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White Plains Criminal Law Blog

Drug charges in New York should be taken seriously

Each state has a unique set of laws when it comes to drugs and other prohibited substances. In New York, marijuana is considered an illegal drug and anyone who is caught carrying any amount could face drug charges.

Drug charges vary from simple possession to more serious offenses, such as drug dealing. If you get caught with a small amount of drugs such as OxyContin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, heroin or marijuana, you can be charged with drug possession. If police confiscate a large amount of drugs, you can be charged with drug trafficking, which is an even more serious offense. Each drug offense could bring a different sentence, which often includes prison time, fines, and other penalties.

What do you do if you get pulled over for drunk driving?

In all states, including New York, law enforcement officials use different methods to apprehend drivers who could be driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs. Drivers should note that they can be pulled over if officers see any probable cause or sign of intoxication.

For example, a traffic violation may lead an officer to suspect that the driver inside the vehicle could be drunk or driving while impaired. When a driver gets pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to follow some simple steps which could prevent a DUI arrest or other citations.

When a driver is being pulled over by an officer, the driver should find a safe place to pull over, such as the shoulder of the road. Drivers should always keep important documents, such as their insurance card and registration, within reachable areas, as officers will likely ask for these documents.

As officers approach the vehicle, it is important for the driver to switch the dome light on in the car. The driver's hands should remain on the steering wheel so the officers can see them, as putting the hands where the officers cannot see them may be viewed as a threat.

What is a white-collar crime?

Not all criminal offenses involve violent crimes like robbery, rape and murder. Some criminal charges in New York may stem from financial transactions where one person commits or a group of people conspire to commit a crime, mainly for financial gain. This type of behavior is often referred to as a white-collar crime, to distinguish it from violent offenses.

The term "white-collar crime" was first used in a speech at the American Sociological Society in 1939, to describe nonviolent offenses committed in a financial institution. Today, white collar crimes come in different forms, such as trade secret theft, money laundering, embezzlement, economic espionage, public corruption, tax evasion and financial fraud. Those offenses can be difficult to prosecute due to the number of financial transactions involved, some of which may have been made to mislead or conceal illegal activity.

Obey New York's gun laws or face firearm charges

Each state in the U.S. has gun laws and some differ from state to state. Guns are often associated with violent crimes, not just in New York, but all across the United States. Each state has its own gun laws that outline strict rules and regulations that must be followed by hunters, gun dealers and gun owners. Here in New York, it is important for gun owners to familiarize themselves with the state's gun laws in order to avoid criminal charges, which range from misdemeanors to felonies.

According to Forbes, which outlined a recent gun registration shift in New York, New Yorkers who own assault weapons, such as an AR-15 or a shotgun -- semiautomatic Remington Model 1100 -- must register their weapons as well as their high-capacity magazines under the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013. Failure to register assault weapons can result in a firearm charge that is punishable by up to a one-year prison sentence. Some people who own a number of assault weapons have decided to sell their firearms to avoid being tagged as criminals in the eyes of the law.

NYPD officer charged with attempted murder

A New York City police officer has been accused of attempted murder, DUI and assault after he allegedly shot a person in what authorities are calling a random act.

According to a police report, the officer, who has now been suspended, parked his car near an intersection in White Plains. Reportedly, while another vehicle was stopped at the nearby traffic light, the officer came up to the stopped vehicle and fired 14 times into the car. While the driver did not suffer any injuries, the passenger was hit six times. There is no indication that the officer had any relationship with the alleged victim.

18-year-old man faces murder and firearm charges

White Plains residents probably know that New York State has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. In addition to restrictions on the sale and ownership of weapons, New York's criminal law imposes harsh penalties on those convicted of using a gun in the commission of a crime.

Recently, an 18-year-old man was apprehended for allegedly using a firearm to kill a 54-year-old man who was selling used kitchenware in Staten Island. According to authorities, the victim was with a friend when they knocked on the 18-year-old's door, attempting to sell him used pans and pots. The accused told the men that he was not interested in buying anything. According to authorities, the accused then followed the victim and his friend and fired six shots at them with a pistol. The 54-year-old was shot in the right knee and lower back. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The 18-year-old man is now facing murder and firearm charges.

NBA player faces domestic assault charges

Disputes happen in life, especially in a marriage or a relationship. Despite this, some arguments can go much further than a verbal disagreement. A physical altercation could destroy or harm the relationship. Furthermore, this could lead to a criminal charge for a spouse or member of the couple.

New York Knicks fans, as well as sports enthusiasts across the state, are probably familiar with the name James Johnson. The Memphis Grizzlies forward has averaged just over seven points and three rebounds for his team last season. He was also once nicknamed "blood sport" for his aggressive nature on the court, both when on offense and defense. However, Johnson has allegedly carried his aggressive nature off court as his wife has accused him of domestic assault.

Police officer suspected of drunken driving

Drunk driving is strictly prohibited in the United States. Each state has its own unique set of penalties that are imposed on those arrested for drunk driving. New York has some of the toughest drunk driving laws in the country. Readers should note that anyone, regardless of social status or government affiliation can be arrested for DUI, which is the case of an NYPD officer who was recently charged with DUI after being involved in a minor accident.

Based on the report, the suspected drunk driver, a 53-year-old NYPD homicide detective and 20-plus year veteran of the force, was involved in an accident last Wednesday. Authorities arrested the detective and took him to the nearest police station. The driver then refused a breath test.

Notorious New York school principal faces fraud charges

White-collar crimes often come with particularly severe penalties because they are considered violations of trust, especially when government employees or public officials are involved. These crimes are usually felonies and bring prison time and fines with conviction. One famous - some say infamous - school principal could be facing such a fate after recent allegations of fraud by New York's Department of Education.

Marcella Sills, principal of Public School 106 in Far Rockaway, Queens, was fired from her job in February and has now been accused of taking pay while not working, essentially defrauding the department of funds. The principal gained mostly negative publicity for her barebones budget that left her school without books to meet the common core curriculum, no art or gym classes, no special education classes for students with learning disabilities and no nurse's office. The spartan budget led critics to call PS 106 the "School of No."

New York man pleads not guilty in girlfriend's fatal shooting

Some White Plains, New York residents automatically think that a person accused of criminal charges is already guilty of the crime. However, being charged does not equate to guilt. There are instances when a person can be wrongfully accused or was a victim of an unfortunate situation. A 26-year-old man from Cornwall who is facing criminal charges has indicated that he belongs in the latter category.

The charges he faces stemmed from an incident that occurred last summer inside the home the accused man shared with his girlfriend. According to the report, on August 16, 2013, the 30-year-old woman was killed when a handgun fired accidentally. The gun belonged to the man. It was owned legally and was registered. The police added that the shooting happened as the couple was handling the firearm. The man was arraigned and his legal counsel filed a not guilty plea on the man's behalf. He was subsequently released after paying the bail.

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