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Brooklyn, New York, Criminal Defense Law Blog

What conditions make addiction recovery and treatment successful?

Each day, hundreds of New Yorkers turn to addiction recovery programs for help overcoming drug, alcohol or other substance abuse problems. If you have a loved one who is seeking treatment, you may have wondered how you can contribute to a successful, positive and rewarding experience.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse it is important for family members like yourself, and even addiction recovery patients to be familiar with the conditions that make treatment most successful. These include the following:

  • Customization: Effective treatment programs will be customized to meet an individual’s needs outside of a narrow focus on his or her addiction alone. Other factors that have to be considered include the person’s age, gender, ethnicity, background and culture.
  • Assessment: In order to accurately determine progress that is being made and areas where modifications could increase success, a treatment program has to be regularly assessed. You can contribute by offering encouragement and being an active participant in your love one’s recovery.
  • Flexibility: Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. The process, results and overall outcome will all vary depending on the individual and his or her needs.
  • Consistency: You can encourage your loved one to remain in treatment for a consistent period of time. Regular attendance and consistent effort will help to form healthy habits and set the stage for rebuilding self-confidence, self-control and self-reliance.
  • Availability: You can help your loved one experience optimal success by ensuring that treatment is readily available and accessible whenever needed. Instant access, a solid support system and a reliable structure are invaluable to provide unrelenting encouragement and motivation.

Federal criminal prosecutions set to increase

The chances of being prosecuted in federal court for a crime are poised to increase. This is not necessarily based on the change of leadership at the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, it is indicative of a trend that has been building for the last five years.

According to a report published by pewresearch.org, the number of federal prosecutions for criminal matters has declined since 2011 and is currently at its lowest level in nearly 20 years. Specifically, federal prosecutors brought criminal charges against 77,152 defendants in fiscal year 2016. If this number seems large, consider that more than 102,000 criminal defendants saw charges in 2011. 

When mischief becomes a criminal act

The word mischief may call to mind practical jokes and other activities that are a nuisance for the victims, but certainly not a reason for alarm. However, some behaviors that may seem innocent enough could be against the law. The New York State Unified Court System provides definitions of these acts of mischief and similar offenses which may result in a criminal charge. The more extensive the damage, the more serious the charge, but even an act that results in less than $250 in damages may lead to a misdemeanor.

Two key words in the description of the laws about criminal mischief are intent and damage. A person who accidentally breaks a window with a ball would be liable for the damage, but would not have broken the law. Hitting the glass with a rock may lead to a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge, even if installing a replacement window is not expensive. It is also important to note that the description of the law speaks specifically of “another’s property.” The person who presses charges may not be the only property owner, but anyone with a name on the title has the right to make an attempt to hold the mischief maker accountable.

Charged with larceny? You can fight it

A larceny charge can come with some very severe consequences if you do not have a proper defense. Fortunately, the burden of proof rests wholly on the prosecutor. He or she must prove every single aspect of the charge beyond doubt. This means that if your attorney can cause the jury to question your involvement, even a little, you might be able to walk away without a conviction.

If you are facing a larceny charge, it is important to remember that you still have rights. One of those is the right to defend yourself. An experienced criminal defense attorney in the Brooklyn area can help you fight against larceny charges. Read further to find out more about defending larceny.

Basics of the walk-and-turn test

Having a casual drink or two with friends at dinner or after work is a common thing for people in New York to do. Equally common is driving home after these events. While this is legal, it does expose people to the risk of being accused of drunk driving if they are stopped for some other reason. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, if an officer suspects that you may be impaired, one of the things you may be asked to do is participate in three standardized tests at the location where you have been stopped.

One of these field sobriety tests is called the walk-and-turn test. One of the most important things you should know about this test is that its accuracy rate is said to be only 66 percent. Several things may interfere with your ability to actually pass this test. It measures your ability to not just walk in a certain pattern but to maintain your balance and execute other instructions like counting at the same time.

The consequences of drug possession allegations

If you are facing drug possession charges, your future may be threatened in a number of ways. In Brooklyn, and cities all over the state, many people who have found themselves in this position have had their lives turned upside down. Regrettably, some never even committed the offense they were accused of in the first place. At The Law Office of Samuel Karliner, our New York law firm knows how tumultuous life can be for those facing drug crime allegations, even for relatively minor offenses.

With regard to drug crimes, many people know that prison time and financial penalties could lie ahead. However, these allegations can affect you in other ways. For example, if you are charged with a drug offense, you may have trouble successfully landing a job in the future because of your past. Unfortunately, these charges can lead to a cycle of negativity that follows someone around throughout their life. Another way these allegations can shatter your future is by preventing you from obtaining financial aid to attend college. For some people, a seemingly small offense that took place many years ago can wreak havoc on their life for years to come, holding back their career and getting in the way of their education.

The effect of drug law changes in New York

Until 2009, New York operated under what were known as Rockefeller drug laws. According to the Correctional Association of New York, these laws were enacted by the former governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1973. They created mandatory sentencing requirements for drug offenses. They were also hailed as some of the strictest laws in the country and took away a judge’s ability to weigh the evidence and role of the person in the crime when handing down a sentence.

They were heavily criticized for being discriminatory against non-white citizens. In addition, they caused a dramatic increase in prison populations and created overpopulation issues that are still seen today. However, in 2004, the state began making changes to these laws, introducing reductions in sentences. In 2009, though, major reforms were made.

Signs of an unhealthy relationship and spousal abuse

Domestic violence and spousal abuse is often more common than many people realize. An unhealthy relationship creates unstable conditions that can set the stage for misuse of physical, sexual and emotional control. Women in New York can protect themselves from dangerous situations by understanding what type of behaviors elicit abuse. 

Womenshealth.gov provides a list of actions that could precede abuse, are illegal or qualify as domestic violence. These include the following:

  • Public humiliation in front of one’s family members, friends or acquaintances.
  • Making threats to another’s safety including children and pets.
  • Controlling behavior in regards to finances, medical needs and frequency of sexual relations.
  • Preventing a partner from spending time with family and friends.
  • Constant monitoring or stalking to know where one is at all times.
  • Forcing one to act, dress or behave a certain way.
  • Demanding sex when it is not wanted.
  • Damaging property that has sentimental meaning.
  • Blaming a spouse for personal faults, mistakes or weaknesses.

If opiate addiction leads to criminal charges, get an attorney

There has been a massive surge in opioid, opiate and heroin abuse in the United States in recent years. While this is clearly a health issue, people who use and possess any opiate or opioid, including heroin and prescription medications, are still treated as criminals.

If your or someone you love was arrested and charged with possession of one of these drugs, the consequences can be life altering. New York has a reputation of being one of the strictest and harshest states when it comes to drug law enforcement and punishment, even if the person facing charges is clearly suffering from addiction.

Are breath test readings reliable?

If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of drunk driving in New York, you may be asked to submit to a roadside breath tests. Officer’s use these devices to determine whether a driver is at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. While these tests may lead to a drunk driving charge, studies show that the device readings are not always reliable. In some cases, an inaccurate reading could result in a wrongful DUI conviction.

According to studies published by the State University of New York at Potsdam, there are several factors that can alter breath test results. The devices are designed to measure the amount of ethanol alcohol in a breath sample. Yet they have been found to pick up other substances in the mouth that mimic the ethanol alcohol structure. Furthermore, there are environment effects on a breath test device as well. These include the following:

  •          Compounds in paint removers, cleaning fluids and gasoline.
  •          Residual blood, food or vomit in a driver’s mouth.
  •          Tobacco smoke, pollution, dirt and fumes.
  •          Electrical interference from police radios and cellphones.
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