New York Drug Charges

New York is well known as having some of the strictest, harshest drug laws in the United States. While the laws regarding the making, sale, and distribution of drugs are complex, New York has made it clear that those convicted of these kinds of charges will face serious consequences. Extended prison sentences and heavy fines await those convicted of the distribution or manufacturing of drugs. This kind of criminal charge will follow you long after your fines have been paid and your time has been served. It will follow you on job searches and housing applications. It is difficult to escape the stigma of a person with a drug conviction on his or her record.

Drug Charges: Drug Distribution, Trafficking, and Manufacturing Offenses

There are five degrees or categories of the crime of sale of a controlled substance. The degree will vary based on things like the amount of the controlled substance and the type of controlled substance at issue. To secure a conviction for the sale of a controlled substance, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant unlawfully sold the controlled substance and knew that it was a controlled substance. There must have been intent to transfer the substance, but the prosecutor does not need to prove that the defendant knew the specific amount of controlled substance that was sold. The prosecutor also does not need to prove that the defendant ever had physical possession of the controlled substance. Additionally, there is usually no need to prove that the actual delivery of the controlled substance occurred. Agreeing or even an offer to sell the controlled substance may very well suffice to secure a conviction.

When the sale of a controlled substance involves at least $75,000 worth of the controlled substance or you sell this amount of the controlled substance on one or more occasions within six months, you may be facing drug trafficking charges. Under the New York penal code, drug trafficking is considered to be a major felony, a Class A-1 felony offense. Maximum potential penalties for this kind of offense may even include life imprisonment.

In addition to the sale and distribution of drugs, New York also considers drug manufacturing to be an extremely serious offense. Drug manufacturing involves the use of chemical processes to create a controlled substance that runs in violation of the law. The majority of drug manufacturing charges are classified as felonies. Those convicted of felony drug crimes in New York are usually not eligible for alternate sentencing. This means that things like drug treatment or rehabilitation in place of time in prison are usually not offered to defendants convicted of drug crimes of this nature. The severity of the sentence imposed on a defendant convicted of these kinds of drug crimes will depend on things like the controlled substance involved, the amount of controlled substance involved, and the criminal history of the defendant.

New York Drug Charge Defense Attorney

You do not want to go up against the New York criminal justice system alone, especially when you are facing a drug charge. The State of New York is tough on these kinds of crimes and the sentences handed down reflect this. CDH Law is prepared to mount the most rigorous defense possible to help you fight these charges. Contact us today.

Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree

Harassment Charges

Misdemeanor charges should be taken very seriously. While the penalties may not be as severe for misdemeanors as they are for felonies, facing a misdemeanor conviction still means you will potentially be hit with substantial fines, possible jail time, and other collateral damage to your personal and professional life. A misdemeanor conviction will end up on your permanent criminal record. It is something you will need to disclose on things like job and housing applications. The consequences of a misdemeanor conviction extend far outside of the justice system. This is why you should take a misdemeanor charge, such as one for aggravated harassment in the second degree seriously.

What is aggravated harassment in the second degree?

Aggravated harassment goes beyond a simple “harassment” charge in New York. There are different forms of aggravated harassment, most of which involve an intent to harass another person which is followed by certain conduct specified in the New York Penal Code. For instance, a person has an intent to harass another person and then communicates with the other person through telephone, mail, or electronic means, and threatens physical harm to the person. If you do this and knew that your actions would cause the other person to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety, then you may be charged with aggravated harassment.

In a case of aggravated harassment in the second degree, there may be a threat of harm, or there may be actual physical contact involved. The physical contact is not an essential element of an aggravated harassment charge. Nor is substantial harm necessary. As stated above, a real threat of harm that reasonably places another person in fear of harm or fearing for their physical safety is enough, combined with the intent to harass and harassing conduct, to substantiate an aggravated harassment charge.

In harassment cases, it is common to challenge the assertion that a certain course of conduct was actual harassment as opposed to just being insensitive, inflammatory, or rude. New York courts have said that profanity on its own does not constitute an intention to harass. Courts will consider many factors in determining whether conduct should be legally deemed to be harassing in nature. Courts will consider things like the age and gender of the alleged victim as well as his or her occupation. A person found guilty of aggravated harassment may be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail.

New York Misdemeanor Defense Attorneys

Misunderstandings often result in harassment cases. You may not have intended to harass another person, but your communications were taken out of context or the other person may have been particularly sensitive. Whatever the reason, you should not face the legal consequences of a harassment charge because of the misunderstanding. The dedicated criminal defense attorneys at CDH Law will help defend you against these charges so that the harassment charge does not become a conviction. Contact us today.

What is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking

The crime of stalking is defined as repeatedly harassing or threatening behavior. With the growth of the internet and various social media platforms, stalking is now potentially happening both offline and online. Cyberstalking is when the harassing or threatening behavior occurs on the internet or by other electronic means. Online behavior and all of the combative dialogue that can occur online has been a hot button topic as of late. People have a heightened sensitivity to electronic communications that may cross the line. Because of this, you may have seen an increase in cyberstalking allegations being made.

What is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is considered to be a form of cyberbullying. New York takes cyberstalking cases seriously. The fact that the behavior may have been limited to online activities and not in person does not decrease the severity of the crime. Especially considering how much personal information can be found online. A person can find someone else’ physical address, place of employment, or telephone all too easily. This means that the harassing behavior can quickly go offline to in person.

Under New York State law, stalking is considered to be conduct focused on a particular individual that would put a reasonable person in fear of a future act of imminent violence. With cyberstalking, the conduct generally involves repeatedly sending unwanted electronic communications. Cyberstalking is considered to be a Class B misdemeanor. Penalties for a person convicted of cyberstalking may include fines totaling up to $5,000 and up to 7 years in prison.

Depending on the nature of the offense and whether any aggravating circumstances were involved, the offense may rise to that of third degree stalking, a Class A misdemeanor, or second degree stalking, a Class E felony. In the most serious stalking cases, the offense may be classified as first degree stalking, a Class D felony. Circumstances that would lead to an increase in the severity of the stalking charge include:

  • The defendant was 21 or older and the alleged victim was younger than 14
  • The defendant has prior stalking convictions
  • The stalking behavior included threats to commit certain sex crimes

The most common defense to a charge of cyberstalking is that the electronic communications were not really threatening. Online discussions can quickly get heated and inflammatory marks run a plenty these days, but this does not mean a person is guilty of cyberstalking. The behavior must be repeatedly harassing or threatening in nature. It must be viewed as the kind of behavior that would put a reasonable person in fear of imminent harm. If this threshold has not been met, then the crime of cyberstalking has not occurred.

Defending those Accused of Online Crimes

The fact that you may have been a little more aggressive online or that your behavior was directed at someone who may have been highly sensitive does not mean that you should be convicted of cyberbullying. It is a serious crime and carries many highly personal consequences for a person who is convicted. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at CDH Law will help you fight a charge of cyberbullying. Contact us today.

If I Flip Off a Cop, Can I Get Arrested?

Do you sometimes have the urge to flip off a cop? If so, you are not alone. There are many examples of people who have flipped off a cop and paid the price. However, many of those individuals successfully filed lawsuits to protect their constitutional rights. While “giving the finger” to a cop in New York may not be a crime, it can result in an arrest that you must fight. If you are arrested, exercise your right to remain silent and contact a New York criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Court Rulings Regarding Hand Gestures Given to Police Officers

An officer pulled a woman over for speeding in Michigan, but the officer was merciful when he issued the ticket. The driver flipped the officer off when driving away. The officer then pulled the woman over a second time and issued a ticket for the maximum penalty for her traffic violation.

The woman filed a lawsuit claiming the officer violated her constitutional rights. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled the second stop was unjustified because the driver had not broken any laws and “at most was exercising her free speech rights.”  Judge Sutton specifically stated in the opinion that a lack of gratitude or fits of rudeness might break the Golden Rule, but that does not make it illegal.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth District also ruled in favor of a young girl who had “extended both middle fingers” toward police officers when she was eleven. She was arrested and sued for violation of her constitutional rights, among other allegations. The judge stated in part that her “gesture was crude, not criminal.”

In another case appealed from New York to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a passenger in a vehicle was arrested on several charges after “giving the finger” to an officer as the car passed the officer’s vehicle. The judge noted that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.” The court reversed and remanded the case to the lower court.

The above cases are just a few of the lawsuits brought around the country by individuals who have been arrested or suffered other consequences for “giving the finger” to a law enforcement officer.

It May Be Considered Freedom of Speech, But It is Not Recommended

While courts have ruled that your constitutional rights extend to flipping off a cop, that does not mean it is a good idea. You might eventually have the charges filed against you dismissed because the charges were not based on probable cause or a violation of the law. You might even win a lawsuit against the officers and other parties for violating your constitutional rights. However, before you are vindicated, you will deal with the cost, inconvenience, and other negative consequences of being arrested. A lawsuit may take years to resolve, and you are not guaranteed a specific outcome.

It is best to be smart when you interact with law enforcement officers. You have the right and freedom to express yourself, but the rude gesture could snowball into criminal charges that may not be able to be dismissed.

Contact a New York Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

Officer misconduct is a serious issue. If you believe your rights were violated or your criminal charges are in retaliation for another matter, you need an experienced Syracuse, NY criminal defense attorney to help you fight for justice.  You have the right to legal counsel. It is always a wise idea to exercise that right whenever you are facing criminal charges. Contact one of our New York criminal defense attorneys today.