does not fall into this category. Breathalyzer tests are actually referred to as "field tests" or "preliminary alcohol screenings." They are less reliable at accurately measuring your blood alcohol content, which makes their results inadmissible in court. 

I accidentally wrote a bad check! What will happen?

What may happen by issuing a bad check in New York can depend on a lot of factors. Issuing a bad check can result in you charges of violating New York Penal Law 109.05. That is a class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you can receive a sentence of up to 90 days of incarceration and have to pay a fine.

You can also lose a professional license which can implicate your livelihood even if your employer would not choose to terminate you. As such, although “just” a misdemeanor, you will want to address it immediately if you receive notice of charges against you.

Despite newer cars, auto theft is still a common crime

At one time, automobile theft was a common problem, especially in thriving cities such as New York. Today, cases of auto theft may not be as prominent as in years past, but the consequences are harsher than ever before. Although trends in crime are veering away from car theft in some places, there are a number of vehicles that nevertheless have higher chances of being stolen. What other factors play into the crime of larceny in big cities?

An article in The New York Times weighs in on the gradual decrease in car theft in New York City, pointing out the drastic drop in theft over the years: the city had 147,000 auto theft reports in 1990, and only 7,400 in 2012. The most evident reason for this decline is the advancement of technology in vehicles--for example, engine immobilizer systems adopted in the late 1990s and early 2000s allows cars to start only with an ignition key. This key is microchipped by the dealer to align only with the car. This advancement alone could account for why so many criminals choose older cars to steal; newer technology simply takes more time to understand and manipulate. Yet the Times also considers the decreasing worth of older cars; why would thieves go after them in the first place? A loophole in New York law allows cars to be sold for parts without a title if it is over eight years old, but even that approach has become harder to carry out over recent years.

The broad category of sexual assault

In the midst of the uproar surrounding what is now known as the "Harvey Weinstein effect," the definition of sexual assault has taken on a myriad of meanings. At the end of the day, however, one of the most important factors in such cases is that of proper investigation. It is true that countless powerful figures, including many in New York, have faced accusations of sexual assault. But what are Americans to make of this complex issue? 

When an overwhelming number of men and women came forward with personal accounts after the initial revealing of Harvey Weinstein's crimes, the ways the country looked at sexual assault altogether shifted in a way it never had before. The New York Times acknowledges this change in attitudes in the ways people address sexual assault, adding that with this unfortunate news comes opportunity for social change. Yet this serious problem follows a decades-long battle on assault nationwide, including the issue of sexual misconduct on college campuses. Will the Weinstein effect help colleges better prepare in cases of assault? The Times points out that, while the number of students who have come forward with accounts have been on the rise, the number of those who make official reports of these accounts has remained scarce.   

Low blood glucose level can lead to a false DWI

If you are a diabetic, you have a chance of receiving a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge simply due to having low blood glucose levels. The main reason for this is that the symptoms of low blood glucose are similar to someone who is under the influence of alcohol. These similarities can cause law enforcement officers to issue a false DWI.

If your blood glucose levels drop, you could start experiencing dizziness, slurred speech, confusion and multiple other symptoms that might cause a police officer to think you have been drinking. Participating in field sobriety tests may cause an officer to believe his or her suspicions are justified.

Cyberstalking in new york

Domestic violence is no light matter, regardless of where the abuse takes place. A new type of this behavior has become prominent in recent years, and involves online methods of stalking individuals in a domestic setting. Cyberstalking can open the door for a multitude of issues, especially given the wide range of social media platforms offered today. There may be many grey areas when it comes to this type of violence, but New York makes clear that the consequences can be both severe and lasting for all of those involved.

An incident that surfaced in recent news exposed a complex domestic situation between a police officer and his ex-girlfriend. WHEC News elaborates on the ex-girlfriend's accusations of cyberstalking toward the officer, wherein she claimed that the officer, William Rosica, terrorized her through a series of online messages. Rosica allegedly used his keen police training in a negative way in attempts to dominate the woman, in what WHEC notes was part of a year-long scheme to inflict emotional damage. According to the report, the abuse began shortly after Rosica's ex-girlfriend end their relationship. In addition to the emotional distress Rosica caused, reports show he also followed his ex-girlfriend only to send emails and texts to her detailing her own actions. 

Understanding New York's traffic violation points system

Who in Mineola has not been cited for some sort of traffic infraction before? Something like a speeding ticket or a citation for failing to completely stop at a stop sign is not likely to land you in jail. Unfortunately, the perceived triviality of traffic infractions often prompts people to believe that they do not need to be taken seriously. Such people may end up coming to us here at The Law Firm of Michael R. Franzese shocked that they are now facing a license suspension. If you hope to avoid such a penalty, you may want to educate yourself on New York's traffic points system. 

According to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, you accumulate points depending on the nature of your traffic violation. The point totals for some of the more common infractions include: 

  • Reckless driving, texting while driving, failing to stop for a school bus: 5 points
  • Following too closely: 4 points
  • Ignoring a stop or yield sign, failing to yield the right-of-way, seatbelt violations: 3 points

Penalties for a DWI under the age of 21

A blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater is generally grounds for a Driving While Intoxicated charge in the state of New York. However, according to YPDcrime.com, that is not the case if the driver is under the legal age for drinking. When a driver is underage, which is anything younger than 21 years old, New York's Zero Tolerance Law kicks in. Under this law, driving with a BAC between the levels of 0.02 percent and 0.07 percent can also constitute a violation, and DWI charges may be brought.

The penalties that accompany the Zero Tolerance Law are different from those who are over 21. According to DMV.org, a first-time offender can receive a six-month driver's license suspension, a civil penalty of $125 and a fee of $100 to end the suspension. The offender may also be required to enroll in a drinking and driving program as well as have an ignition interlock device installed in the ignition. 

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