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New York City Criminal Defense Law Blog

How the law defines first-degree murder in New York

First-degree murder is a class-A felony in the state of New York and subject to a variety of sentences, including imprisonment for 20 to 25 years, life in prison without parole or death. The death penalty has been ruled unconstitutional in the state of New York, however.

First-degree murder is one form of homicide under the law, and only an individual over the age of 18 can be charged with first-degree murder. Homicide is an act that causes another individual's death. The various types include first and second-degree murder, criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter.

College student accused of stabbing two fellow classmates

A 21-year-old New York City man was accused of stabbing two men on Feb. 15. The altercation took place near Schenectady County Community College where all three of the men involved in the incident go to school. As a result of the incident, the accused man was charged with attempted murder and another charge for assault.

When the stabbing occurred, the three men were reportedly inside of a privately-owned dorm called College Suites that is located near the campus. The property manager said that a surveillance camera captured video footage of the accused man chasing the other two men out of the dorm. After the men ran across State Street, they went inside the Stockade Market and Deli and collapsed.

22 New Yorkers face felony drug charges

A drug sweep centered in Rockland County resulted in 22 people facing felony charges of allegedly possessing and distributing illicit drugs to undercover police officers. The drugs cited include methamphetamine, marijuana, oxycodone, cocaine and heroin. Seven search warrants were executed, including two in New City, which law enforcement claims produced both drugs and large quantities of cash.

The 22 defendants, aged 21 to 56, are charged with an aggregate of over 80 felony drug charges, including criminal possession and distribution of controlled substances. An additional four people are being sought on arrest warrants in connection with the drug sweep. All of the transactions are alleged to have occurred in "open air" public locations in Ramapo, Clarkstown, Haverstraw and Orangetown, among others.

The risks of driving after using marijuana

Many New York residents consider drivers who get behind the wheel after taking drugs to be just as dangerous to other road users as those who drive drunk, but research indicates that this viewpoint may be misguided. While driving under the influence of any substance that impairs judgement or reactions should be avoided, studies reveal that motorists who have used marijuana are less likely to be involved in an accident than those who have been drinking.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that drunk driving has declined by about one-third since 2007, while the number of motorists with marijuana in their system almost doubled during the same period. The safety agency reports that 12.6 percent of respondents to anonymous surveys admitted to driving after using the drug in 2014. However, media reports indicate that this may not be as serious a problem as many would think.

Woman charged with DWI

Law enforcement officers with the New York State Police arrested a 32-year-old Peekskill woman for driving while intoxicated on Feb. 1. The woman was additionally charged with possession of marijuana.

According to reports, the incident occurred on Route 9 after troopers were called to the scene of a property damage accident. When they arrived, they reportedly found the woman sleeping behind the wheel of her Hyundai. Upon waking her, officers indicated she demonstrated signs of intoxication.

New York drug raid leads to 11 arrests

Residents living in New York may have been aware of a raid that took place in Schenectady on Jan. 30. Detectives with the Schenectady Police Department’s Special Investigation Unit reportedly performed an investigation at an apartment just before 7 p.m. for alleged drug dealing that was taking place there.

Detectives also reportedly found and seized both cocaine and heroin at the residence, located on 766 State Street. A total of 11 individuals were taken into custody on several charges in relation to the raid.

Drunk driving defenses for special cases

Drunk driving laws in New York and other states are intended to reduce the amount of injuries and deaths caused by alcohol related auto accidents. However, mistakes are made despite the good intentions of these laws and the authorities. There are many common and uncommon defense strategies used for challenging a driving while intoxicated charge.

While not seen very often, there are unusual cases that require less typical DWI defenses. For example, a passenger might be mistaken for the driver. Without clear evidence indicating which person was driving, both people may be acquitted.

New York man charged with drug possession

On Jan. 23, a New York man was taken into police custody after authorities allegedly seized a number of different drugs from his home. The seizure resulted from the execution of search warrant that was obtained after authorities received numerous complaints from the community, according to reports.

The search warrant was executed at 7:55 a.m. at the man's home on Sunnyside Drive in Suffolk County. During the search, the police reportedly seized heroin and prescription medication, including oxycodone, clonazepam and suboxone. Additionally, the authorities also seized a baton from the home. After he was taken into custody, the man was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance to the third degree, six counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance to the seventh degree and possession of a weapon. The man was scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 24.

How to address stolen identity

New York residents may not know what to do if their identity is stolen, even though it is a common occurrence. Individuals are encouraged to regularly review their credit reports from the three main credit bureaus to ensure that their information is accurate. If fraud is identified in one of the reports, that credit bureau is legally responsible for contacting the other two credit bureaus.

It is also required by law that the three bureaus provide an individual with a free credit report if fraud has been detected. Ensuring that there are no unfamiliar bank accounts, inquiries made by companies that are not recognizable or debts that do not make sense can protect a person's identity. Quickly reporting any of these items to the credit bureaus is recommended.

False memories may convince innocent people that they're guilty

When New York residents hear or read about certain cases where individuals either plead guilty or are convicted of a crime, they may believe that the accused person actually did commit the crime. However, it was reported on Jan. 15 that research indicates that some adults can be convinced that they committed the crime even though they were completely innocent.

The researchers involved in the study used university students in Canada as their subjects. The students' caregivers provided the researchers with a list of events that the students experienced between the ages of 11 and 14. Sixty of the students who had not been involved in any of the crimes were picked to be targets for the false memory experiment. They were then subjected to three 40-minute interviews that were held one week apart from each other. In each case, the students were told about a number of events that occurred in their childhood, though all but one of the events never actually occurred.