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Hamburg New York Criminal Defense Blog

Looking into underage DWI charges

For someone who is charged with drunk driving, the challenges that lie ahead can be very difficult and this is especially true for someone who is underage. Whether you are a teen who was recently pulled over for driving under the influence or your child has found themselves in this position, underage DWI charges can lead to a significant amount of uncertainty and stress about the future. From the loss of driving privileges, which can interfere with school and employment, to problems later on (college, applying for jobs, etc.), underage DWI charges can be problematic for years ahead. As a result, it is crucial to handle these allegations properly and understand what your options are, especially since so much is at stake.

Sometimes, teens drive drunk because of peer pressure, which can be very challenging during high school. Moreover, many states have zero tolerance policies with respect to drivers who are under the age of 21, meaning that any level of alcohol in their system puts them over the legal limit. Sometimes, young drivers may not be aware that even an incredibly small amount of alcohol in their system can lead to drunk driving charges. Unfortunately, the consequences of these charges can be very damaging regardless.

Understanding the basics of tax evasion penalties

With tax return season fresh behind most Americans, one common concern involves mistakes. The many details involved in filing taxes can naturally make it difficult to spot a slip-up. Because these details are vital, however, just one wrong move could come with many repercussions. Although New York has considered taking lighter steps around white collar crimes in recent years, there are nevertheless a number of legal facts to keep in mind.

In the last few years, those who have faced penalties from white collar crimes have received more understanding; however, efforts to weaken the laws that penalize these crimes are a topic of debate. As one New York Times piece stated in 2015, the House Judiciary Committee passed a measure that would ease the severity of the laws surrounding white collar crimes. Although many argue that these modifications would have only worsened the already racially unbalanced justice system, amongst other issues, others pointed out that the key focus was to leverage a sentencing reform, ultimately giving more understanding toward those who unwittingly commit these crimes. The New York Times responds by noting that the changes could have opened the door for a multitude of fraudulent practices, and the White House later appeared to agree.

Alcohol is not the only cause of DUI

When it comes to the idea of driving under the influence, most New York residents imagine a driver who had too much to drink at a bar or party. However, DWIs and DUIs cover a wide variety of situations. Driving under the influence simply means that the driver is not fully able to focus and navigate carefully behind the wheel.

The main danger of assuming that DUI only includes drunk driving is that you might not realize the ways in which your ability to drive could be affected. Take a moment to learn about the common non-alcoholic causes of DUI charges to stay safe on the road.

Understanding drug schedule classifications

Most in Hamburg may automatically assign guilt to those charged with drug possession. Their thoughts may be that law enforcement officials would have no reason to bring such charges if a controlled substance was not found to be in an individual's possession. A closer look at the state's drug laws may reveal, however, that an allegation of possession may be applied rather loosely. 

Section 220.25 of New York's Penal Law states that when a controlled substance is found in open view inside of a private room or vehicle, the presumption is that it is in the possession of each and every person that was in the immediate area. Thus, one could be in such an area where drugs are found, with no prior knowledge of their presence nor any intent to use them or distribute them, and still potentially end up facing drug charges. 

The problem with eyewitness identification

In New York and throughout the United States, victims of crimes are often asked to choose their attacker out of a physical or photograph lineup. Although this method of perpetrator identification is still widely used in the U.S., flaws in the procedure can lead to wrongful conviction of an innocent person. According to the Innocence Project, 354 people have been exonerated from their criminal sentences after DNA evidence proved they were innocent of committing a crime. At least 70 percent of those cases involved eyewitness misidentification. Why are innocent people being picked out of eyewitness lineups on such a regular basis?

Lineups that are not properly organized can lead a witness to select the wrong person. There should be more than one person matching the perpetrator’s identity included in the lineup. For example, if the perpetrator is said to have a beard and a tattoo on his arm, there should be more than one person in the lineup with a beard and an arm tattoo. Furthermore, lineup should be led by a double-blind administrator. This means that the person conducting the lineup has no knowledge of the crime. This keeps the administrator from inadvertently saying something that may lead the witness to choose a certain person from the lineup.

What is the difference between Murder 1 and Murder 2?

If you face murder charges in New York, this is very serious indeed. Even though New York abolished the death penalty for murder and all other crimes, you could face life imprisonment if you are convicted of murder.

As Diffen.com explains, New York has two murder classifications: first degree and second degree. Which you are alleged with committing depends on what you allegedly did and how you allegedly did it.

RICO: Understanding RICO Act crimes and charges

The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970 changed the prosecution of organized crime. The RICO Act is a list of 35 crimes, 27 federal crimes and eight state crimes. It creates civil and criminal penalties for people or organizations engaging in patterns of criminal activity. RICO is also used in complex white collar charges.

RICO predicate crimes

What is white-collar crime?

The term “white-collar” crime was first used in 1939 at a meeting of sociologists to describe acts or crimes that a person with a high social status commits through his or her job. Today it is used in Buffalo and throughout the U.S. to describe nonviolent crimes committed for financial gain.

There are several types of crimes that fall under the umbrella of white-collar crime, according to FindLaw, and you are most likely to have heard of them already. Security frauds, such as Insider trading, Ponzi schemes, insurance fraud and even tax evasion all are types of white-collar crimes.

Defining acts of vandalism

Some New York residents may think that graffiti is not a big deal. They may not realize, though, that this is considered vandalism. Vandalism can come in many forms and it is important for people to recognize this, as well as understand the consequences of these acts.

Many different acts are considered vandalism. According to FindLaw, any behavior that results in the defacing or destruction of another person's property is vandalism. This includes putting graffiti on a building, as it defaces the structure. Scratching paint off of cars and throwing eggs at homes are also forms of vandalism. Additionally, changing street signs and slashing tires fall into this category.

Why should I hire an attorney for a DWI charge?

Looking back, you realize that hanging out and drinking with your friends in the Hamburg area would not have been such a bad idea if you had not got behind the steering wheel afterward. Now that you have a DWI charge, you might be wondering how you can keep the situation from getting worse. Not doing anything about the charge you face leaves you at a big disadvantage. The consequences of a DWI conviction are severe, expensive and can affect your life for many decades to come. 

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is unlawful in all 50 states. Even if it is your first time getting caught, you could end up losing your legal driving privileges, having an interlock ignition installed on your vehicle and having to complete an alcohol education and treatment program, states FindLaw. An attorney can help you get a better outcome than you could achieve for yourself. 

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