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Mahopac Criminal Defense Law Blog

Drug sweep nets over 80 arrests and multiple drug charges

In New York state as well as elsewhere, drug sweeps are generally good for increasing public relations between the community and the police departments involved. However, whether they have an impact on the volume of drug operations is usually difficult to measure. Furthermore, there has generally been no evidence offered that the demand for drugs goes down in the aftermath of mass sweeps resulting in hundreds of drug charges and dozens of arrests. That fact begs the question whether the raids are worth the substantial public resources invested, both in terms of the burgeoning costs of law enforcement and the drain on court operations.

The latest large sweep occurred recently in Westchester County, and including the communities of New Rochelle, White Plains, and Mount Vernon. In all, more than 100 people have been identified for arrest but police say that more than 80 people have been apprehended to date. The sweep went straight to the streets where undercover agents made buys and conducted surveillance. The arrests involve felony charges relating mostly to crack cocaine and heroin.

Cops in botched effort to charge barber with criminal offense

The police in New York City are having a rocky season. More specifically, there seems to be some pent-up violent energy erupting, particularly in the borough of Staten Island. As the whole country now knows, a group of five or six officers were involved in a possible criminal offense after they accosted Eric Garner on a street corner this past summer and accused him of selling loose cigarettes.

Although Garner appears docile in a real-time video, the police wrestled the highly overweight and asthmatic man to the ground. He died of suffocation, as he pleaded, "I can't breathe." The officer who is seen most prominently applying a choke hold on the victim was not, however, indicted  by a Staten Island grand jury, thereby causing a widespread public outcry.  

TV star held for alleged domestic violence violations

A restraining order in New York is generally issued to prevent ongoing acts of physical abuse by one person against another. Usually, the two parties were in an intimate relationship, but a generic restraining order is something that does not require such a prior relationship or the existence of what is called domestic violence. Certain protection orders issued by the court are specifically granted only where the parties were in a domestic relationship -- certain rules are provided that must be met to institute and to extinguish the order pertaining to domestic violence.

It's important to remember that the domestic violence laws, and laws pertaining to restraining orders, are generally a function of state jurisdiction and enforcement. One must look to the state where the events occur for guidance on what laws may be applicable. Recently, a restraining order was allegedly violated by the star of a cable series called "Orange is the New Black." Taryn Manning, star of the Netflix hit, was arrested for contempt for violating an existing order that precludes her from harassing her former roommate, Jeanine Heller.

Drug charges filed against former coach after traffic stop

Drug charges arising from traffic stops always warrant some degree of extra scrutiny by criminal defense counsel. The stop must be for a legitimate traffic violation, and must not be a manufactured, pretextual event. The stop must be conducted for the limited purpose of ticketing the driver for the traffic violation. Turning a limited traffic stop into drug charges in New York or any other state can constitute a violation of Fourth Amendment rights.

A recent arrest on heroin possession and intent to sell charges occurred after Rochester police stopped a pickup truck for no license plate lamps and not signaling when turning. Police allege that the driver told them that he had just snorted heroin. Police searched the vehicle and allegedly found 198 bags of heroin, roughly the equivalent of 45 grams.

Woman charged with drunk driving two times in three hours

It may be reasonably argued that zombies should not be allowed to drive. Over the Halloween season, however, that rule is widely and jovially flouted. Police arrested a woman dressed and made-up as a zombie in upstate New York at 2 a.m. on Oct. 25. She was pulled over and charged with drunk driving after being spotted driving without headlights.

She said she had been attending a Halloween party. The Rochester native was picked up at the Montgomery County police station by a friend and driven home. She then apparently took off the zombie apparatus and proceeded to get in her car and drive again.

Man faces sex offenses involving 3 minors in New York

One man in New York was recently arrested after police said he had sex with three minor girls. The girls were between the ages of 12 and 13, police reported. The man accused of the sex offenses reportedly said that he didn't believe all girls of that age were the same, which is why it was okay for him to engage in sexual activities with them.

The man, said to be 39, allegedly committed the crimes between 2009 and 2010. The man was permitted to go onto a military base because he had befriended the mom of one of the female victims. The two had worked at the store Kohl's together.

Police file drug charges against 3 for allegedly making meth

When police enter someone's residence with a valid arrest warrant, they may make a limited search based on what they see in plain view. The New York State Police arrested two men and a woman on drug charges recently when they went to a residence in Plattsburgh to attempt to find an individual who was the subject of an existing arrest warrant. Police entered the premises and while there allegedly found needles, Sudafed, ammonium nitrate and other precursors to methamphetamine on a table.

They charged the occupants with unlawful meth manufacture, marijuana possession, drug paraphernalia, and several counts of possession of a controlled substance. When illegal contraband is found is plain view that will justify a more extended search. It is not known precisely where the precursor items were other than the allegation by police that they were "on a table."

Drug charges on the increase after more heroin overdoses

There has been an increase in large-quantity heroin busts in New York. These include huge heroin seizures by the task force in New York City and also a number of busts on the upstate highways, all leading to drug charges. Part of the reason for the upswing in arrests is due to the growth recently in the numbers of deaths from heroin overdoses in the Lower Hudson Valley.

According to the DEA, seizures of heroin have almost quadrupled since 1996. Additionally, the federal government has designated Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties as High Intensity Drug Traffic Areas. Despite the continuing efforts to wage the war on drugs, enforcement activities do not appear to curtail to any degree the continuing increase in the use and dissemination of heroin.

Popular teacher arrested for sex offenses and other charges

A clever mobile phone app allows people to send a photo that disappears on the recipient's unit after a few seconds. It's apparently a favored method to send nude or other insensitive pictures without proof that it was done. However, one young woman this past June disrupted that popular image. She took a screen picture to preserve the photo, and in the aftermath of an ensuing investigation, the 44-year-old New York teacher who sent it is now under arrest on 36 criminal charges, including a number of sex offenses.

The man taught physics, math and aerospace at Brooklyn Tech, a high school with some 5,400 students. The students who knew him the best apparently revered him as a special teacher, who spoke on their level, wore jeans, gave them cigarettes, listened to them in confidence. Dozens of students stated their admiration for the teacher and disavowed knowing about any alleged wrongdoing.  He had brought in a flight simulator and taught students how to use it.

New York man charged with drunk driving after fatal accident

It does not matter how safe of a driver a person is or how clear their driving record may be, there are often circumstances that are difficult to compensate for. For example, driving in the dark in the early morning hours could reduce a person's visibility, resulting in an accident. Although the cause of an accident in New York is unclear at this time, the driver has already been charged with drunk driving.

The accident occurred just before 6 a.m. one morning in early October. Police say that the 27-year-old driver of a sedan lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a tree. Some sources suggest there is a stop sign nearby that the driver could have missed.