George F. Hildebrandt
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Syracuse Criminal Law Blog

New York’s drug offenders need treatment, not incarceration

If you are like many of New York’s drug offenders facing criminal charges, the charges may have arisen because of your addiction itself, not because you are prone to engaging in illicit or criminal activity. Recognizing that many drug offenders commit crimes in an effort to feed their addictions, many states have enacted drug court programs, which aim not only to hold criminal offenders accountable but to also treat the underlying problem of the addiction.

If you have the opportunity to take part in drug court as opposed to serving a sentence behind bars, know that these programs offer ample proven benefits.

How a lawyer can help you with your DWI case

If you have been arrested for a DWI in New York, you probably have some idea of what you can expect. With today's widespread access to information, many people even assume they can handle a minor case on their own just fine. Why pay a lawyer to do something you can do yourself?

What to Do if There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest

Being arrested on a warrant can be an unsettling event. Moreover, having the police knock urgently on your door and demand entry, often in the early morning hours, can not only be disturbing, but dangerous, to you and your family. The police are wary about who they may encounter and what danger they may face, and often come in force and heavily armed. People who wake up to yelling and commotion and the presence of heavily armed intruders may assume they are facing home invaders, not the police.

How Auto-Brewery Syndrome can affect your life

When it comes to cases of driving while intoxicated, even one citation can ruin your life. A DWI ruling can mean hefty fines, jail time and a permanent criminal record that can prevent you from getting into certain schools and applying for certain jobs. While drunk driving is considered a crime, some drivers feel that they were not intoxicated when charged with the violation. There could be several causes of this, but Auto-Brewery Syndrome is increasingly gaining awareness as a possible explanation.

The Supreme Court Holds That Evidence Obtained After an Illegal Stop May Be Admissible

In an unfortunate turn, the United States Supreme Court recently held that evidence obtained as a result of an illegal police stop may not have to be suppressed in a subsequent trial of the person who is stopped. This decision broadens the exceptions to the general rule that if police illegally obtain evidence against a person, that evidence cannot later be used against him or her criminally. After this decision, unless there is flagrant police misconduct, the police can now stop a person illegally, and upon discovery of an outstanding warrant, search the person.

Limited Driving Privileges After Driver's License Suspension

Losing your license as a result of a conviction for driving drunk is a common consequence throughout the country, including in New York State. Additionally, a driver's license may be revoked for refusing to submit to testing that would allow police officers to measure the driver's blood alcohol content.  Once a person's license is suspended or revoked for a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) conviction or chemical efusal, the person will have a problem getting to work or school, and meeting other responsibilities that require them to drive. Driving while on a suspended or revoked license only leads to further legal trouble, so it is best to pursue other legal options if available.

Intoxication as a Defense

When some people have had too much to drink or were under the influence of drugs, they say that they were "not themselves." That is, that any actions they took while in an intoxicated state were influenced by the drugs or alcohol, and were not something they would usually do. When criminal acts are involved, the intoxicated person may argue that there should be no criminal liability because he or she would not have committed the criminal acts if he or she was not under the influence. While intoxication may work as a defense to some elements of a criminal charge, it cannot be used as a complete defense to a criminal charge.

Immunity From Prosecution When Testifying

Cooperating with law enforcement officials during a criminal investigation can sometimes lead to an offer of immunity. If the person cooperating could also be charged with a crime based on the information provided to law enforcement officials, a grant of immunity can offer future protection and keep the person out of jail. However, not all grants of immunity ensure the government will not prosecute a cooperating witness for a crime related to the information given.

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