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Albany personal injury and criminal defense law blog

What must be shown to prove drug possession?

To present a successful criminal defense, understanding the charges one is facing is very important. Knowledge of the law, such as what one is being charged with and what must be proven in a court of law, is crucial for understanding how one can defend against criminal charges.

While New York separates controlled substances and marijuana related offenses into separate categories, their elements are pretty much the same. Elements are those prongs of the law that must be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt in order to get a conviction.

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

If a New York resident is injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident caused by someone else's negligent behavior, they may have been told by loved ones to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, not many know what a personal injury suit is and the basics surrounding it.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is one way to protect one's rights after becoming injured in a crash or through some other incident, such as slipping and falling in someone else's premises. When someone else is responsible for causing that harm, the accident victim can try to hold him or her legally responsible for their behavior by establishing their fault in the incident in question.

New York legalizes e-bikes and e-scooters despite concerns

New York State has finally and unambiguously legalized electric bikes and scooters, despite claims from around the country of an outsized hazard these little vehicles represent.

New York City has cautiously experimented with allowing them, but most of the rest of the state has not yet seen them “in the wild.” Many more e-bikes and e-scooters are likely to appear in the immediate future around the state.

Ex-pitcher arrested on drug possession charges

The last time New Yorkers saw the Mets win the World Series Championships was in 1986, and many may remember Dwight Gooden as the hero pitcher who got them there. Unfortunately, his drug troubles drove him out of the career that got him into the Hall of Fame and made him a household name many years ago.

According to the ex-pitcher, he missed the 1986 World Series parade because he was doing drugs at the time. He tested positive for cocaine before the 1987 season and also the 1994 one. He was suspended for the whole season in 1995 for failing a drug test. He violated his probation in 2006 and also arrived to meet his probation officer high, for which he served time in prison.

What are field sobriety tests?

It is a sight New York drivers probably dread seeing in their rear-view mirror: flashing red and blue lights. Police can either conduct random traffic stops or pull over a driver based on a suspicion that the driver is impaired or drunk while driving. When this happens, the officer usually conducts a three-part field sobriety test to observe the driver's balance, attention level and physical activity.

In the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, officers are trying to see if the suspected drunk driver can follow a moving object smoothly, if the eye jerks when it is at its maximum deviation and if the eye jerks when it is 45 degrees from the center. Eye jerking is exaggerated when someone is impaired by alcohol, which is what the officers are looking for. The walk and turn test is the officer's attempt to see if the driver can complete tasks with undivided attention. The suspected drunk driver is asked to take nine steps along a straight line and then turn back and return in the same way.

Does where you sit in the car impact injuries in a crash?

For years, New York residents, like their counterparts across the country, have probably been under the impression that the best way to avoid auto accident injuries is to sit in the back seat. The back of the car is occupied more often, as older adults who have given up driving are more likely to sit there, as are Uber and Lyft passengers. However, improving technology and new research has demonstrated that the back of the car may not be as safe as it was once thought to be.

According to researchers, seatbelts in the back seat do not have load limiters. This means they cannot loosen up. Therefore, in a frontal car accident, the seatbelt is likely to injure passengers. It can cause spinal, back and abdominal injuries, regardless of the age of the occupant. Better technology is already combatting this problem, as seatbelts can now tighten as the car feels a crash is about to happen or loosen up if the passenger is pressing against it so hard that the belt itself might cause an injury. These new developments have not been translated into the backseat, which is why many experts are recommending older passengers sit in the front instead. This does not mean that passengers should skip wearing a seatbelt, as the dangers of not wearing one severely outweigh the risks of wearing one.

Motorcyclists face TBI risks, but helmets help

The sun is shining, and people are getting their motorcycles out of storage for the summer. While getting on your bike and hitting the open road is a great way to enjoy the weather, motorcycling can be dangerous. On average, 150 people die in New York motorcycle accidents each year and there are over 1,500 injuries.

Injuries sustained during motorcycle crashes can be severe, and some of the worst include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). But luckily, study after study has shown that you can decrease the likelihood of suffering a TBI by wearing a helmet.

Auto insurance and medical bills don’t always match up

In New York, you need auto insurance to drive legally. This might lead you to think that the guilty driver’s insurance would cover your bills if you got into an accident, but the numbers don’t always support that assumption.

New York law says that drivers need insurance worth $25,000 for body injury. It also demands that you carry $50,000 coverage for accidents that injure two or more people. But these amounts fall well below the average cost of hospitalization. According to the New York Department of Health, Albany County drivers sent to the hospital faced an average medical bill of $74,092.

What is my constitutional right to privacy?

There is a common misconception that when an Albany resident sees a policeman or woman knocking on the door, he or she should open it and allow them to come inside the house to search it. This is not the case-police officers either need a warrant to enter and search private property or should seek and receive consent. It is important to understand that giving consent is not essential and without it, evidence seized from a warrantless search is most likely going to be inadmissible in court.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to privacy and the freedom from unreasonable governmental intrusions. The Fourth Amendment protects against those searches and seizures that are unreasonable under the law. Therefore, it is important to know what circumstances can be considered reasonable and what constitutes a violation of one's fundamental rights. Without this understanding, evidence that could otherwise be excluded might end up making it to trial.

What defenses are available against drug charges?

While it may seem like drug possession charges are final and cannot be challenged, this is not always the case. Albany residents who are facing criminal charges should know that they have legal defenses available to them and an experienced attorney can help them prepare an aggressive defense to protect their rights.

Defendants have the constitutional right to due process of law, which means that searches and seizures preceding an arrest should be lawful. While drugs found in plain sight can be used as evidence after a legal traffic stop, items found after prying open the car's trunk when permission is not given can violate someone's constitutional rights. This is perhaps one of the most common drug charges defense strategy that can be used.

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