A traffic stop is already a frustrating experience. No one wants to be pulled over by law enforcement, and no one enjoys it when it happens. While traffic violations happen and they can be minor, other traffic stops are more serious. This means that officers suspect that more than speeding or running a stop sign have taken place. If law enforcement officers suspect that another crime has taken place or will take place, this could give rise to a search and seizure and result in the arrest of a much bigger crime or violation.
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.
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.
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.
State prosecutors are more likely to aggressively pursue certain types of crimes more so than others. Murder, rape and assault, for example, are likely to be treated much more seriously than petty theft crimes. The same holds true for drug crimes. Simple marijuana possession, for example, may be given a slap on the wrist when compared to high volume trafficking of a serious drug like heroin and methamphetamine. This means that those who are facing more serious charges need to make sure they are putting forth a more aggressive criminal defense.
Drug crimes make up a significant portion of the criminal offenses alleged in New York. Many of our readers may think of drug possession as the main culprit of such criminal charges and, for the most part, they may be right. But the types of drug crimes that a New York prosecutor can pursue are much more varied than possession of one or more drugs. Drug trafficking, of course, can carry much more significant penalties, and possession of drug paraphernalia laws can turn the mere possession of an item into an illegal endeavor.
Being convicted of a drug crime is no small thing. The resulting penalties can leave you facing jail or prison, serious fines, a damaged reputation and a mar on your record that can haunt you for years, if not decades. In hopes of obtaining these convictions, prosecutors often rely on evidence gathered by law enforcement officials during a search. Although this evidence may seem damning, if it is not gathered in accordance with the law, then it may be suppressed at trial, meaning that the prosecution may be disallowed from using it against you.
Although many states are relaxing their drug laws, there is no doubt that the war on drugs wages on. As a result, many individuals have found themselves facing serious drug charges in the wake of aggressive investigations that seek to stem the distribution, possession and use of illegal narcotics. For these accused individuals, a criminal conviction can all but ruin their lives. They may face jail, prison, large fines and a marred record that renders living a normal life extremely difficult. If convicted of a drug crime, these individuals may even struggle to secure housing and employment.
When New Yorkers think of drug crimes, they probably think of drug possession and drug distribution. Although these are perhaps amongst the most common and most serious of drug offenses, there are a whole host of other drug=related laws that can leave an individual facing the potentiality of serious penalties should he or she be convicted.
We've all heard the phrase "guilty by association." Fortunately, this phrase often doesn't hold much water in the legal world, as prosecutors oftentimes have to prove that the defendant him or herself committed the crime for which he or she has been charged. Yet, when it comes to drug crimes, New York's aggressive laws spell out some situations where an individual may be guilty of a crime even when he or she did nothing wrong.