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Rochester Criminal Defense Blog

Five arrested on drug charges following NY traffic stop

Criminal charges can stem from a wide variety of events. One common situation that could result in drug crime charges is a traffic stop. During a traffic stop, police are able to see into a vehicle, witness the behaviors of the driver and passengers and question those within the vehicle. This initial investigation could provide officers with reasonable suspicion. By conducting further investigation, officers could reveal that a motorist or passengers were in possession of drugs at the time of the traffic stop.

This is what recently occurred during a traffic stop in New York. According to reports, the traffic stop occurred in Waverly. Details of the traffic stop are not available at this time; however, this traffic stop resulted in the arrest of five individuals. Officers reported that items commonly used for packing illegal drugs were found. The search also revealed a drug kit, a 100 mg morphine sulfate tablet, a hypodermic needle and several glass devices used for smoking.

Initiating a strong criminal defense for our clients

We all have heard the phrase innocent until proven guilty. While this is the guideline for the American criminal system, defendants often have a different experience. The second criminal allegations are made a defendant could face scrutiny. Just because a person is facing a criminal charge, the public tends to view them as guilty. This can cause harm to a person's personal and professional reputation even before his or her day in court.

The best way to address this situation is to hire legal help. A strong criminal defense can work immediately to reduce these initial hardships, as they could occur regardless of a conviction. If news is being reported on the incident, a legal professional could help control the coverage of the offender and the alleged crime. At the Law Office of James L. Riotto, our experienced legal team is devoted to helping clients in the Rochester area through any and all phases of the criminal defense process.

Law Firm Seals Criminal Records For Client

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New York's new criminal record-sealing laws were recently put to the test in Steuben County Court. In a highly unusual turn of events, the Law Office of James L. Riotto convinced a judge to seal two Class B felony conviction records from 2006 for a client:

  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 2nd Degree
  • Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the 2nd Degree

This is no small feat. New state laws allow our client to begin life anew.

Facing drug charges? Turn to a competent New York law firm

A criminal conviction for any offense can send a ripple of negative effects throughout one's life. For many convicted individuals, this means being slapped with jail or prison time that can rip them from their loved ones, fines that can throw their finances into upheaval, and a mark on their criminal record that can affect their employment and living prospects far into the future. In other words, when accused of a crime, New Yorkers have a lot on the line.

This may be especially true for those who are accused of drug crimes, including those that involve marijuana. Even something like simple possession of marijuana can result in jail time and fines. Those who are convicted of either possessing excessive amounts of drugs or possessing with the intent to distribute could be hit with the harshest of penalties that can send them away for decades.

New York's marijuana laws still pack a punch

Anyone who follows the news can recognize that marijuana laws have relaxed over the last several years. While some states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, in New York, such use remains illegal. In fact, although marijuana-based offenses may be considered relatively minor when compared to other drug crimes, those who are convicted of these offenses can still face some harsh penalties.

The penalties, of course, vary depending on the exact crime that occurs. For example, simple possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana can leave an individual facing little more than a violation that carries a fine. With this offense, there is not threat of being sent to jail. However, those who possess between two and eight ounces of marijuana can be sent to jail for up to a year. They can also be fined up to $1,000.

Postal worker facing theft charges after mail goes missing

Just about everyone has had a bad day at work. Usually, this simply means that things didn't go according to plan or an interaction with a coworker or customer became confrontational. In most instances, those who experience one of these days can simply sleep it off and put it behind them. For some New Yorkers, though, a bad day at the office means being accused of criminal wrongdoing, something that can't, and shouldn't, be slept on. When this happens, an individual needs to take legal action to ensure he or she is protecting himself or herself as fully as possible.

One New York resident is in this position now after being taken into custody for alleged theft. According to reports, the man became the subject of an investigation after multiple reports of missing mail were received. Investigators claim the 45-year-old man intentionally took mail containing gift cards for his own personal use. The authorities claim that they have surveillance footage of the man removing items from undelivered mail after deviating from his postal route.

Collateral consequences of New York criminal convictions

If you are facing a criminal charge in New York, you likely have concerns about the potential punishments you are going to face, and whether you will have to spend time behind bars or pay considerable fines. In addition to any penalties you may receive for a criminal conviction, however, you may also face what are known as collateral consequences.

What are collateral consequences?

Under state law, what counts as arson?

There are a number of serious criminal offenses in New York. Amongst these are crimes against property. Although vandalism and theft can be treated aggressively by prosecutors, these offenses can also be minor in comparison to some other property crimes, like arson. With a wide spectrum of severity when it comes to these offenses and their corresponding penalties, accused individuals need to ensure that they know the laws they are up against and how to use it to their advantage.

In New York, arson is defined as the intentional act of causing damage to a building or vehicle with the use of fire. Just with other crimes, arson also has a spectrum of severity. For example, arson in the first degree occurs when the above-mentioned act causes harm to an individual, is perpetrated by an incendiary device or is made with the expectation of financial gain. Arson in the third degree, on the other hand, occurs when mere damage is caused by one's intentional setting of a fire.

Traffic violations and New York's point system

Most New Yorkers have found themselves pulled over by the police, whether it be for speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign or failing to use a turn signal. Although these traffic violations may seem relatively minor, their cumulative effect can significantly affect an individual's life. This is intentional, too, as the state of New York hopes that by imposing serious penalties, individuals will avoid committing additional traffic infractions.

One way the state does this is by imposing a point system. Under New York law, an individual who accumulates 11 points within a year-and-a-half timeframe can have his or her license suspended. Each traffic violation is assigned a number of points, so even those violations that are minor can quickly rack up points, thereby putting one's license at stake.

Competent DUI defense may be able to exploit prosecutorial errors

To the untrained eye, many drunk driving cases can seem pretty open and shut. The police can make claims of seeing a driver acting intoxicated, which may be corroborated by witnesses and field sobriety, breath and blood tests can all point to a blood alcohol content that is beyond the legal limit. Yet, the truth of the matter can be quite different. Prosecutors often run into evidentiary issues that, when properly exploited, can lead to decreased or dismissed charges, or even an acquittal at trial.

Determining where a prosecution's weaknesses lay requires legal skill and experience, particularly when it comes to evidentiary matters. Chain of custody, for example, is usually only identified after close questioning of pertinent witnesses and careful examination of testing and chain of custody documentation. Field sobriety test errors may also be identified once police officer testimony is cross-referenced with standardized testing practices. Even eyewitness accounts can be full of inconsistencies and biases that may only be extrapolated upon skilled questioning during depositions and trial. Therefore, those who want to maximize their chances of beating back claims made by an aggressive prosecutor need to ensure that they have the criminal defense skills that are oftentimes necessary to do so.

Law Office of James L. Riotto | 30 West Broad Street, Suite 306 | Rochester, NY 14614 | Phone: 585-371-5633 | Map & Directions
120 Broadway, 2nd Floor | Albany, NY 12204  | Phone: 585-371-5633 | Map & Directions