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Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Law Blog

Harsh penalties for failing to stop for school buses

In a matter of days, New York schools will open their doors, and teachers and students will settle into another year of discovery and learning. Your children may already be expressing excitement or dread over the new year, and you are preparing for those first chaotic mornings as you jump back into your routine.

You are certain to have many mornings when things do not go smoothly, and you find yourself rushing out the door, late for work again. The last thing you need is to get stuck behind a school bus that seems to stop at every block to pick up kids. However, think carefully before you attempt to pass that bus. You may face consequences that go beyond a traffic ticket.

When can police make an arrest for drunk driving?

Facing criminal charges related to drunk driving in New York can be discouraging and overwhelming, even if it is your first offense. You understand that it's important to fight for your future by fighting the charges against you, but where should you start? How can you protect your rights?

One of the most important elements of protecting your rights is knowing your rights and how the DWI process works. If law enforcement violated your rights or there were other problems with your DWI arrest, you can challenge the case against you. An evaluation of your case can help you understand what defense options are available to you and how you should move forward.

Here’s what ALL drivers should know about AUO charges

When you receive your driver’s license in any state, you are granted a privilege that may be revoked should you violate the law. The type of law you violate, and your driving history may affect the consequences associated with your charges. For example, in New York, a driver found guilty of fleeing the scene of an accident, driving under the influence, and even failing to pay child support may get their drivers’ license suspended or revoked.

Anyone caught driving with a suspended or revoked license may be charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation (AUO). There are three degrees of penalties associated with an AUO. Here is what you need to know:

Man found with the drug Khat during traffic stop

When law enforcement in Upstate New York sees a vehicle that has committed traffic violations, a traffic stop will be made. As they investigate, it is not uncommon that the officers will see a driver or others in the vehicle who are behaving suspiciously or there is a smell of drugs coming from the vehicle. This will spark a search. If drugs are found, an arrest will be made. Although these allegations can be serious depending on the drugs that were allegedly found, the amount and other circumstances, there are still avenues of defense that can be effective and a law firm that is experienced in providing drug defense can help.

A 41-year-old man was arrested after the drug Khat was found in his vehicle after a traffic stop. The incident began at approximately 1:20 a.m. when troopers spotted the vehicle having committed traffic violations. They spoke to the driver and claimed to have established probable cause to conduct a search. During the search, they found more than 100 grams of Khat. Khat is a Schedule I drug. It is a stimulant that is found in Africa. The man was arrested and faces fourth-degree possession. It is a felony. He is also facing violations related to traffic incidents and issues with his vehicle.

Man faces multiple offenses for DWI after stop, low-speed chase

Being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in New York can result in short and long-term problems that can negatively affect a person's life. Often, the person will make the mistake of compounding a traffic stop and DWI investigation by deciding to flee law enforcement. This can set the stage for worse penalties, if there is a conviction.

Recently, a man who allegedly passed-out behind the wheel of his car with his foot on the brake was arrested. The man, 26, was sitting in traffic, and he was slumped over the steering wheel. Officers knocked on the window to wake the man. After several tries, he woke up, and saw the officers. He then refused to comply with commands and tried to leave.

What penalties accompany problem driver restrictions in New York?

Drivers here are expected to adhere to the traffic laws when they are on the road. That includes the basics, like staying within the posted speed limit, not making reckless or negligent actions and driving while sober. However, mistakes happen, and people can face allegations that they have committed traffic violations. Whether they are guilty or not, it is imperative to understand the various penalties that can be assessed should there be a conviction. For some, a problem driver restriction can be placed on the person's driver license.

When there is a problem driver restriction, the person will only be allowed to drive in the following circumstances: when he or she is going to and from their place of employment; while they are within their hours of employment, if driving is part of the job; to go to and from medical appointments for the individual and a member of the household; to go to and from a motor vehicle office for issues regarding the license; to go to and from a daycare or school of the child's attendance is required for the person to stay employed; and to go to and from a school, university or other educational entity where the person is enrolled.

Woman faces allegations of stealing from people in her care

People in the Hudson Valley and throughout Upstate New York who are trusted in a job are expected to reward that trust by doing what they are required to do based on the terms of employment. It goes without saying that they are not expected to take things that do not belong to them. That includes money, property and assets. Those who are trusted to care for the elderly and disabled are often accused and charged for theft. While these allegations are serious, it does not automatically mean they are true. For people who make their living as caregivers, a criminal charge like this can not only result in long-term consequences, but it can negatively impact their job prospects. Having a lawyer is critical to a defense.

A 50-year-old woman was arrested for allegations that she stole from people she was caring for. The charges include the theft of thousands of dollars, jewelry and other items from a person she cared for. The person she was caring for was an ill adult. In addition, she is being investigated for other accusations of stealing from another person, an elderly individual. The woman faces charges for grand larceny in the third-degree and for crimes related to placing disabled or incompetent adults in danger. These are felony charges. The investigation is continuing.

What should I know about a plea negotiation in New York?

When a New Yorker is arrested on criminal charges, there will be a litany of concerns that must be addressed. Among them is the potential consequences they will face. The penalties will inevitably vary depending on the alleged crime that was committed. If it is a lower-level crime, then the possible jail sentence, fine and more will be less than if it is a felony offense involving drugs, weapons or violence. Regardless, understanding how the state oversees a possible plea negotiation, when it is possible and if it is wise to accept it is an important factor in any case.

With plea bargaining, the legal representative for the accused will talk to the prosecutor about the options for a settlement of the charges without the need for a trial. There is no specific time at which the plea bargain must take place. It can be from the time the person is arraigned all the way through the trial. The prosecutor is under no obligation to offer a plea bargain, but in some cases, it is better for all parties to do so. The judge must approve the agreement. An example might be a person who will agree to a reduced charge from the original allegations and avoid jail time.

Head of Upstate New York children's program faces DWI charges


There can be a negative impact for a conviction for driving while intoxicated regardless of who is confronted with the allegations. This is magnified when the accused is a person who has a prominent job with a public agency and is entrusted with the interests of children in New York State. For those whose entire livelihood can be damaged by a DWI conviction and other charges, it is even more important to have a strong legal defense against the charges to seek a positive outcome.

A 56-year-old woman was arrested on several charges related to DWI after an accident. The incident occurred in the evening when the woman's vehicle, a 2014 Toyota Sienna, crashed into a concrete divider and then overturned. It was close to railroad tracks in the area. After the crash, the woman got out of the vehicle and tried to flee.

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James M. Wagman, Attorney at Law

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