DWIs & Conditional Licenses

If you’re convicted of DWAI or DWI in the state of New York, will you be allowed to have a “conditional” driver’s license? The answer is, “it depends.”

A DWAI or DWI conviction in New York suspends your driving privilege, but a conditional license with limited driving permission is available in some cases for some convicted offenders.


First, let’s distinguish between DWAI – driving while ability-impaired – and DWI, which is driving while intoxicated.

DWI is the more serious offense (a misdemeanor), and many first-time DWI offenders are allowed to plead guilty to DWAI (a traffic infraction), and in return, the DWI charge is dropped.

A New York motorist may be charged with DWAI if that driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level is between 0.05 percent and 0.07 percent.

The “legal limit” for DWI in New York is 0.08 percent, so DWAI isn’t a “crime.”


Still, DWAI is a traffic infraction punishable upon conviction with up to 15 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, and a 90-day driver’s license suspension.

If it’s a second DWAI conviction within five years of the first, the driver’s license suspension is for six months.

Convicted DWAI offenders also must complete New York’s Impaired Driver Program.

When a driver’s BAC level measures at or above 0.08 percent, the charge is DWI.


A first-offense misdemeanor DWI conviction in New York is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a six-month driver’s license suspension.

And just like convicted DWAI offenders, convicted DWI offenders must complete the state’s Impaired Driver Program.

A first DWI offense in this state is in most cases a misdemeanor, but a second New York driving while intoxicated charge within ten years will be filed as a felony charge.


Drivers who need a conditional, restricted driver’s license after a DWI or DWAI conviction must complete the state’s Impaired Driver Program (IDP).

And even if you don’t need a temporary conditional license, IDP must be completed before a driver can regain full driving privileges at the end of a DWI or DWAI sentence.

If you’re charged with DWAI or DWI anywhere on Long Island or in New York City, contact an experienced Long Island DWI lawyer at once, because you are going to need serious legal help.

IDP is a sixteen-hour program scheduled over seven weeks. Depending on a driver’s history and pending charges, some drivers will qualify for a conditional license upon completing IDP.


When you are granted a conditional driver’s license in New York during a license suspension period that’s part of a DWI or DWAI sentence, you will be allowed to drive only:

1. to and from work – and while working if your job duties require driving

2. to and from a class at an accredited university, college, or other accredited school that is not a high school, or a state-approved technical or vocational training institution

3. to and from required probation activities and activities required by a drug and alcohol education or treatment program you’ve been ordered to attend

4. to and from necessary doctor or hospital visits for yourself or a member of your household, but you must have a written statement from a licensed medical professional

5. to and from a state motor vehicle office on business related to your driver’s license

6. to and from your child’s school or daycare if your child’s attendance is a condition of enrollment or employment at an accredited university, college, or other school, or a state-approved technical or vocational training institution


Even upon completing the IDP, some drivers will not qualify for a conditional driver’s license. The reasons why you may not qualify include but are not limited to these:

1. You have three or more convictions that are alcohol-related in the previous ten years.

2. You have a conviction for homicide, criminally negligent homicide, assault, or criminal negligence, and that conviction arises from a traffic accident or another driving incident.

3. You have a conviction for another crime and that conviction arises from the same incident as the current alcohol-related conviction.

4. You have more than one reckless driving conviction in the last three years.

5. You have two or more driver’s license suspensions or revocations – not linked to the current conviction – in the last three years.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the reasons why someone with a suspended license may not qualify for a conditional driver’s license.

New York will refuse to grant a conditional driver’s license to any driver with a suspended license if the state believes that driver is an “unusual and immediate” risk to others.


If you are granted a conditional driver’s license in New York, you must use it carefully and abide by all of a conditional driver’s license’s terms and conditions.

A conditional driver’s license may be revoked for reasons including but not limited to:

1. any failure to attend, participate in, or meet the requirements of a court-ordered drug and alcohol education or rehabilitation program

2. a conviction for any new drug or alcohol-related traffic offense

3. a conviction for speeding, reckless driving, racing, following too closely, or other particular traffic violations occurring while driving with the conditional license

In fact, if the state receives or finds anything which suggests that you should not have a conditional license, it will probably be revoked.


If you’re convicted of DWAI or DWI in New York, but you’re not a resident of the state, what is your option? New York cannot grant any kind of driver’s license to a non-resident.

However, you may be eligible for a “conditional driving privilege” with terms and conditions similar to a conditional license.


Clearly, and for a number of reasons, no one wants to be convicted of DWI or DWAI, but there’s only one certain way to avoid that kind of legal trouble.

Don’t Drink and Drive.

If you are charged with DWI or DWAI in New York City or on Long Island, more than your driver’s license will be at stake. Your freedom and your future will also be at risk.

You’ll need immediate legal help. You’ll need to contact an experienced and trustworthy Long Island DWI lawyer who will protect your rights and fight aggressively for justice on your behalf.

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What To Do When You Have A Warrant From Another State

In the state of New York, what should you do if you learn that another state has issued a warrant for your arrest?

Can you be arrested in one state on the basis of a warrant that has been issued another state?

Keep reading, and you’ll learn what your legal rights and options are in the state of New York if you are named in another state’s arrest warrant.

Of course. we’ve all heard about arrests warrants from television shows and the movies, and even the phrase “arrest warrant” brings to mind heavily-armed and helmeted police officers breaking through doors, waving weapons, and screaming orders at criminal suspects.

The reality of executing arrest warrants, however, is almost always considerably less dramatic.


Generally speaking, for an arrest warrant to be issued, it means that someone has missed a court appearance or is being charged with committing a crime.

When an arrest warrant is issued, it is entered into national law enforcement databases, and the suspect named in the warrant may be arrested anywhere in the United States.

However, the reality is that most persons who are taken into police custody on the basis of an out-of-state arrest warrant are arrested during traffic stops – when the police officer who made the stop “runs” the motorist’s driver’s license – or in some other mundane, non-dramatic incident.

Breaking down doors happens a lot on television crime shows, but it is genuinely rare in real life.


Will you be arrested in New York if another state has issued an arrest warrant with your name on it?

Like so many questions about criminal law, the answer is, “It depends on the circumstances and details.”

How an out-of-state warrant is handled depends on the nature of the criminal charges and the amount of effort and resources the warrant-issuing state is willing to put into the case.

Under federal law, a valid arrest warrant issued by any state can be executed in any other state, but that does not automatically mean that every person named in an arrest warrant will be hunted down, taken into custody, and extradited back to the warrant-issuing state to stand trial.

What happens depends on a variety of factors. If you were arrested in Georgia, a Georgia criminal defense attorney can help.


The only court that can try a defendant for a criminal charge is a court in the criminal jurisdiction – that is, in the state – where the crime was allegedly committed.

Thus, if you are arrested in New York for a crime that you allegedly committed in New Jersey or California, you will have to be returned there – what the law calls “extradited” – to be placed on trial.

The Extradition Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires a state, upon the demand from another state, to deliver a fugitive suspected of committing a “treason, felony or other crime” to the state where the crime was allegedly committed.

To fulfill this constitutional obligation, almost all of the states, including New York, and with the exception of only Missouri and South Carolina, adhere to extradition guidelines set forth by the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA).

The UCEA sanctions the arrest of a fugitive who is accused of committing a crime by another state if the crime is punishable upon conviction by at least one year in jail.

For serious crimes, extradition is common and routine.

If you are arrested in New York for a crime committed in another state, or vice-versa, should you fight extradition?


Whether or not to fight extradition depends on the nature of the charge and whether or not you gain an advantage by waiving extradition.

In the Long Island/New York City area, seek the advice of an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney regarding any out-of-state warrant or extradition hearing.

Extradition can be a complicated, confusing legal topic, so you must have an experienced defense attorney’s insights and advice.

Let’s say the charges filed against you in another are misdemeanors.

In some cases, waiving your right to fight extradition can be used as a bargaining chip when negotiating with the prosecutor in the warrant-issuing state to have the charges against you reduced or dropped.

Your cooperation in such a case will probably taken into account.

In other cases, your attorney may advise you to request an extradition hearing and fight extradition.

Every case, every arrest warrant, and every extradition situation is unique, so you must have the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer before you sign any document or even speak to prosecutors or the police.

If you are arrested on an out-of-state arrest warrant, exercise – politely – your right to remain silent until you can consult with your attorney.


International extradition is rare. Generally speaking, under U.S. law, extradition may be granted only to nations that have an extradition treaty with the United States.

All extradition treaties agreed to by the United States require a foreign nation’s request for extradition to be submitted through diplomatic channels, usually through the that nation’s embassy in Washington and then to the U.S. State Department.

If a foreign nation’s request for extradition is in order, an attorney in the State Department will prepare a certificate confirming the existence of an extradition treaty and confirming that the crime or crimes are extraditable.

That certificate and the original extradition request are then forwarded to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The request can then be forwarded to the appropriate U.S. Attorney, who at that point will obtain a warrant for the suspect’s arrest.


If New York or any other state wants to prosecute a criminal suspect who has been located in a foreign country, that state must funnel its extradition request through the federal government, which will negotiate the extradition with the foreign country.

However, most states, in most cases, will not go to the effort of extraditing a suspect from a foreign country except for the most serious crimes.

If an arrest warrant in New York or anywhere else has your name on it, an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney can review the warrant and the other details of your case and help you fight extradition – if fighting extradition is the best strategy in your own situation.

Anyone named in any arrest warrant is going to need sound and trustworthy legal advice as quickly as possible.

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How Do The Courts Prove Drug Possession?

When someone is charged with the illegal possession of drugs in the state of New York, how does a prosecutor prove that the person is guilty as charged? Could someone who is falsely accused of drug possession be convicted anyway? What are your rights and options if you are accused of illegally possessing drugs in New York? Here’s what you need to know about drug possession and the law in our state.

While having a small amount of an illegal drug for your own personal use may not be considered the most egregious crime committed in New York, a drug possession conviction can still land a defendant behind bars in this state. Scores of New York statutes cover the sale, cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and trafficking of illegal drugs.

The criminal penalties for those who are convicted of the illegal possession of drugs will hinge to a large extent on the amount of drugs or money involved, the type of drugs, whether weapons or minors were involved, and a defendant’s criminal history. But precisely what does the state have to prove to convict someone of illegal drug possession?


The answer is that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had possession – “actual” possession, “constructive” possession, or “joint” possession – of illegal drugs. In many drug cases, these legal concepts of actual possession and constructive possession will come into play. What’s called actual possession is usually simple to prove, while the constructive or joint possession of drugs may be more difficult for a prosecutor to demonstrate.

How are these terms defined? “Actual” possession usually means that the police discovered drugs on a defendant’s “person” – that is, in a purse, pocket, backpack, stashed in someone’s socks or shoes, or sometimes even swallowed. If the search of the defendant’s person was conducted legally, the testimony of the officer who discovered the drugs is usually sufficient to convict the defendant.


A defendant’s “constructive” possession of illegal drugs is presumed when the drug is found in a location where the defendant had “dominion and control” over the area. Legally speaking, a conviction based on constructive possession means that a defendant had could and/or intended to possess and control the illegal drugs.

Constructive possession does not have to be proven by a prosecutor – it can simply be inferred. For example, if illegal drugs are discovered in a defendant’s desk or refrigerator, it can be “inferred” that the defendant had dominion and control over the desk or refrigerator, and thus over the drugs.


“Joint possession” of illegal drugs means that more than one individual had constructive or actual possession of the drugs. For example, if illegal drugs are discovered in a married couple’s kitchen or bedroom, the law in New York presumes that both spouses were in constructive possession.

Another example: When police officers stop a moving vehicle in traffic in New York and find illegal drugs in the console between the driver’s seat and the front passenger’s seat, the driver along with any passengers may all be presumed to have joint and constructive possession of the illegal drugs.

Clearly, proving actual possession is easier for the state than proving constructive or joint possession. Constructive possession is tougher to prove because the state must show that a defendant had dominion or control over the area where the drugs were found and that the defendant knew or “should have known” that the drugs were illegal. Simply being in the vicinity of illegal drugs is not sufficient to prove constructive possession. There must be something more.


When a defendant lives alone or is the only occupant of a vehicle where illegal drugs are found, that usually establishes constructive – if not actual – possession. But when a defendant is not the only resident in a home or the only occupant in vehicle, the state must provide something more to prove constructive possession.

That “something more” could be that the illegal drugs were found in the defendant’s bedroom or other personal effects, that the illegal drugs were located in plain sight, or in the case of a vehicle, that the illegal drugs were found under the defendant’s seat. Strict rules govern vehicle searches.

For instance, if a police officer stops you in traffic and believes that you are armed, you can be asked to step from the vehicle, and you can be searched. If illegal drugs are found during a “pat-down” search conducted in these circumstances, the drugs can be seized, you can be charged with possession of illegal drugs, and your rights have not been violated.


New York drug laws are designed to produce convictions. To be convicted of illegal drug possession, the drugs do not even have to be in your personal physical possession. Anyone on Long Island or in New York City who is charged with possession – constructive or actual – of illegal drugs will need the help of an experienced Long Island criminal defense lawyer who can explain how the concept of constructive possession may apply in your own drug possession case.

When someone is allegedly found possessing a large amount of illegal drugs, a simple possession charge can become the more serious charge “possession with intent to distribute.” When the drug is particularly dangerous – such as methamphetamine, heroin, or cocaine – a charge of possession with intent to distribute can mean a severe mandatory minimum penalty.

However, unless a defendant confesses or is caught in the act, possession with intent to distribute must be inferred from circumstantial evidence like the way the drug was packaged or the discovery of the paraphernalia and equipment – such as scales and plastic bags – used to sell drugs illegally.

If you have been charged with the possession of illegal drugs – or with any drug crime – on Long Island or in New York City, you should contact an experienced Long Island criminal defense lawyer immediately. A drug conviction can negatively impact your life and even land you in jail or prison. Being advised and represented by a skilled defense attorney is imperative – and it’s your right – if you are charged with any drug crime in the state of New York.

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New York’s Embezzlement Laws

Embezzlement is a “white collar” crime that is committed when money or property is stolen by someone who was entrusted to hold it – usually someone like an employee or a client. Could you be framed by a co-worker for embezzlement? Or blamed for the disappearance of money or property that you were entrusted to hold? Keep reading, and you’ll learn the details about New York’s embezzlement laws.

Embezzlement is typically a premeditated and methodical crime. Embezzlers usually work diligently to conceal embezzlement, often embezzling only a small percentage of the total of the funds or resources they are entrusted with, in order to minimize their risk of detection. When they’re successful, embezzlers may operate for a number of years without being detected.

If you take money or property without the owner’s permission, and you mean to keep that money or property, it’s theft. But when you already have temporary possession of someone’s money or property because you have been asked to watch or hold it, and you then decide to steal that money or property, it’s embezzlement. In New York, theft and embezzlement are both “larceny” and are prosecuted under the state’s larceny statutes.


When the target of embezzlement is a bank or any other institution or agency controlled or owned by the federal government, embezzlement is a federal crime. Embezzlement in most cases is considered a white-collar crime. White collar criminals often use accounting methods and computers, and their targets are often banks or other financial institutions, although individuals may also be their victims.

In many cases, an embezzler will falsify or manipulate a victim’s financial records to hide some of the assets or to acquire a portion of those assets for himself or herself. An accountant, for example, could make it look as if a client’s books are balanced while surreptitiously skimming a percentage of the client’s assets “off the top.”

So that there is no mistake or misunderstanding, state law in New York spells out this definition of “property”: it is “any money, personal property, real property, computer data, computer program, thing in action, evidence of debt or contract, or any article, substance or thing of value, including any gas, steam, water or electricity, which is provided for a charge or compensation.”


What are the potential penalties for someone convicted of embezzlement in the state New York? Petit larceny (petty larceny) is the theft or embezzlement of property valued at less than $1,000. It’s a misdemeanor, and a convicted offender faces up to one year in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000.

Grand theft is a felony in this state, with the following penalties:

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $1,000 is fourth-degree larceny, a Class E felony. A convicted offender faces up to four years in state prison.

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $3,000 is third-degree larceny, a Class D felony. A convicted offender faces up to seven years in state prison.

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $50,000 is second-degree larceny, a Class C felony. A convicted offender faces up to fifteen years in state prison.

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $1 million is first-degree larceny, a Class B felony. A convicted offender faces up to twenty-five years in prison.

The mandatory minimum prison term for a grand larceny conviction in the state of New York is one year. A convicted embezzler in this state may also be sentenced to pay a fine that is typically twice the value of the stolen or embezzled property.


At the federal level, there is no specific “embezzlement” law, so embezzlement crimes are prosecuted as fraud – mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, or bank fraud. Those crimes are punishable upon conviction by up to twenty years in a federal prison and by a fine of as much as $250,000.

Anyone who is arrested and charged with embezzlement in New York – whether the crime is charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor, or at either the state or federal level – should seek legal help at once from an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney who routinely represents defendants charged with white collar crimes in this state.

People who deal with large sums of money on a daily basis – and who deal with the record-keeping that goes with handling such sums – make plenty of mistakes. It does not mean that they are criminals. But for prosecutors, it means that embezzlement is often a difficult crime to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.”


In some embezzlement cases, a defendant may have been framed by a colleague. In cases where money or property has simply gone missing, sometimes a person is accused merely because he or she is the most convenient suspect. To convict a suspect of embezzlement, a prosecutor usually must prove that:

– A fiduciary relationship existed between the defendant and the victim.
– The defendant used that relationship to gain access to money or property.
– The defendant intentionally took the money or property without the owner’s permission.


With the countless complexities that may arise in an embezzlement case, a defendant in New York must be represented by an aggressive, experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney who will examine the details and circumstances of the case, protect the defendant’s rights, develop an effective defense strategy, and fight on a defendant’s behalf for the best possible result.

If an embezzlement prosecution goes to trial, a good criminal defense lawyer can often cast “reasonable doubt” on the prosecution’s evidence. Even a simple clerical error can sometimes look like embezzlement. There are usually a number of ways for a skilled criminal defense attorney to challenge a prosecutor’s embezzlement case.

However, if the evidence of a defendant’s embezzlement is overwhelming and conclusive, that defendant’s attorney may try to have the embezzlement charge reduced, and he or she will also argue for reduced or alternative sentencing. In any embezzlement case, a good defense lawyer will use every appropriate legal tool to bring the matter to its best possible conclusion.

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An Overview Of New York’s Restitution Laws

If you are the victim of a crime on Long Island or anywhere in the state of New York, and you suffer losses because of that incident – losses that you can document – you may qualify to receive restitution from the offender who committed the crime. Sooner or later, as you probably know, almost everyone in New York becomes victimized by some type of crime, so keep reading to learn more about restitution and your rights when you become a crime victim.

You’ll also learn exactly who qualifies to receive restitution payments, how to acquire those payments, and precisely what generates a restitution payment order from a court. This is a brief introduction to restitution, but if you are charged with a crime and you may be ordered to pay it, you’ll need to discuss the details of your specific case with an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney.

“Restitution” is defined as the payment made by a convicted criminal offender to a crime victim to pay for the victim’s losses due to the crime. Every state has established a procedure for crime victims to request and receive restitution payments. Legally speaking, however, restitution is not quite the same thing as “compensation.”


“Compensation” pays for someone’s financial losses after an incident like a car crash or a dog bite, but the person who pays compensation did not necessarily commit a crime, profit from a crime, or intentionally cause damages. Restitution, by contrast, is a repayment of the gains acquired in a crime or a payment for the damages – such as medical expenses – that are the result of a crime.

And legally speaking again, restitution is not a “fine.” Fines are preset amounts specified by New York state law and paid directly to the court as a criminal penalty, while restitution is paid to a crime’s victim or victims in an amount that will be different in every case. If you are convicted of a crime in New York, and the crime’s victim suffered financial losses that are provable, you will almost certainly be ordered by the court to pay restitution.

Here is how the restitution process works in the state of New York. When a criminal charge is filed, a prosecutor will obtain information regarding the crime from the victim, including information regarding damages – especially the damages that can be proven. When a final restitution amount is determined, and if the defendant is convicted, a restitution payment is typically ordered by the court as a condition of probation.


However, judges must consider a convicted offender’s ability to pay, and in some cases, victims will not always receive the full amount of restitution that they are actually owed. If you are owed restitution, do not expect to receive it quickly, either. Payment delays are common and happen for a number of reasons.

Most payments are made over time, and a great deal hinges on the convicted offender’s financial situation, employment status, and a number of other factors.

Listed here are some of the items that judges in New York must take into account before issuing a restitution payment order:

– the details of the crime, the charge, and the conviction
– the defendant’s dependents, if any, and his or her other financial obligations
– the defendant’s education, current economic status, and physical and mental health
– the defendant’s current employment or unemployment

What if the defendant believes that the restitution amount that he or she is ordered to pay is inaccurate or unfair? If there’s a dispute regarding the amount that should – or can – be paid, the court will schedule a hearing to resolve the dispute. When a restitution order is for less than the full amount requested, the payment is called a “reparation.” The court may also order restitution to be paid in a lump sum or in series of payments over time.

Who makes certain that probationers in New York make restitution payments as ordered? That responsibility falls to the probation officer. The willful refusal to make court-ordered restitution payments is prosecutable in New York as a violation of probation or VOP, and a VOP conviction could mean stricter terms of probation or even time in jail or prison.


If you are wondering exactly how to collect restitution if you become a crime victim in New York, here’s how. When you are contacted by a prosecutor, ask the prosecutor to request restitution for your losses. Keep receipts and all other records of the costs that were a direct consequence of the crime, make copies, and give the copies to the police, the prosecutor, and the Department of Probation.

As a crime victim, your claim for restitution will be included in any report the prosecutor or the Department of Probation prepares for the judge. If restitution is ordered, the payments a crime victim receives will come from the Department of Correctional Services or the local Department of Probation.

In New York, restitution payments may reimburse crime victims for:

– medical costs including out-of-pocket expenses for doctors, therapy, ambulance fees, other transportation costs, and related expenses such as counseling
– lost wages or other lost income
– repair or replacement costs for stolen or damaged property
– funeral costs if appropriate
– insurance deductibles
– related costs for items like towing fees, new locks, and child care costs that may be required for doctor or hospital visits or legal hearings


If you are charged with a crime in New York and a crime victim – or more than one – was injured, if property was damaged or destroyed, or if the charge is something like theft, fraud, robbery, burglary, or embezzlement, a request for restitution will almost certainly be made, and if you are convicted of that crime, the payment of restitution will almost certainly be ordered. You must have effective and experienced legal help.

On Long Island or in New York City, if you are the person facing a criminal charge, put your case immediately in the hands of an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney. If you are innocent of the crime, if your rights have been violated, or if the amount of restitution requested is a fabricated or exaggerated figure, you cannot take any chances – you must have an experienced New York defense attorney working for you.

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Decades-Old Convictions Can Now Be Sealed In The State Of New York

Across the United States, over seventy million people have a criminal history with at least one conviction. A single criminal conviction makes those individuals subject to a number of state and federal regulations and laws that limit their rights – their voting, housing, and employment rights, and their right to bear arms. Some criminal convictions also impact the convicted person’s driving privilege. Many of the rules regarding prior convictions are sensible – keeping convicted child molesters away from minors, for example – but some of the regulations are entirely unrelated to a convicted offender’s original crime and conviction.

Many of the rules regarding prior convictions are sensible – keeping convicted child molesters away from minors, for example – but some of the regulations are entirely unrelated to a convicted offender’s original crime and conviction.

If you are being routinely rejected by employers – or even by landlords – an old conviction on your criminal record may be the reason why. Beginning on October 7th, a new law in the state of New York will allow many New Yorkers to have their criminal records permanently sealed from the general public – from landlords, employers, and anyone else who is privately investigating an individual’s background.

Who will qualify to have their criminal convictions sealed? Under the new law, you will be eligible to seal up to two convictions – but only one felony conviction – provided that the convictions are at least ten years old and that you have been in no additional legal trouble since that time.

However, persons who were convicted of a sex crime or a violent felony will not qualify to have those convictions sealed. Prosecutors will be allowed to challenge requests to have convictions sealed; they’ll have 45 days after a sealing request is made to notify the court of an intention to challenge the request.


If a conviction that you need to seal is on your record, you’ll need to submit a request to the court where the criminal charge was originally filed and prosecuted. The details of the case, the conviction, and the sentence must be provided to the court along with the request for sealing. If the court agrees to a request to have a conviction sealed, the court’s decision will be entered into the state’s permanent records. The most immediate benefit of sealing a conviction is that conviction’s removal from employment background checks.

However, if a prosecutor challenges your request to seal, you may need an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney to help you prove that your conviction should be sealed. The determination regarding whether or not to seal a particular conviction is ultimately up to the sentencing judge, who can – at his or her discretion – order a hearing to consider the individual’s character and any other relevant factors.


District attorneys and their staffs in both Brooklyn and Manhattan will be sorting through what they expect will be an avalanche of requests to have convictions sealed. Spokespersons for both offices insist that they are generally supportive of the new law. A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told the New York Daily News that prosecutors in Manhattan do “not anticipate having to challenge the sealings, except on rare occasions.” Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez told the newspaper, “An old conviction for a minor or a nonviolent offense should not hold people back from moving on with their lives.”

A number of defense attorneys on Long Island and in New York City are already receiving inquiries from New Yorkers who are seeking to have old convictions sealed. One criminal defense attorney in Manhattan told the Daily News, “You’re talking about anybody who was convicted over ten years ago of an eligible offense. That could potentially be tens of thousands of cases.”

Melissa Ader, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s employment law unit, told the newspaper that the new law will help New Yorkers have “a fair chance at finding a job.” Employers in this state are already prohibited from using criminal convictions as a reason for rejecting a job applicant, but according to Ms. Ader, the illegal practice nevertheless is common. Sealing convictions, however, will prevent noncompliant employers from even knowing that the convictions ever happened. “Really the best way for a New Yorker to have a fair chance at finding a job is for an employer to not know about that conviction,” Ms. Ader explained.


Those who are requesting to have a conviction sealed should understand that “sealing” a conviction is not the same thing as “expunging” a conviction. The expungement of a criminal conviction forever erases any trace of that conviction. “Sealing” a criminal record hides that record from the public but continues to allow law enforcement officials to see the information – in extremely narrow circumstances – as specified by New York law. Who can see a sealed criminal conviction in the state of New York?

– the defendant or the defendant’s designated agent
– law enforcement agencies acting within the scope of their enforcement duties
– state or local gun licensing agencies
– employers of prospective law enforcement officers
– the FBI, when conducting background checks for gun purchase applications

If the conviction that you want to have sealed in the state of New York is only eight or nine years behind you, don’t assume that you won’t be able to do anything to help yourself for another year or two. Sealing a conviction is a complicated legal procedure, so it makes sense to start preparing a sealing request – and to start compiling the information and documents that must accompany a sealing request – at least a year or more in advance. An experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney can help.

Sealing a conviction is not automatic, and the decision is ultimately made by the sentencing judge. Thus, if you are waiting for the ten-year time period to elapse, it makes sense to do the things that prove you have been rehabilitated and that you are now a productive member of the community.

Volunteer with a charity or some other community organization. Advance your education or seek additional job training. Stay out of serious debt, stay away from illegal drugs, and don’t get into additional trouble with the law.

Thousands of convicted offenders in the state of New York are being given a unique opportunity to seal their old criminal convictions and to move on positively and constructively with their lives. If you are one of those New Yorkers, do what it takes to have your convictions sealed, and contact an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney for the legal help and advice that you’ll need.

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Suffolk County’s Judicial Diversion Program

Most states have acknowledged that first-time offenders charged with committing minor crimes may not be best served by the regular judicial process of a plea and a sentence or trial. Counseling can often help and can often deter first offenders from committing a second offense. Defendants struggling with substance abuse issues can get the help they need when they participate in a judicial diversion program.

Suffolk County’s Judicial Diversion Program (JDP) offers some criminal defendants in Suffolk County an opportunity to move forward positively and constructively with their lives, free from alcohol and drugs. The Suffolk County JDP is a program for offenders who are facing non-violent felony charges and who also abuse alcohol and/or drugs. Instead of jail or probation, the JDP puts offenders in a drug or alcohol treatment program.

The Suffolk County Judicial Diversion Program is a collaboration between the Suffolk County Probation Department and County Court personnel to provide community supervision, substance abuse treatment, and case management to drug dependent felony offenders who have pleaded guilty to a non-violent felony charge. The program includes regular court appearances and supervision by a judge, as outlined below.


Precisely who qualifies for the Suffolk County JDP? Non-violent, drug dependent offenders charged with felony drug sales or possession – or other addiction-driven felonies – qualify. The defendants must plead guilty and agree to a contract with the court which spells out the orders of the court and the outcomes for completing the program successfully or for failure to complete the JDP successfully. An individual with a record of violent crimes, a severe or persistent mental illness, or a medical condition which would interfere with Judicial Diversion Program’s requirements will not be eligible.

If you are charged with a felony in Suffolk County, and if you believe that you are not guilty of the charge, an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney can fight to have the charge against you dismissed or advocate at a trial for your acquittal. However, if the evidence against you is persuasive, and if you need professional help with a drug or alcohol dependency, it’s possible that the Suffolk County Judicial Diversion Program may actually be just right for you. Consult with your attorney before you make any decision that will affect your freedom and future.

If you are eligible for the Suffolk County JDP, after your arraignment on the felony charge, you may choose the Judicial Diversion Program as an alternative to the regular court process. A Case Manager will then work with you to develop a personalized counseling and treatment plan. While you are in counseling and treatment in the JDP, a judge will closely monitor your progress.


The Suffolk County JDP includes four phases, and participants must successfully complete each phase before moving to the next phase. Phase One of the Suffolk County JDP lasts for at least two months. This phase focuses on the offender’s choice of a drug-free life and helps an offender establish freedom from drugs and alcohol by developing appropriate life skills and coping skills.

Phase One includes:

– the start of treatment and attendance at all treatment and counseling sessions
– a weekly report, by telephone, to the participant’s case manager
– no drug or alcohol use and random, supervised drug and alcohol screenings
– attendance at all required drug court sessions
– unannounced home visits by the Suffolk County Department of Probation
– two consecutive months drug and alcohol-free to advance to Phase Two

Phase Two of the Suffolk County JDP lasts for at least four months. In this phase, the participant stabilizes his or her participation in the program, works out strategies for living without alcohol and drugs, and focuses on developing realistic educational and/or employment goals.

Phase Two includes:

– mandatory attendance at all treatment and counseling sessions
– weekly reports, by telephone, to the participant’s case manager
– continuing abstinence from drug or alcohol use
– random, supervised drug and alcohol screenings
– attendance at all required drug court sessions
– unannounced home visits by the Suffolk County Department of Probation
– start or apply for a job skills training program or an educational program
– four consecutive months drug and alcohol-free to advance to Phase Three

Phase Three of the Suffolk County JDP lasts for at least six months. In Phase Three, the participant moves toward independence, reconnects with his or her family and community, and begins planning to complete the JDP and fulfill the final program requirements.

Phase Three of the program includes:

– attendance at all required treatment sessions
– a focus on relapse prevention and development of a relapse prevention strategy
– weekly reports, by telephone, to the participant’s case manager
– continuing abstinence from drug or alcohol use
– random, supervised drug and alcohol screenings
– unannounced home visits by the Suffolk County Department of Probation
– development of a continuing care plan and a community re-integration strategy
– start a job or an education or vocational program with a goal of self-sufficiency
– six consecutive months drug and alcohol-free to advance to Phase Four

Phase Four of the Suffolk County JDP also lasts for at least six months. Phase Four prepares the participant for release from the program and reentry into the community as a sober, productive, law-abiding individual. Phase Four focuses on the requirements for graduation from the JDP program. Attendance at treatment sessions is still required in Phase Four, along with the weekly telephone reports. Unannounced home visits and random screenings may continue. Near the end of the JDP, a participant must submit a written graduation application that spells out his or her accomplishments in the program and goals for the future.


The court responds to violations of the program’s terms and conditions with a system of incremental or “graduated” sanctions. Violations are classified on the basis of their severity as “A” level infractions (serious infractions like flight from the program or a new arrest on a new charge) or as “B” level infractions (such as substituting or tampering with a urine sample). The number and severity of a participant’s violations determine the court’s response.

If you are charged with a non-violent, drug or alcohol-related felony in Suffolk County, and if you are dealing with a chemical dependency or addiction, the Suffolk County Judicial Diversion Program may be your chance to get the help you need. After an arrest for any criminal charge, anywhere on Long Island or in the New York City area, speak with an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney about your options. Sometimes an arrest isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Sometimes, for those who are willing, an arrest can be a positive turning point in someone’s life.

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How to Fight a Speeding Ticket in Suffolk County

Speeding is a factor in about thirty percent of the fatal traffic accidents in the state of New York. There’s no doubt that more lives could be saved if more motorists would drive just a bit slower. Nevertheless, if you’re cited for speeding in Suffolk County, instead of just paying the fine, speak first to an experienced Long Island traffic ticket attorney. It’s usually worthwhile – for a number of reasons – to fight a speeding ticket.

One important reason to fight a speeding ticket is because the possible penalties for speeding in this state, listed below, are severe:

– a $90 to $150 fine and up to 15 days in jail for speeding up to 10 mph over the limit
– a $180 to $300 fine and up to 30 days in jail for speeding 10 to 30 mph over the limit
– a $360 to $600 fine and up to 30 days in jail for driving more than 30 mph over the limit
– a $45 to $150 fine and up to 15 days in jail for “excessive or inappropriate” speed

Another good reason to fight a speeding ticket is this: the consequences of a speeding ticket do not evaporate and disappear just because you pay the fine. Paying the fine is an admission of guilt – a “conviction” in effect – that puts points on your driving record. When points go on your driving record, your automobile insurance rates can skyrocket.

In other words, a fine might be only the “tip of the iceberg” of a speeding ticket’s real long-term cost. “The fine is just the beginning,” according to John Bowman, Communications Director for the National Motorists Association.


If you are convicted of three or more speeding infractions over a period of eighteen months in New York, your driver’s license is revoked, and every New York driver should be aware that if you are accused of speeding in a construction zone, the fine is doubled.

If you are found guilty of speeding in New York, along with paying a fine, you’ll also have these points placed on your driver’s license:

– for speeding up to 10 mph over the limit: 3 points
– for speeding 11-20 mph over the limit: 4 points
– for speeding 21-30 mph over the limit: 6 points
– for speeding 31-40 mph over the limit: 8 points
– for speeding more than 40 mph over the limit:11 points

Whether or not you are actually guilty of speeding, these are among the reasons why most lawyers would tell you to learn all of your legal rights and options before you pay any fine for speeding. With just a bit of research and work, along with some guidance from an experienced Long Island traffic ticket attorney, you might be able to pay a lower fine – or no fine at all – and have no points placed on your driving record.

For many jurisdictions in New York and across the United States, speeding tickets are a reliable source of revenue. The National Motorists Association, which describes itself as a “grassroots alliance of motorists joined together to protect our rights,” says that local governments collect literally billions of dollars every year from motorists who pay traffic tickets. The group encourages every driver to fight every traffic ticket.


The truth is, if you are cited for speeding in Suffolk County, you should take advantage of every available legal measure to try to reduce the amount of your fine and to keep it from affecting your auto insurance rates. When you consider the combination of a fine, court costs, increased insurance rates, and points on your driver’s license, that’s a lot to pay for driving seven or ten miles per hour over the speed limit. But whatever you do, don’t ignore a speeding ticket. It does not go away, and overlooking it will just lead to more fines or eventually cost you your driver’s license.

Whether it’s out of fear or just complacency, the overwhelming majority of drivers cited for speeding in New York simply admit their guilt, pay the fine, and deal with the consequences. To plead not guilty to speeding in Suffolk County, obtain an attorney’s help at once, and make a copy of your speeding ticket because you’ll need to send the original right back.

Read the “not guilty” instructions on the speeding ticket and check the “not guilty” box on the back of the ticket. Complete the information requested, sign it, and return it within forty-eight to the Suffolk County Traffic & Parking Violations Agency (SCTPVA).


SCTPVA will respond with a letter telling you when and where a hearing – called a “conference” – has been scheduled. Your attorney will examine every detail of the speeding ticket. Anything that’s incorrect on the ticket works in your favor.

Your attorney can also file a discovery motion to obtain every available bit of information about your case – from the officer’s notes to the current calibration certificate for the radar device the officer was using. Any detail might be helpful, and any information that’s inaccurate or missing might be grounds for having the charge dismissed.

Traffic court is not felony court, so many drivers will find the judge and prosecutor willing to offer some amount of flexibility. Your attorney might be able to approach the prosecutor in your case and simply ask for a reduction of the charge and fine.

At the National Motorists Association, John Bowman says, “If you give the court the impression that you are serious about fighting the ticket, you are going to have a lot more leverage and control over the process.”

While no guarantee can ever be offered regarding the outcome of any legal procedure, a good traffic ticket attorney may be able to have the speeding citation against you dismissed or at least reduced to a lesser charge.

In Suffolk County and anywhere on Long Island or in the New York City area, if you are dealing with a speeding ticket or any traffic violation, get legal help and speak immediately with an experienced Long Island traffic ticket attorney. According to John Bowman and the National Motorists Association, “You can never go wrong contesting a ticket if you have the time and energy, because you’re almost always going to come out ahead.”

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Senator Wants Tougher Penalties For Sex Crimes on Subways

One state senator in New York wants more arrests in New York City’s subways and tougher punishments for those convicted of what are called “subway crimes,” predominantly crimes like groping, sexual assault, and public lewdness. The penalty for “forcible touching” – currently a jail term of up to one year – would be increased to as much as seven years in prison under the senator’s proposal. State Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island has released a document titled “Perverted Justice: How Subway Grinders Continue To Victimize New Yorkers,” and she’s using it to gather support for new legislation that would “crack down” on subway crimes.

The senator’s crime report, based on statistics provided by the NYPD, shows that while New York City crimes rates may be dropping on the streets, subway crimes – or at least the number of reported subway crimes – have been increasing. At the same time, according to Senator Savino’s report, arrest numbers for subway crimes have declined.

That, however, depends on how you look at the figures. But whether or not the senator succeeds and passes new legislation, the police in New York are almost certain to feel political pressure and respond with their own crackdown on subway crime. It’s a situation where even innocent people are more likely to be arrested.

If you are charged with any type of a crime on a New York City subway – or anywhere else in New York City or on Long Island – you will need to speak as quickly as possible with an experienced Long Island criminal defense lawyer. If you are arrested, do not admit any guilt or even answer any questions until you can speak with an attorney.

Just tell the police, “I prefer to exercise my right to remain silent.” Especially in a criminal case that involves an alleged offense of a sexual nature, your defense attorney’s training and experience can make all the difference.


What do the numbers say about subway crimes? In 2016, reported sex crimes on New York City subways increased 52 percent over the 2014 figure and 28 percent over the 2015 figure. In 2014, 620 sex crimes on New York City subways were reported. In 2015, the total was 738. In 2016, the total was 941. Reports of forcible touching on New York City subways rose from 340 in 2015 to 454 in 2016. Public lewdness reports increased from 227 in 2015 to 286 reports in 2016. Sexual abuse reports remained almost unchanged with 130 reports in 2015 and 126 reports in 2016.

Dermot Shea, who is the Chief of Crime Control Strategies for the NYPD, believes that the crime rate in the subways is not actually increasing. Instead, Shea believes that the only thing increasing in the subways is the number of crimes that are being reported. “If I was going to say one thing and broad-stroke it, it’s the increased reporting, really, of what we’re seeing – not necessarily increased acts.”


Over the past few years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has made it easier for New Yorkers to report subway crime allegations. In 2014, the MTA established an online web page to receive anonymous subway crime complaints. And although the percentage of arrests versus reported crimes has slightly dipped since the web page went up, the actual number of arrests for reported sex crimes on New York City subways, in fact, increased from 403 in 2015 to 491 arrests in 2016. Many of those arrests were the result of complaints received online.

Just over a third of those who were arrested for subway crimes in New York City in 2016 – and through May 28th of this year – have at least one prior arrest for a similar subway crime. Senator Savino believes updated statistics are sufficient justification for the harsher criminal penalties she is proposing. Her report unequivocally states: “This data demonstrates that elevated penalties are needed for first time arrested offenders.”


What kind of “elevated penalties” is Senator Savino proposing? She’s hoping to gather support for a legislative proposal currently moving through the New York State Legislature that would make “forcible touching” – that is, groping, which is overwhelmingly the most frequently reported New York City subway sex crime – a Class D felony instead of a misdemeanor, thus making the maximum sentence for a conviction seven years plus a $5,000 fine. The current maximum sentence for a forcible touching conviction is a year behind bars and a $1,000 fine.

The proposal, New York Senate Bill S3861, would also expand the definition of sexual abuse in the first degree so that someone would be guilty of the offense if he or she intentionally subjects another person to sexual contact without that other person’s consent while being a passenger of public transportation, for the sole purpose of the sexual gratification of the offender. The proposal was passed by the New York State Senate in the first week of June and is currently headed to the New York State Assembly for consideration. If the Senate vote – 57 to 5 – is an indication, the proposal may actually be law by the time you are reading this.

The efforts of the New York Police Department to protect the public are to be applauded. The only problem is when you are charged with a sex crime – or any other type of crime – on a New York City subway, and you are not guilty. There are a number of reasons why this could happen – a misidentification, a casual friendly comment misinterpreted, or in some cases, even a completely fabricated story about a sex crime could lead to a wrongful arrest.

If and when Senate Bill S3861 becomes the law in New York, it will be aggressively enforced at first, and that’s also a time when a wrongful arrest is likely to happen. Anyone who is charged with forcible touching, public lewdness, or any other crime of a sexual nature on Long Island or in New York City will need to speak as quickly as possible about your case with an experienced Long Island criminal defense lawyer who can fight for justice on your behalf.

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Violation of Probation (VOP)? Here’s What You Need To Know

Anyone who is arrested and charged with a crime on Long Island or in New York City should obtain legal help at once and arrange to meet with an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney. Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, and whether the defendant is innocent or guilty, he or she will need an experienced New York defense attorney’s legal advice and representation.

Probation is often one of the penalties when a criminal sentence is handed down in this state. A convicted offender must agree to and sign a “Conditions of Probation” form before a judge will order probation. Of course, anyone who is being prosecuted for a crime should not sign any document or agree to any plea bargain before discussing the matter with his or her defense attorney.

In New York, anyone sentenced to probation must adhere to the conditions and terms, which typically include avoiding criminal acquaintances, finding and maintaining a job, unannounced drug tests and unwarranted searches, and meeting on a regular schedule with a probation officer. Anyone who is sentenced to probation must take it seriously. The failure to take probation seriously could lead to a violation of probation (VOP) charge.


When a probation officer reasonably believes that an offender has violated the terms of his or her probation, the court is told, and the offender must then appear at a violation of probation hearing, where it is imperative to accompanied by an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney. Sometimes, a good defense attorney can persuade a judge that no violation of probation took place.

However, if the court concludes that the offender is guilty and has, in fact, violated the terms of probation, more conditions may be added to the probation, or the offender may even be ordered to serve time in jail or prison. A violation of probation charge in the state of New York is handled in four stages: the arrest, the bond hearing, the violation of probation hearing, and the sentencing.

Because an offender serving probation has already been found guilty of a crime, many of the rights that criminal defendants may typically expect will not apply to violation of probation hearings. Although the procedure is similar in most ways to any other criminal hearing, there is no right to bond and no right to a jury, and guilt may be established by a simple “preponderance of the evidence” rather than the usual “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

When a probation officer in New York reasonably believes that an offender has violated the terms of probation, he or she submits an affidavit to the court which explains the alleged violation and describes the probation officer’s evidence. After reviewing the affidavit, the judge will issue an arrest warrant and the offender will be taken into custody and given a date for a bond hearing.

A probation officer, without an arrest warrant, can arrest and take directly to jail anyone serving felony probation. However, in some cases, a summons will be issued, and no arrest will be made provided the offender appears in court on the date specified by the summons. A summons is more typically issued if the alleged VOP is a misdemeanor charge or if the only violation is falling behind on fines, fees, and court costs. Otherwise, a VOP charge probably means an arrest.


When a probationer is placed under arrest for a VOP charge, he or she will be taken to a bond hearing. Persons serving probation have already been convicted of a crime, so they have no legal right to bail. While some judges in New York will set a bond in a VOP case, most will not. Bond in a VOP case, like a summons, is more likely if the alleged VOP is a misdemeanor charge or if the only violation is falling behind on fines, fees, and court costs.

Therefore, most offenders facing a VOP charge go to jail until the VOP hearing. Depending on the jurisdiction where the case is heard in this state, a VOP hearing could be set for as little as two weeks after the bond hearing or as long as three months. If an offender’s VOP is a new criminal charge, a Long Island criminal defense attorney may suggest asking for a continuance of the VOP hearing until the new case is concluded.

Why ask for a continuance? Because in such circumstances, if the probationer is found not guilty or the charge is dropped, the VOP charge will sometimes be dismissed as well. But in other cases, the state may nevertheless proceed with a VOP hearing, because the standard of proof is less for a VOP charge – a preponderance of the evidence rather than guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – so the prosecution is more likely to win a conviction with the VOP charge.


An already-convicted offender has no right to a trial by jury, so in this state, a VOP hearing is conducted by and decided by a New York judge. Both sides present their cases, a judge considers the arguments and the evidence, and then the judge issues a verdict based on a preponderance of the evidence.

For a probationer to be convicted of VOP, the state must demonstrate that the VOP was “substantial” and “willful.” A positive drug test, for instance, is strong evidence of a substantial and willful violation of probation.

In a VOP hearing, the state presents its evidence and witnesses first. Often the probation officer will be the state’s only witness. When the probationer’s attorney cross-examines the probation officer, the attorney will try to get the probation officer to indicate that the violation may not have been willful or substantial. When the state completes its case, the defense has the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence, and the prosecution will be allowed to cross-examine any defense witnesses.

If the prosecutor wishes to make a rebuttal, that happens after the defense concludes its case. Closing arguments are then heard from both sides. The judge then considers the testimony, the arguments, and the evidence. Finally, the judge renders a decision.

Under the standard of the “preponderance of the evidence,” there is no necessity for the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The “preponderance of the evidence” standard is essentially a 51 percent rule, so a guilty verdict simply means it is “more likely than not” that the defendant committed the violation of probation.

Of course, a probationer found not guilty of VOP is still on probation for his or her original conviction. A guilty verdict means that the offender could be sentenced to any penalty that could have been imposed for the original conviction, including time in jail or prison.

In most VOP cases, however, the sentence for a VOP conviction is “time served” (while awaiting the VOP hearing), reinstatement (of the original terms of the probation), or a new probation sentence, typically with tougher terms and conditions than the first.

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