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New City Criminal Defense Law Blog

Drugs allegedly cause accident that kills elderly couple

Drunk driving is a familiar cause of horrific traffic accidents in New York City and its suburbs, but the connection between drug usage and car accidents is not as well-known. A recent two-car accident in Rockland County that police have blamed on the alleged abuse of prescription drugs may help people realize that being charged with driving while under the influence of drugs, even prescription drugs, can have equivalent consequences to being accused of drunk driving.

A couple in their late 60s who had been married 47 years were returning home from Sunday brunch when their Toyota Camry was struck by a Lincoln MKV SUV at the intersection of Goebel Road and Route 304 in New City. The driver of the Camry was declared dead at the scene. His wife was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital but died before the ambulance reached the hospital. The driver of the Lincoln was apparently uninjured.

Prep school staff member runs up $400,000 on school credit card

Credit cards, especially cards issued to businesses for use by their employees, are frequent targets for theft or larceny. An administrative assistant at an exclusive prep school in New York City has been arrested and is facing criminal charges for using a school-issued credit card to purchase luxury goods and $150,000 in gold bullion.

The employee was an administrative assistant at the school who reported to the director of fund raising. Ironically, her job was monitoring the school's credit card accounts. She is charged with using the school's credit card to purchase gold bullion and several hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of clothing and jewelry. Among the allegedly illegal expenditures was a trip to Los Angeles. The district attorney's office is still investigating an additional $50,000 in alleged thefts.

Alcohol and drug-related driving offenses in New York

Driving an automobile while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New York. The severity of the crime and its punishment in the criminal law system depends upon the amount of alcohol (or drugs) in the driver's blood at the time of the arrest.

The most common crime involving drunk driving is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). A blood alcohol content of 0.08% is the minimum threshold for conviction. Aggravated DWI is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.18 or higher. A BAC level of 0.5 to 0.7% is the threshold for Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). Driving while a person is impaired by either a single drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol is a crime, but the law does not prescribe any blood content measurement to establish guilt.

Police break up Staten Island prescription drug ring

Two residents of Staten Island were recently arrested by New York City police in connection with their roles in operating and directing a prescription drug trafficking ring that operated on Staten Island and in Brooklyn. The drug arrests included the two men alleged to be ringleaders and four others who were involved in the operation.

Police have alleged that the drug ring operated from August 2016 to October 2016. The six members of the ring have been charged with scheming to obtain the drugs from pharmacies and then sell them on the black market. The drug ring trafficked mostly in opioid painkillers. The operation is alleged to have fraudulently filled prescriptions for more than 2,800 oxycodone pills and then given the pills to the ring's leader for sale on the black market.

Times Square driver may have been high or mentally ill

Times Square is normally filled with pedestrians, especially during the noon hour in the summer. A driver who claims to have heard voices, and who may have been high on drugs, drove his car into Times Square crowd, killing one person injuring 22 others. The question being asked by police is not how the accident unfolded, but what motivated the driver to engage in such dangerous conduct. Was the incident the result of drunk driving or some other interference with the driver's cognitive abilities?

The incident began when the driver allegedly heard voices telling him to hurt people. At first, police were concerned that the incident was a terror attack. After interviewing the driver, police now believe that the driver's actions were intentional but not motivated by a terroristic intent. Police allege that the driver was impaired and out of control as he was being arrested. He was given a breath test at the police station, but he blew a 0.0 blood alcohol content level. The driver was given other tests which, according to police, may indicate that he was under the influence of one or more drugs that he ingested by smoking.

Drunk tow truck driver crosses centerline, injures two

Tow trucks and their drivers are supposed to help people when their cars are disabled or involved in a collision. A recent accident in a suburban county northeast of New York City stood this scenario on its head, as a tow truck driver collided with another vehicle, injuring two people. The tow truck driver has been charged with drunk driving and texting while driving.

The tow truck was headed north on Route 17 in Rockland County when it supposedly crossed the double yellow line and crashed head-on into a southbound Chevy Suburban. Investigation at the scene of the accident appeared to indicate that the tow truck driver was distracted by texting. Police also allege that the truck driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Former street hoops star, drug counselor, faces heroin charges

One New York resident was known for his prolific scoring ability as a street baller and his willingness to counsel black children on the evils of drugs and crime. Now, however, the hero of Brooklyn street basketball has been taken into custody and charged with masterminding a large heroin operation in the borough.

The man was one of 13 drug arrests involving the alleged sale of large amounts of heroin in the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Flatbush, Fort Greene and Brownsville. Prosecutors have accused the ring of putting $12 million to $20 million on the street. The ring allegedly sold 2 million vials of heroin on Brooklyn streets. Investigators say they recovered more than $185,000 in cash, six weapons and 2 kilos of heroin. Two of the individual's sons were among the persons arrested. The investigation, called "Operation Flying High," began last November. The man faces a sentence of 25 years to life if his is convicted.

NYC cop faces manslaughter charge in fatal accident

New York law imposes significant penalties on a person who is convicted of causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An off-duty New York City police office now faces such drunk driving charges in connection with a recent fatal accident in Queens.

The officer, who was off the clock at the time of the accident, was driving south on the Van Wyck Expressway when his Mercedes Benz allegedly rammed into the rear end of a Honda Accord. The Mercedes pushed the Honda onto the shoulder and then into a light pole. All three persons in the Honda were seriously injured. The driver died two days after the collision, and both passengers remain hospitalized and are being treated for serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. The driver, her sister, and the sister's boyfriend had been celebrating the sister's birthday on the evening of the accident.

Trial set to begin in landmark bond fraud case

Fraud in the sale of stocks and private bonds is not uncommon, but before now, no one had been prosecuted for criminal securities fraud involving the sale of municipal bonds. That state of affairs will change dramatically when an elected official of the town of Ramapo, a suburb about 28 miles northwest of New York, will face trial on federal criminal charges involving the sale of municipal bonds.

The defendant is the elected supervisor of Ramapo. Prosecutors allege that the defendant defrauded bond purchasers who helped finance a minor league baseball stadium near Ramapo. The essential allegation claims that the defendant and the former executive director of the Ramapo Local Development Corp. defrauded potential investors by concealing the city's shaky financial condition while they were actively marketing the bonds. The federal charges include securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. All are felonies.

What is New York's Leandra's Law?

On October 10, 2009, an 11-year-old New York girl named Leandra Rosado was killed in a one-car crash caused by a drunken driver. As the result of this accident, the New York Legislature passed the Child Passenger Protection Act, which is popularly known as "Leandra's Law." The law imposes additional sentences on persons who are convicted of drunk driving while a person younger than 15 years is a passenger in the vehicle.

First time offenders who have a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 or higher, or are impaired by drugs, can be charged with a Class E felony punishable by 4 years in prison. Drivers who have a BAC level of 0.08 or higher will have their drivers' licenses suspended during the criminal proceeding. If a drunk driver or a driver impaired by drugs is the cause of a child's death (if they are under the age of 15), that driver can be charged with a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment. A driver who is intoxicated or impaired by drugs and who causes serious physical injury to a child under 15 can be charged with a Class C felony that is punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years.

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