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Tag Archives: criminal charges

Speeding Man in Long Island had License Suspended 88 Times

If the first 88 times you don’t succeed…

Suffolk police busted a Pennsylvania man speeding through the Long Island Expressway on Sunday afternoon, after the driver was zooming at 86 mph.

When cops pulled over the speed demon, he gave the officers his Pennsylvania license, in an attempt to hide his litany of driving misdeeds, officers said.

Police learned that Eric Dunbar, 43, racked up 88 suspensions on his New York State license on 25 different occasions after trying to dodge traffic tickets, records showed.

Dunbar, of Tafton, Pa., amassed a series of license suspensions through multiple charges per ticket, Suffolk police told the Daily News.

He was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, speeding and unlawfully having more than one unexpired driver’s license.

He is expected to be arraigned at the First District Court in Central Islip on Monday.

 

Article Originally Featured on the NY Daily News

*Photo Credit: “Speed of Sound” By: Ana Paticia Almeida/Source: Flickr

 

A New York Woman Says Her Body is a Brewery, and Beats Drunk Driving Charges

A New York judge has dismissed a drunk driving charge against a woman who took steps to prove her body works as a brewery, using excess intestinal yeast to turn ordinary food into alcohol, resulting in breathalyzer readouts that generally would indicate life-threatening intoxication.

The excuse may sound bogus, but The Buffalo News reports elected Hamburg town Judge Walter Rooth found the woman’s claim compelling after she spent $7,000 working with a specialist to show her body sometimes meets the legal definition of drunkenness without actual alcohol intake.

“I would say it is not safe to drive a car if you are in an auto brewery syndrome flare,” Dr. Anup Kanodia of Ohio, an auto-brewery syndrome expert who monitored and tested the woman, told the News. “But it’s a brand new disease and we’re still trying to understand it.”

Kanodia told the paper, which did not name the woman, that he believes between 50 and 100 people have been diagnosed with the disorder, and that it’s likely upward of 95 percent of sufferers don’t know they have the condition.

Rooth dismissed the charges Dec. 9, but his decision has been slow to attract news coverage. The local prosecutor’s office plans to appeal Rooth’s decision, The News reports.

Spokespeople for the judge and the head of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office’s drunk driving division did not immediately return U.S. News requests for comment.

Flare-ups of Auto-Brewery Syndrome evidently are triggered in part by diets high in carbohydrates. Kanodia said he advised the woman to eat differently, alleviating her symptoms.

Though not widely known, the syndrome is beginning to attract media attention, with sufferers reporting bouts of goofiness after eating french fries and false accusations of alcoholism.

The BBC reported earlier this year that the condition may be connected to long-term antibiotic use and in at least two other cases appears to have been treated successfully with anti-fungal drugs and reduced consumption of carbohydrates and sugar.

The New York woman who shed — at least temporarily — her drunk driving charge is a 35-year-old teacher. Last year, she was arrested after a 911 tipster reported she was weaving. She reportedly was found driving on a flat tire with “glassy-bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.” She said she had three cocktails, but a breathalyzer found her blood alcohol content was .33 percent.

“Her tire was flat, and she felt she was close enough to home that she could drive the rest of the way,” the woman’s attorney, Joseph Marusak, told The News. “She can register a blood alcohol content that would have you or I falling down drunk, but she can function.”

Article Originally Featured on US News

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

A 70-Year-Old Woman in Brooklyn was fatally struck By MTA Bus Driver after His Failure to Yield

A longtime Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver was arrested on Tuesday after his bus hit a 70-year-old woman who was crossing the street in Brooklyn, killing her just a block from the shelter where she lived, the authorities said.

After the bus struck the woman, the driver continued on to a nearby depot, and by the time investigators determined through surveillance video which bus was involved in the crash, a second driver had picked it up from the depot and begun a new route, an authority spokeswoman, Amanda Kwan, said.

The driver, Paul Roper, 48, who has been a city bus driver for 15 years, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a felony; failure to yield to a pedestrian, a misdemeanor; and failure to exercise due care, a traffic violation. The authority suspended him without pay.

The woman, Carol Bell, was walking north on Sackman Street and trying to cross Fulton Street in the Broadway Junction section of Brooklyn around 6:15 a.m. when a southbound bus turned left onto Fulton, the police said.

She had just waved hello to a grocery store owner, as she did almost every morning on her way from the Magnolia House Women’s Shelter to a methadone treatment program. Ms. Bell had been homeless off and on since the mid-1990s, her daughter said.

Surveillance video published by NBC New York showed her waiting cautiously on the side of the street for cars to pass, and then moving across the street with the aid of her walker. There was no painted crosswalk at the intersection, but the charges indicate Ms. Bell still had the right of way.

The bus stopped briefly after hitting her, and then drove off to the East New York Depot, several blocks away, near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Broadway, the police said. The bus, which was not in service, had been returning to the depot from the B15 bus route at the time of the crash, Ms. Kwan said.

Photos from the scene showed a crumpled walker lying in the street.

The authorities initially could not find Mr. Roper on Tuesday morning. Ms. Kwan said the bus was towed back to the depot after its rooftop number was seen on surveillance video and investigators pulled it over along the B15 route, with a fresh driver at its wheel.

The crash, coming several days after three trick-or-treaters were killed by a car that jumped a curb in the Bronx, drew renewed promises from Mayor Bill de Blasio about the city’s commitment to its Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths. Residents who live near the scene of Tuesday’s crash said speeding buses are a constant problem.

One of the charges Mr. Roper faces — failure to yield — was at the center of a clash this year between the mayor and the city’s major bus drivers’ union. A new traffic-safety law made failing to yield a misdemeanor in some cases, and enforcement of the law had prompted protests by drivers. But on Tuesday, the union, Transport Workers Union Local 100, was restrained in its response to the charges against Mr. Roper, saying only that the crash was a “terrible tragedy.”

Mr. de Blasio told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that the Vision Zero initiative had already helped to reduce fatalities.

“We’re very committed to it, and every time we lose someone, we say, you know, this is something that we need to keep reiterating to people — the care they need to take with driving, and why all these standards matter, why that lower speed limit matters,” Mr. de Blasio said.

In 1998, Ms. Bell’s daughter, Lisa Bell, got an apartment, where she lived with her mother until she lost the lease around 2007.

“She was a very caring person; she never let me go hungry. She had a heart of gold,” Lisa Bell, 51, said, adding, “We had a rough life.”

A man who identified himself as Mr. Roper’s brother said he spoke briefly with him on Tuesday. “He didn’t see nothing,” said the brother, who declined to give his name.

Lisa Bell said she was not upset at the bus driver, but wanted him to understand how she felt.

“I know it wasn’t intentional,” she said. “It was an accident he didn’t stop. He was scared. It happens every day. But I need him to know he took my mom’s life, and that’s my best friend.”

Article Originally Posted By The New York Times

*Photo Credit:

Queens Driver Kills Cyclist and is Charged with DWAI-D

Queens Driver Charged with a DWAI-D—Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs After Killing a Cyclist

Article Originally Featured on NBC 4

The driver of a tractor trailer driver has been arrested on a manslaughter charge in connection with an accident in Queens that killed a bicyclist.

Police say 57-year-old Dennis Forceri was making a right turn onto 56th Road at 48th Street in Sunnyside Wednesday morning when he struck 34-year-old Anna Rodriguez, of Ridgewood.

Rodriguez was pronounced dead at Elmhurst General Hospital.

Police say Forceri was taken into custody at the scene. He also faces criminally negligent homicide, DWAI-D–Driving while Ability Impaired by Drugs and other charges.

It wasn’t clear if he had a lawyer.

*Photo Credit: “Ghost Bike” By: Todd/Source: Flickr

Drunk Driver in Patchogue, Long Island Charged with DWI after Slamming Into Family Car Twice

Drunk Driver in Patchogue, Long Island Charged with DWI after Slamming Into a Car Twice

Article Originally Posted on NBC New York

An alleged drunk driver slammed into another vehicle twice on Long Island in a shocking scene that was captured on dash cam video. And now members of the family who posted the dash cam video say they feared for their lives.

Linda Spina, 53, of Selden, was driving drunk along Woodside Avenue in Patchogue around 4:30 p.m. Thursday when she made a wide right turn onto North Ocean Avenue, police said. Dash cam video of the turn shows Spina’s Honda accelerates over a curb before knocking over a sign and crashing into a car stopped at a traffic light.

In the video, a woman who appears to be an off-duty emergency responder asks the family in the struck car if they’re alright. She then yells at Spina several times: “Put your car in park!”

Spina then drives in reverse out of the dash cam’s sight. But she appears seconds later, accelerating and nearly hitting the emergency responder before smashing head-on into the car for a second time.

Shocking dash cam video shows an alleged drunk driver slam into a car before backing up and accelerating into it again. The video was originally posted to YouTube by the family in the car that was hit. (Published Friday, Oct. 9, 2015)

NBC New York spoke with the family in the car, including the mother of the children heard screaming in the video. She said her whole life flashed before her like in the movies and that she thought for a second they would all die. Her husband was on the phone with her at the time and thought he had lost them.

The family installed the dash cam after a minor accident last year in which they couldn’t prove the other driver was at fault.

Spina was charged with DWI–Driving While Intoxicated. She was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center following the accident and was arraigned Friday in Central Islip.

*Photo Credit: “Drunk Driving Among US College Students Still at an Alarming Rate” By: James Palinsad/Source: Flickr

Student is Arrested for Writing a Note on His Speeding Ticket Payment

U.S. Judge Upholds Right to Scrawl Nasty Note on Speeding Ticket Payment

Original Article Featured on the New York Times

It began with a speeding ticket given in upstate New York to a man whose response was, to put it mildly, less than polite. He sent back a payment form with a scribbled five-word expression of vulgarity, and crossed out the town’s name.

Instead of Liberty, the man wrote “Tyranny.”

Local authorities were not amused. They ordered the man, Willian M. Barboza, to return to Town Court, a long drive from his home in Connecticut. Mr. Barboza was summarily lectured by a judge, arrested and held for several hours on charges of aggravated harassment.

In most small-town traffic cases, justice is dispensed quietly, fines are paid and unhappy drivers go on with their lives. This case did not go that way.

Mr. Barboza decided to sue the Village of Liberty, whose police officers had arrested him. Last week, a federal judge, Cathy Seibel, in White Plains, ruled that his First Amendment rights had been violated, and allowed his lawsuit to proceed.

Arrested After His Vulgar Response to Traffic Ticket, Man Files SuitJUNE 13, 2013
“The whole time that I was there, it felt like an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone,’ ” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “I just wanted to ask if they had any sense of irony at all.”

Willian M. Barboza was ticketed and later arrested. Credit New York Civil Liberties Union
The Village of Liberty, it turns out, might have a problem with people who utter vulgar things that they should not.

Mr. Barboza’s lawyers argued in court papers that the village has had a practice of unconstitutionally arresting people for offensive speech: on the street, in phone messages and in the presence of police officers.

“People use language like this all the time,” said Stephen Bergstein, a lawyer who represents Mr. Barboza along with the New York Civil Liberties Union. “They send letters like this to customer service at Verizon, the I.R.S.

“When people are unhappy, they vent on forms like that,” Mr. Bergstein added. “You shouldn’t have to get arrested for it.”

Mr. Barboza’s lawyers have also claimed in court papers that the village has failed to educate its officers in “limitations on the arrests of persons engaged in protected speech,” or in how to interpret state laws on aggravated harassment or disorderly conduct, the basis for other cases that the lawsuit calls into question.

“At trial, we’d hope to show that the village is liable for failing to train their officers on basic First Amendment rights,” said Mariko Hirose, a staff lawyer with the civil liberties union. “This kind of false arrest should never have happened.”

Adam L. Rodd, a lawyer for the village, declined to comment on Tuesday, citing a village policy of not discussing pending litigation.

In their papers, Mr. Barboza’s lawyers cite cases in which people were charged under the disorderly conduct law after expressing obscenities and other crude language. One highly intoxicated woman repeatedly yelled an expletive “on a crowded street after being warned several times by a uniformed Liberty police officer not to,” one charging document said.

The Government Building in Liberty, N.Y. A ticket clerk took Mr. Barboza’s note to a town judge, who sent it to a prosecutor. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times
Another person, using profanity-laced language in a motel parking lot, called an officer a “pig” and continued to use “abusive and obscene language after being ordered” to stop, according to another document.

The lawyers also cited cases filed under the aggravated harassment law, which has since been invalidated as vague and over broad by the New York State Court of Appeals.

Judge Seibel, in her ruling on Thursday, which was issued from the bench, declined to find that the other cases “constitute a pattern of constitutional violations as a matter of law.”

But she added that, while the degree of threatening language in the other cases varied, “a jury could conclude that at least some of them reflect an unconstitutional basis for arrest.” That issue will ultimately be decided by a jury, she noted.

She dismissed the suit’s claims against officers involved in Mr. Barboza’s arrest.

Mr. Barboza was a 21-year-old student in May 2012 when he was stopped for speeding on Route 17.

Lawyers for the village say in a court filing that shortly after Mr. Barboza’s handwritten message on the payment form was received, it was read by a clerk and taken to a town judge, who concluded that the comments were “threatening in nature” and that Mr. Barboza’s actions may have violated the law.

The judge got in touch with Robert L. Zangla, a prosecutor in the Sullivan County district attorney’s office, and asked him to investigate. Mr. Zangla’s office concluded that the conduct was illegal, the filing says.

Lawyers for the village and Mr. Zangla, who was also sued, argued that the officers had probable cause to make the arrest and that the suit’s First Amendment claims were without merit. Mr. Zangla has been found liable in Mr. Barboza’s claim.

Samuel Yasgur, the Sullivan County attorney, whose office represents Mr. Zangla, said he had “a great deal of respect for Judge Seibel,” but added, “I obviously disagree with her decision and I’m studying it to determine whether or not we are going to appeal.”

*Photo Credit: “Late Night Speeding” By: JFXie/Source: Flickr

Blood-Alcohol Estimates Questioned In Drunken-Driving Cases, Including In Deadly Long Island Crash

Blood-Alcohol Estimates Questioned In Drunken-Driving Cases, Including In Deadly Long Island Crash

Original Article Featured on CBS

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The way prosecutors see it, Oneil Sharpe Jr. was drunk when he raced down a Long Island highway at nearly 100 mph this summer and slammed into a car carrying a family home from a church gathering, causing a fiery wreck that killed a father and his two children.

Sharpe’s blood-alcohol reading, taken about four hours later, was 0.06 percent — below the legal threshold of 0.08. But he was still charged with drunken driving and vehicular homicide because a forensic technique estimated that his blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash actually was 0.12.

That technique, known as “retrograde extrapolation,” has been used to win convictions nationwide for decades, but has increasingly come under scrutiny by drunken-driving experts as an unreliable measure of a person’s intoxication. Some defense attorneys have even labeled it junk science.

“Government lawyers and puppet scientists know retrograde extrapolation is hogwash and will say so when it benefits them, but mostly they pretend otherwise because it is useful in gaining convictions,” said D. Timothy Huey, a Columbus, Ohio, attorney specializing in drunken-driving cases.

“Retrograde extrapolation is about as scientifically reliable as astrology,” added Jonathan Manley, a former prosecutor who is representing Sharpe in the Long Island crash. “It relies on the assumption that a person’s blood-alcohol content peaked prior to the arrest without any basis to prove that.”

Sharpe pleaded not guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, leaving the scene and driving while intoxicated. He also is charged with having 23 fraudulent credit cards in his vehicle.

While there are no national statistics to document the use of retrograde extrapolation, prosecutors in many states, including New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado and Illinois, have offered evidence of estimated intoxication levels at trial. But courts in some other states have severely restricted its use, requiring prosecutors to use only the blood-alcohol readings taken at the time of a person’s arrest.

“The general rule in virtually every state is that it is up to a jury to decide its relevance,” said attorney Patrick Barone, who has written a textbook titled “Defending Drinking Drivers” and teaches a class at Western Michigan University’s law school that includes a two-hour lecture on retrograde extrapolation.

“I challenge it every time it comes up,” Barone said. “Juries are too frequently bedazzled by science because science as a whole is not well understood or taught.”

In the Long Island case this summer on the Southern State Parkway, the 24-year-old Sharpe wasn’t tested immediately, because a friend allegedly whisked him away from the scene. Prosecutors believe Sharpe fled because he knew he was drunk, and they bolstered their case by releasing a cellphone video purportedly showing him tossing a bottle of tequila into the woods after the crash.

Prosecutors who have used retrograde extrapolation swear by it as a proven technique that doesn’t reward drunken-driving suspects for fleeing the scene and avoiding immediate blood-alcohol testing.

“It’s been standard procedure for many years in many states across the country,” said Beadle County, South Dakota, State’s Attorney Michael Moore, a past president of the National District Attorneys Association. “It’s been proven to be reliable and upheld by courts all across the country.”

It was most famously, if not successfully, used after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989, when Capt. Joseph Hazelwood was given a blood test 10 1/2 hours after the grounding and recorded a 0.06. A toxicologist estimated his reading at the time of the accident was 0.14.

Hazelwood was ultimately convicted of negligent discharge of oil and fined $50,000, but was cleared of charges of being drunk.

Experts say the intoxicating effects of alcohol are not experienced until it is absorbed into the bloodstream. After a person stops drinking, the blood-alcohol level peaks when the most alcohol has been absorbed and the least amount of alcohol has been eliminated.

Defense attorneys argue alcohol absorption and elimination rates vary widely depending on a person’s gender, drinking habits, the type of beverage, what a person ate and how much, and whether a person had experienced trauma, which sometimes slows the rate.

Leonard R. Stamm, a Maryland attorney and dean of the National College for DUI Defense, said prosecutors should avoid retrograde extrapolation “unless they’re able to line up every conceivable factor, and I don’t know that they’re ever able to do that.”

Mary Catherine McMurray, a forensic expert who once worked for the Wisconsin state patrol, says she has seen increased use of retrograde extrapolation in the past five years, but cautions “the further away from a person’s last drink, the less useful retrograde is, and prosecutors usually have to take the word of the person on when that last drink occurred.”

“It’s hard for me to call it junk science, because it’s got merits,” she said, “but I understand why people say it is junk science.”

Photo Credit: “Breath Test” by Oregon Department of Transportation/Source: Flickr

Biker Arrested for Speeding on Long Island Expressway

A motorcyclist was arrested in Suffolk County after police clocked him going over 100 mph. An anonymous tip about a motorcyclist speeding near Exit 51 on the Long Island Expressway set in motion a series of events that led to the arrest of the 25 year old biker. A patrolman attempted to pull the motorcyclist over, but the biker instead took off and weaved in and out of traffic. Another patrolman spotted the biker getting off Exit 58 and arrested him when he pulled over at a work site. The biker was charged with unlawful fleeing of a police officer, reckless driving and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He is also facing numerous charges for non-criminal traffic violations, such as speeding and unsafe lane changes. Reckless driving is a criminal offense in New York, and a reckless driving ticket carries a penalty of 5 points. The motorcyclist is most likely also facing 11 points for the speeding charge, as he was observed going more than 40 mph over the speed limit.

If you receive a traffic ticket on Long Island for speeding, reckless driving, unsafe lane changes, or any other reason, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 to find out how we may help you.

Queens Man had License Suspended 32 Times

During a traffic stop this past weekend, a driver from Queens was arrested for a traffic violation and upon investigation, the arresting officer discovered the man’s license had been suspended thirty-two times before. The driver faces multiple charges including three counts of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. In addition, the police officer reported that the man failed to comply with the orders of the police officer when he refused to produce his proper license and registration at the time of the stop and was subsequently charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration. Both charges are misdemeanors, though depending on the circumstances, aggravated unlicensed operation can also be a felony crime.

If you are facing license suspension, or if your license has already been suspended, make sure to call us immediately at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com so we can begin working on your case.

Long Island Driver Arrested for DWI, Leandra’s Law

A driver was arrested for DWI this weekend in Nassau County at the scene of a three-car accident. Because the driver had 3 passengers under the age of 16 in the car at the time, he has been charged under Leandra’s Law, which means he is now facing 3 felony charges of DWI. In addition, he has been charged with three counts of child endangerment, excessive tinted windows, and 3 counts of having passengers under the age of 4 unrestrained in the back of a vehicle, which carries a penalty of 3 points for each seat belt violation.

If you are charged with DWI on Long Island or anywhere in New York State, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we can begin working on your defense – don’t delay!

“Broken Windows” Gets More Weapons off the Street

On Sunday, Brooklyn police officers approached a group of 5 men who were drinking alcohol in public, a practice that is part of the “Broken Windows” style of policing that targets low-level offenses in the hopes of curbing more major crimes. In this instance, “Broken Windows” did its job as two of the men attempted to get rid of a knife and a firearm as the officers asked for their IDs. Both men were charged with possession of an illegal weapon, and the gun and the knife were both taken off the streets.

Some members of City Council claim that “Broken Windows” should be done away with because it clogs up the city’s judicial system, but Mayor de Blasio stands behind the policy and recent polls show that the majority of New Yorkers approve of this kind of quality-of-life policing.

What is your take on “Broken Windows?”

Long Island Traffic Lawyer: Rules for the Roadways and the Waterways

It’s that time of year again where people start getting their boats ready to go out on the water. Summer is a fun time of the year, and one of the best ways to spend it is out on the water. But a lot of people think that taking a boat out on the water will subject them to less rules than when they take a car out on the road – this is wrong! Many of the same rules apply on the waterways that apply on the roadways, including speeding laws, unlicensed operation laws, drug and alcohol laws, and reckless operation laws.

Speeding
Everyone thinks of speed limits on roads and highways, but did you know that speeding laws can be even stricter on the water? For example, no wake zones impose a 5 mph speed limit on all boats – these usually are in place in areas such as canals where the passageway is narrow and the wake caused by boats can send other boats careening into the walls. The 5 mph speed limit also applies to 100-200ft off the shore, docks, pier, rafts, floats, and anchored boats. There are also 45 mph and 25 mph speed limits in Long Island waters for the daytime and nighttime. Some local municipalities have their own speed limits and if there are no speed limits posted, boaters must operate in a manner that does not endanger other boaters. Boaters are also responsible for any damage caused by their wakes. Just like on the roads and highways, boaters can receive speeding tickets from the Coast Guard or Bay Constables if they violate the speeding laws.

Unlicensed Operation
On Long Island, drivers must possess a driver’s license or a permit in order to operate an automobile. The rule is almost the same on Long Island for boats: all individuals born after 5/1/1996 must successfully complete an approved course in boater education in order to operate a boat. After completing the safety course, boaters will receive a boating safety certificate that they must have anytime they operate a boat. New York has made this a little bit easier on boaters as they can now have the safety certificate displayed on their driver’s license or state issued ID as an anchor icon. If convicted of operating a boat without a safety certificate, boaters can be fined anywhere from $100 to $250 for the first offense and, while not likely, can face jail time of no more than 7 days. The fines and penalties increase for subsequent offenses. Driving a motor vehicle on Long Island without a license can result in a misdemeanor charge if convicted and can also bring about heavy fines and penalties.

DWI / BWI
Just the same as DWI laws, Long Island has BWI laws – Boating While Intoxicated. Most of the same rules apply to BWI as DWI – boaters cannot have a Blood Alcohol Level higher than .08, and if convicted, boaters can be subject to heavy fines, penalties, and even the possibility of jail time. A person can also lose their boat operating privileges if convicted of BWI, though they will not lose their driving privileges. Marine officers making a BWI stop often use the same tactics and equipment to make as they would in a DWI stop, including a field sobriety test and a chemical test. If a boater refuses a chemical test, their boating privileges can be immediately suspended pending a hearing regarding the refusal. This is the same thing for drivers, as they must attend a Refusal Hearing if they do not submit to a chemical test administered by a police officer. New York has an “Implied Consent” law, which means that drivers and boaters alike give up their right to refuse a chemical test by getting behind the wheel of a car or a boat. BWI convictions range from misdemeanors to felonies for repeat offenders and could end up costing thousands of dollars in fines and fees.

Reckless Operation
A reckless driving conviction on Long Island can have a huge, negative impact. Besides heavy fines, a penalty of 5 points on your license, and the possibility of losing your driver’s license, a reckless driving conviction will also give you a criminal record because it is a misdemeanor offense. The same is true for the boating equivalent – reckless operation. Reckless operation covers a lot of different boating violations, including speeding in a crowded area, operating too close to swimmers or dams, overloading a boat, riding the wake in a dangerous area, and disrupting regattas or parades. Just like in a motor vehicle, reckless operation can have dangerous consequences for boaters and their passengers, so please obey all rules of the water.

Boating and driving may seem like two very different activities, but they share a lot of similarities when it comes to the types of offenses that can lead to heavy fines, suspended licenses, and even possibly criminal charges.

99 DWI Charges on Long Island over Memorial Day Weekend

As reported last week, police were on the lookout for drunk drivers during Memorial Day weekend. As a result, 99 DWI arrests were made over the weekend, which is down from 2014 and 2013 when police made 128 arrests and 132 arrests, respectively. 56 DWI arrests occurred in Nassau County while 43 arrests were made in Suffolk County.

Nassau County will be stepping up their enforcement of DWI offenses for the remainder of the summer by utilizing asset forfeiture funds to pay for roughly 5,000 of overtime and money from the state’s “STOP DWI” grant program.

If you are arrested for DWI on Long Island, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we may begin working on your defense.

“Broken Windows” Takes Another Gun Off the Street…and also Faces a Class Action Suit

Police officers on patrol in the Bronx stopped a man for violating New York’s open container law and over the course of the stop discovered he was carrying an illegal, loaded weapon. The man did not have identification on him, so the officers had to cuff him to bring him back to the station to issue the summons. After resisting arrest, the man was eventually cuffed and the officers discovered the loaded weapon. Incidents like this one and one earlier this year in which officers discovered a weapon on a man they stopped for riding a bicycle on a sidewalk are used as prime examples by supporters of “Broken Windows” policing; by policing minor offenses, many major crimes are stopped before they can happen.

“Broken Windows” has its fair share of detractors however, and a class action suit has been brought against the city alleges that officers issue criminal summonses without probable cause due to ticket writing quotas. This is due to the fact that about 1/5 of all criminal summonses issued in New York City are thrown out due to legal insufficiency. This class action suit, in addition to proposals put forth by members of the City Council, could change the way police operate in New York City.

Is “Broken Windows” good for the city? Or do you think it’s part of a ticket writing quota?

Broken Windows has Support Amongst New Yorkers

While there are some in the City Council that want to roll back some of the efforts of Broken Windows policing by de-criminalizing certain acts, such as public intoxication, riding bikes on sidewalks, and public urination, a recent poll shows that most New Yorkers favor this kind of quality-of-life policing. By targeting minor crimes, police hope that they may prevent major crimes from occurring – an example of this would be when police stopped a man who was riding his bike on the sidewalk and then found out he had an arrest warrant and was carrying a loaded weapon. Opponents of Broken Windows policing believe that prosecuting these petty crimes as misdemeanors clogs up the city’s judicial system. However, 57% of people across all races support the quality-of-life policing.

Is Broken Windows good for New York City? Or do you think it slows down the justice system while unfairly targeting certain groups of people?

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Harlem Youth Fatally Struck by Livery Cab

A Harlem boy was fatally struck by a livery cab on Wednesday after school. No charges have been filed as of yet, as it has not been determined whether the driver failed to yield the right of way while the boy crossed the street. A school crossing guard claimed that the boy ran across the street while the car had the green light. As part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero policy, drivers involved in incidents where failure to yield the right of way results in the death or injury of pedestrians can face criminal charges.

Our condolences go out to the boy’s family during this difficult time.

“Broken Windows” Policing Reduced Crime, Lowered Prison Population

Police Commissioner Bratton’s “Broken Windows” approach to policing, which aims to crackdown on low-level criminal offenses such as public intoxication and riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, has recently come under attack by the City Council. Members of the council claim that these low-level criminal offenses clog the court system and are pushing for such offenses to be de-criminalized. In response, Bratton produced a report that shows a 36% drop in major felonies since 1994 when he took over as commissioner and pushed this “Broken Windows” approach. The report also showed that there has been a significant drop in the prison population in the past 20 years.

Bratton pointed to a recent quality-of-life stop as a perfect reason why “Broken Windows” works: a man was stopped by two officers for riding his bicycle on a sidewalk. During the course of the stop, it was discovered that the man had a warrant out for his arrest, and more importantly, was illegally carrying a firearm. “That quality-of-life bicycle stop was essential in getting a gun off the street and getting basically a career criminal once again put back in the system,” said Bratton. Mayor de Blasio is standing behind Commissioner Bratton in this regard and supporting “Broken Windows,” though there are signs that Hillary Clinton supports the reversal of such policies nationwide, many of which were put in place during her husband’s tenure as President.

If you receive a summons for a low-level crime such as public intoxication or public littering, or if you a receive a traffic ticket in New York, please contact us at 212-227-9008 to find out how we may help you and keep your record clean.

Debate Rages on How to Handle Low-Level Criminal Offenses

A recent study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice shows that low-level offenses are clogging up New York’s criminal court system. This study comes amidst debate on whether or not to de-criminalize certain offenses, such as turnstile jumping, public littering, open alcohol containers, bicycling on sidewalks, disobeying park signs, and being in parks after dark. Police Commissioner Bratton is opposed to de-criminalizing these offenses, though claims he is open towards finding alternatives. Mayor de Blasio agrees with the “broken windows” style of policing, which takes an aggressive stance against relatively minor crimes in the hopes of deterring more serious crimes. Opponents of this style of policing say that poor and minority communities typically bear the brunt of such police actions.

Do you think de-criminalizing these low-level offenses will unclog the criminal court system? Or will de-criminalizing make it harder for police officers to do their jobs?

Brooklyn Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Consequences of Reckless Driving

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in Brooklyn. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

Penalties
A reckless driving ticket in Brooklyn carries a penalty of 5 points, which is one of the highest point tickets in New York. But many people also do not realize that a reckless driving charge in Brooklyn is actually a misdemeanor offense. This means that a motorist charged with reckless driving cannot simply plead guilty and pay the fine, but an appearance must be made in criminal court. If convicted of reckless driving, the motorist will then have a criminal record.

The penalties for reckless driving in Brooklyn are $100 to $300 for the first offense, and while not likely, jail time is also a remote possibility. A Brooklyn traffic ticket lawyer will be able to advise you on the best course of action concerning your reckless driving ticket. The attorney may also be able to save you points in this charge.

Financial Impact
A reckless driving charge in Brooklyn can also have a severe impact on your auto insurance premiums. Insurance companies often view reckless driving convictions as being just as bad as DUI or DWI convictions, and will raise your premiums accordingly. So, in addition to the paying the reckless driving fine and the possibility of the NYS Driver Responsibility Assessment, you could also be forced to pay a lot of extra money over the years just to be able to keep driving. A Brooklyn traffic lawyer may be able to help you save your hard earned money instead of handing it over to your insurance company.

By working with a Brooklyn traffic ticket lawyer, you may be able to avoid the consequences of a reckless driving ticket and keep your driving and criminal record clean. In addition, a Brooklyn traffic lawyer can also usually appear in court without you to defend against reckless driving charges. If you have received a reckless driving ticket, or any other traffic ticket, please contact our office at 212-227-9008 to see how we can help you.

Transit Unions Cry Foul Over New Failure to Yield Law

As part of Mayor DeBlasio’s push to end all traffic deaths in New York City, a new failure to yield law makes it a
criminal offense if a driver injures or kills a pedestrian who has the right of way. At least three city bus drivers
have been arrested for violating the law since it went into effect in August, but transportation unions believe that
bus drivers are being unfairly attacked and are now supporting an amendment that would exclude them from the law.
What do you think: should this law be amended to protect city bus drivers, or should bus drivers be held to the same
standard as other city drivers?

For the full article, please visit:
Mayor DeBlasio’s Traffic Law Vilifies Bus Drivers, Union Says

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