Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ithaca Cortland DWI Lawyer: Defending a violation of the Ignition Interlock Device in NY

image courtesy

Defending an Ignition Interlock Device
violation in Ithaca, NY and 
surrounding counties...

If you pled or were found guilty of a misdemeanor level DWI or higher, then you must have the Ignition Interlock Device installed on your car.  The period ranges from 12 months to 5 years if on felony probation (or longer if the DMV deems it so...).

If you blow into the device and it registers a 0.05% BAC or higher, then you can be violated for failing to comply with the program.  Technically, what you will be charged with for violating the IID will depend on how you were originally sentenced.  

If you were originally sentenced to a one-year Conditional Discharge, then you will be charged with a violation of the CD (along with a separate misdemeanor charge for the violation itself).  If found guilty of the violation, the DA can ask for a change in your sentence--and the Judge has the authority to alter your previous sentence and re-sentence you up to the maximum penalties of whatever you were convicted of...for a DWI misdemeanor, that means up to 1 year in county jail or 3 years of probation (or some combination) or they could extend the CD or add community service, etc. The sky's the limit. 

If you were originally sentenced to 3 years of probation, then your probation officer could file a violation of probation for a violation of the IID (in addition to a new crime for the violation itself --same as above).  In this scenario, the probation officer can make recommendations for new sentencing to the Judge--and the Judge has authority to re-sentence you up the maximum penalty of whatever you were convicted of... same principle as above.  Problem with a probation sentence is that the Court has already sentenced you fairly harshly by putting you on probation in the first place... The only way to increase a penalty from there is usually a jail sentence.  It will often depend upon what your probation officer says about you --and how compliant you have been while on probation. 

If you were sentenced to a Felony DWI, then the potential consequences are really serious (up to 4 years in NY State Prison)...

Problems Defending an IID Violation --Things to Know & Understand

If you went through the criminal process for a DWI, then you hopefully understand that during the original criminal case, the burden to prove whether or not you committed a crime was on the Prosecutor to prove their case "beyond a reasonable doubt."  This is the highest level of proof in the legal system.  

Unfortunately, if you are charged with a violation of the IID, the standard of proof is decreased substantially to a civil standard called a "preponderance of the evidence."  In New York and elsewhere, this civil standard is very easy to meet for a Prosecutor.  They just have to prove that "it was more likely than not" that you committed the violation... in otherwise, they just have to prove a 51% chance that you did it!  That's a low standard--barely more than a coin flip.

In the majority of IID violation cases, the Prosecutor has a report from your device that has your picture, the date, and the BAC number at 0.05% or higher.  Due to the low standard of proof, they can typically prove their case with little difficulty.  

In this scenario, you are entitled to a hearing before a Judge, but not entitled to a jury.  That also limits whatever defense we can mount because each Judge has their own personality and method of dealing with IID violations.  Some Judges are more lenient and some Judges are harsh.  It is the luck of the draw.

What strategies can we use to defend an IID violation?

In criminal defense, there are usually two avenues to defend any case-- a legal defense (i.e. challenging the PROOF that you did something) and an "equities defense."  An Equities defense is based on who you are and arguing that justice can be served by NOT punishing you harshly.  This type of defense typically requires some additional drug/alcohol treatment and assessment by an OASAS certified provider.  It also requires any info we can use to show that you are a good person who made a mistake.  The goal is to show (as best we can) that your IID violation was an aberration, not a pattern of behavior.  [although in reality, this is really your second strike against you because of the original DWI charges...]

In our experience, we get the best results for our clients when we know both the ADA in charge of the case and the Judge.  Each ADA and Judge has their own outlook on how to handle/punish these cases.  Depending on the Judge or ADA, some penalties cannot be avoided (in some towns around Ithaca --some jail should be expected for an IID violation); however, there are ways to try to limit the potential punishments by being diligent and thorough.  We often ask the opinion of the county STOP DWI Monitor as to what they think your sentence should be.  This is done on a case-by-case basis...not in every case.

If you have been charged with an IID violation or violation of your Conditional Discharge or Probation, you can give us a call for a FREE consultation at 607-229-5184.

By Attorney Mike Cyr


Copyright Cyr & Associates 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ithaca DWAI Drug Lawyer: Metabolites of a drug in your blood are NOT ENOUGH to convict on DWAI Drug in New York

image courtesy of


DWAI Drugs (VTL 1192.4) cases are difficult.  There are very "science-y" and require detailed analysis of the blood test result.  The most common 1192.4 charge is based on marijuana consumption... 

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) is the active psychoactive chemical compound in Marijuana.  However, the drug can remain in your system, in some form or another, for a very long time...even up to 30 days or longer  (if you are a frequent user).  

After the psychoactive ingredient (THC) has been processed and metabolized by your body, a drug test will still indicate the presence of the metabolized version...THC-COOH (doesn't contain Delta-9). 

Why does this matter? 

If you are charged with DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs) in New York, then the police will require a blood test.  A forensic crime lab in New York will test your blood via Headspace Gas Chromatography for the presence of any number of illicit and prescription substances... 

A DWAI Drugs case often hinges on the blood test result.  (unless you were subjected to a Drug Recognition Exam by a certified police DRE expert...a complicated topic for another post)

For a marijuana case... if the blood test result indicates the presence of DELTA-9 THC, then the prosecutor has a potentially strong case.  However, if the blood test reveals only the metabolite of THC (i.e. THC-COOH), then the prosecutor likely has an insufficient case (and it should be argued as such by defense counsel). 

In 1993/1994, two separate courts in New York determined that "the mere presence of metabolites in blood insufficient to prove controlled substance actually impaired the ability of defendant to drive."  People v. Kahn 610 NYS 2d 701 (Nassau Co Ct, 1994) and People v. Mercurio NYLJ 8/30/93, p25 Col 5 (Suffolk Co. Ct).  The important thing to note is that in BOTH of the above cases, there was also bad driving!  Even when coupled with bad driving (weaving, etc) that would normally indicate impairment to some degree, both courts ruled based on the testimony of forensic toxicologists that the metabolites alone in the blood were not enough to find the defendants guilty of 1192.4.  

Unfortunately, these cases were not decided by the New York Court of Appeals (the highest court of the state), so the issue could be further argued in the future in another Court.  But based on what we know about the science behind drug consumption in 2015, it would fly in the face of logic to go backward on those cases.  The very definition of "metabolite" means that your body has already processed the chemical... so the active effects should be over (i.e. no impaired driving).

Drugs are not quantified in New York for a DWAI drug case.

Unlike alcohol which is quantified by the percentage of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at 0.08 or higher, there is no quantifiable way that drug impairment is measured in New York.  This makes drug DWAI cases harder because the prosecutor usually has no frame of reference as to how impaired you were... 

If you are charged with a low BAC number in New York (close to 0.08% BAC), then a prosecutor may go easier on you than somebody who is Aggravated (over 0.18% BAC),  They have a relative frame of reference to make that decision.  The same cannot be said about DWAI drug cases... that makes it more difficult to argue on the defense side of things.  

VTL 1192.4 cases are tough, but that doesn't mean that are indefensible.  If you are charged with a DWAI drugs case, we highly recommend that you retain an experienced DWAI drug lawyer immediately.  Time can be critical in demanding evidence in these cases.  

If you have a questions about a DWAI drug charge, call us at 607-229-5184. 

By Attorney Mike Cyr

Copyright Cyr & Associates 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ithaca Montour Falls DWI lawyer: the Police MUST impound your car for AUO 2nd or 1st in New York!

image courtesy

New York Police Officers MUST
take/impound your car if you are
arrested for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the 2nd or 1st degrees

We represent people that have issues with drunk driving and other car-related crimes.  One of the most common charges we see is Aggravated Unlicensed Operation.  This is the New York version of "driving on a suspended license."  It happens a lot.

We have information about each of these crimes on our

Here are the links: 

These crimes are serious in New York.  3rd is a B misdemeanor.  2nd is an A misdemeanor.  Finally, AUO 1st is a Class E Felony (looking at 4 years in State Prison!) 

If you are stopped by the police and arrested for AUO 2nd or 1st, then the police MUST impound your car (VTL 511-b). 

If the car is registered in your name and there is nobody else with you in the car that could legally drive it--the police must impound the car.  Then, the District Attorney's office can decide if they want the car to stay impounded for the duration of the case as "evidence of the instrumentality of the crime."  (This is uncommon unless there is a car accident involved).   However, you/the owner of the car are responsible for all towing and impound fees associated with the police seizure. 

If the car you're driving gets seized by police and it is not yours (i.e. borrowed or a rental car), then there are some nitty-gritty procedures to get it back, and for getting paid back for the associated fees and stuff from the impound lot. 

If you get charged with an AUO (of any degree) in New York,  we strongly urge you to contact a local criminal defense attorney who handles these kinds of cases.  You are welcome to call me at 607-229-5184.  

By Mike Cyr

Cyr & Associates Copyright 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ithaca Corning Elmira Seneca Watkins Glen Vestal DWI attorney: We've updated our website!

gif courtesy of
It's official, the new & updated
is LIVE! 

It's been a very long process over the past 5 months, but the website update came out great.  I've very proud of the work and information on the site --so check it out if you get a chance.  My blogging fell off a bit out of necessity over the past few months, but now that the site is live, I can get back to the important work of keeping past, current, and prospective clients (and the general public) informed about DWI defense law updates and other legal stuff with my blog, facebook, twitter, and YouTube videos. 

Hope everybody enjoys the new website.  

Finally, and most importantly, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!  


Mike Cyr

Copyright Cyr and Associates 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ithaca Corning DWI lawyer: How Thanksgiving Feast can cause higher blood-alcohol levels!

image courtesy

that Thanksgiving Feast can cause
higher levels of Blood-Alcohol in Drivers?

For starters -- WHAT?!?  

Well, when your body absorbs alcohol after you've eaten a big meal... you may not yet recognize how intoxicated you are. 

To understand this concept, I will explain how alcohol gets absorbed into the blood stream (and ultimately affects the brain).  

Absorption of Alcohol on Empty Stomach

Alcohol will be absorbed into the blood stream (mostly by way of the small intestine) at a much faster and constant rate when you drink on an empty stomach.  

Scientists estimate that it takes 30 to 90 minutes to reach a peak BAC level on an empty stomach.  

In 1991, the Journal of Forensic Sciences, did a study where 77% of participants reached peak BAC levels in 45 minutes and 97% reached peak within 75 minutes.  

(JFSCA, vol. 36, no. 2, March 1991).

This just means that across the board --people get drunker faster on an empty stomach. This is common knowledge for most people.  

Absorption of Alcohol on Full Stomach (i.e. Thanksgiving!)

There's a valve in the bottom of the stomach that keeps food in there for digestion.  This valve is called the PYLORIC VALVE.   While you eat, the valve stays closed so your stomach can do it's job of digesting and breaking down the food.  Once the food is broken down (into a semi-liquid substance called CHYME), the Pyloric valve opens so nutrients (and anything else in your stomach) can be absorbed fully into the small intestine.  

If you are drinking during or following a large meal, then the alcohol in your stomach is DELAYED in getting absorbed into your blood stream ---thereby its DELAYED making it's way to your brain --so you may feel sober for a longer time.

While food is in your stomach, some alcohol is absorbed into your blood through some absorption in the stomach, but most of the absorption happens in the small intestine. 

When the Pyloric valve opens, all the alcohol in your stomach gets absorbed into the blood via the small intestine.  

What does this mean?

It means that if you eat while drinking or after eating a full meal, it can take up to 3 hours to reach peak BAC levels.  Even in studies that disagree with the 3 hour mark, they agree that across all tested subjects, eating will increase peak BAC times by 21% or more (at a minimum). 

Intoxication Test Evidence, Criminal and Civil, Fitzgerald and Hume, s. 2.5, pg 13 (1991)
Some Aspects of Alcohol in Body Fluids Part II, Bayly and McCallum, J. Med. Austl. 172,173 (1959)
The Effect of Food on Alcohol Absorption and Elimination Patterns, Journal Forensic Sciences JFSCA Vol 38 no. 2, March 1993 (pp 285-91)
Handling the DWI Case in New York, Gerstenzang and Sills, Ed. 2013-2014

If you're eating while drinking --it will take longer to reach peak BAC levels.

What is the POINT of all this? 

On Thanksgiving, a holiday centered around eating and drinking, there is a much higher chance for DWI because you may "feel fine" but your BAC level could be significantly elevated if you are pulled over and submit to a breath or blood test. 

The food in your stomach makes you feel sober for longer --so you may be inclined to drink more than usual and ultimately, get more intoxicated.  

So be careful and be smart.  

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

By Attorney Mike Cyr

Phone:  607-229-5184


Friday, November 20, 2015

Ithaca Watkins Glen DWI lawyer: Defending a DWI charge for sleeping in your Car in New York

Ron Burgundy...asleep at wheel.  Image courtesy

...when you're caught asleep in your CAR

This is a pretty common occurrence in New York and every other state in the USA.  Usually the most common scenario that leads to this situation is:

-You're out drinking
-You have too much
-You don't have a plan to get home
-You start to drive home and realize it would be safer to just pull over

That's when you decide to just "sleep it off" in your car.  That's where the police find you, and you get charged with DWI or worse.


If you are charged with a DWI, that means in order to prosecute you, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you, in fact, did everything that meets every single element of the crime. 

For a DWI that means:

-You DROVE (actually moved or intended to move vehicle)
-a MOTOR Vehicle (must have a motor -excluding boats or snowmobiles [they have separate charges])
-While you were INTOXICATED (either common law or over 0.08% BAC)
-on a public road or street

In a "Sleeping Case" the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove --or intended to move the vehicle.   In general, there are two different types of "operation issue" cases:  1) the type where a driver drove someplace while intoxicated and pulled over to sleep it off; or 2) where the driver never drove or intended to drive and just tried to sleep it off in their car--but still got charged.  

These cases are tricky because the government can prove operation by circumstantial evidence.  In other words, they can make an inference that you drove your car based on some of these common factors:

-you admitted to driving
-the engine was running or hood was warm
-a witness saw you drive
-camera footage shows car in motion prior to your sleeping
-there was a car accident (you drove off road)
-car was found in a place that could only be reached by driving (like side of a highway) 

In the TYPE 1 case (where you drove then were found asleep in your car), it is usually easier for a prosecutor to prove that you, in fact, drove the car.  That means that the "operation" element of the crime can typically be proved by the sort of circumstantial evidence mentioned above.  However, that doesn't mean that the case is indefensible.  It means that we would have to focus on something other than whether or not you drove a car.  

Some examples include:  We would try to fight the breath or blood test (unless you refused), or fight the field sobriety tests (if you took them), or any other aspect of the case.  It is always prudent to put your best foot forward so the focus should be on the weakest aspects of the government's case against you. 

HOWEVER, if you are charged in a TYPE 2 case (where you were found asleep but you DID NOT actually drive), then we potentially have a case we could fight all the way to trial.  The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you Operated a Motor Vehicle.  Under NY case law, Operation includes a requirement of your "intent to move" the car.  They must prove that.  It makes their job harder if the truth of the case is that you never intended to drive and just wanted to sleep.  But it is still an absolute necessity to retain an attorney who will fight for you because District Attorneys generally won't DISMISS A CASE without tons of good reason --and sometimes, even if the reasons are good, they may feel compelled to try a case to completion.  

Even in a TYPE 2 scenario, a typical DA will worry that even if you didn't actually drive, you were drunk and in a car--and that presents a potentially dangerous situation for anybody else on the road.  That's the concern we are fighting from the beginning of any case like this. Both the Judge and Prosecutor will be worried about that behavior.  So we have to take steps to prove that --even in the event of a dismissal of the case--that you are not a danger to people on the road.  

*If you are charged with a DWI or DWAI (Drugs) after falling asleep in your car, give me a call for a Free consultation:  


By Attorney Mike Cyr


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ithaca Watkins Glen DWI Attorney: YOUTHFUL OFFENDER STATUS in NY. College Freshmen/high school kids--Pay attention!

Image courtesy --MY COUSIN VINNY.  Hilarious movie.
Who Gets New York
What does it mean?

Youthful Offender status in New York only applies to teenagers between the ages of 16 to their 19th birthday.  If you are 18 years old and 11 months/30 days, you can still get MANDATORY Youthful Offender status in the New York Courts.  

If you have never been charged with a crime before ---then you will qualify for MANDATORY Y.O. status.  This is a good thing.  This means that no matter what happens in the course of the case -- you will NOT get a permanent criminal conviction on your record. 

In New York state, a misdemeanor or felony conviction will be on your permanent record for LIFE.  There is no expungement of criminal records in New York.  I doubt there ever will be.  That means that criminal charges are incredibly serious because having a record can prevent you from getting into colleges, from getting good jobs, and make many professional paths impossible.  

Youthful Offenders are also called "Juvenile Offenders."

This particular law is listed under Section 720.20 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law which sets forth the circumstances under which a court may make a finding that a person is classified as a youthful offender. 

For misdemeanor convictions, such as first time DWIs, CPL § 720.20 states:

Upon conviction of an eligible youth, the court must order a P.S.I. (pre-sentence
Investigation) of the defendant. After receipt of a written report of the investigation
(interview) and at the time of pronouncing sentence the court must determine whether or not the eligible youth is a Y.O., youthful offender. Such determination shall be in accordance with the following criteria:

Where the conviction is had in a local criminal court and the eligible youth had not prior to commencement of trial or entry of a plea of guilty been convicted of a crime or found a youthful offender, the court MUST find he is a youthful offender.

So in summary, no prior criminal convictions and no prior status as a Y.O. --CPL § 720.20(d) provides that when an individual is found to be a youthful offender, " the court must direct that the conviction be deemed vacated and replaced by a youthful offender finding; and the court must sentence the defendant pursuant to section 60.02 of the penal law."

Youthful Offender status ALSO means that the Court orders the records to be sealed from the public. 
*Please note that public school officials will be notified (only the notice of adjudication). This notice is kept apart from all other school records and documents. Y.O. status also means that there is no conviction of a crime or any other offense.

Section 60.02(1) of the Penal Law limits the maximum sentence that may be imposed upon an individual adjudicated a youthful offender who otherwise would have been convicted of a misdemeanor to "a definite or intermittent sentence of imprisonment with a term of no more than six months…”


An unusual benefit of being a Youthful Offender for a DWI is that it is more beneficial to plead guilty to the criminal misdemeanor VTL 1192 (2) or (3) than to have a lower traffic violation of the DWAI  "Driving While Ability Impaired by Alcohol" VTL 1192 (1). [this is only true for YO cases]

This is true for a number of reasons:

1. The loss of license will be the same under 21 years of age= one year.

2. The government (the prosecutor) cannot use the DWI against you for future enhancements of DWI. So no use of the DWI as a predicate offense (so even if got charged with another DWI after age 19--they cannot charge you with a felony offense).

3. Sentencing guidelines for the DWI will be restricted by the YO status. (lesser sentences than normal)

The only negative for a YO DWI is the increased fines for a DWI than for a DWAI.

If you are aged 16-18 years and 30 days--then you could potentially qualify for YOUTHFUL OFFENDER treatment in New York Courts.  

Call us at 607-229-5184 to discuss your case.  
DWI or criminal charge.

By Attorney Mike Cyr


Phone: 607-229-5184

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ithaca Seneca DWAI drug lawyer: NEW Marijuana breath test technology being developed! SCARY!

image courtesy

in development at Washington State Univ.
for Roadside Encounters...

This is big news.  Here is a link to article.  In reading the article, these scientists are "excited" that their device is correct 50-60% of the time!  WOW.  And they expect to roll this technology out by the summer of 2016.  

To begin...this scares the hell out of me for my prospective clients in the coming years.

Defending DWAI Drugs charges are VERY difficult for many reasons.  In New York, the prosecutor is allowed to prove that you were, in fact, impaired by drugs (and in violation of the law) if there are illegal drugs found in your blood OR any drugs that could affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle (i.e. prescription, legal meds).  OR they can prove it by using a junk science technique called "Drug Recognition Evaluation" where a police officer puts you through a battery of coordination tests to supposedly prove that you are impaired on drugs.  

So our current landscape for prosecuting driving while under the influence of drugs is shoddy and unreliable NOW.  


There have been NO STUDIES OR MEDICAL RESEARCH (at least that I am aware of) that measure exactly how much marijuana somebody has to smoke or ingest to be impaired to the extent where one cannot operate a motor vehicle.  In some states, it has been said that 5 nanograms of marijuana means you are impaired.  However, that number has not reliably been proven in scientific studies measuring various people's level of impairment.

Unlike alcohol where New York has determined that 0.08% BAC is the magic number where a person is likely to be unable to safely operate a vehicle, there is NO SUCH NUMBER EQUIVALENT for Drugged driving cases.  That's a problem.  Mostly because there is NO NUMBER associated with measuring drugs in your blood.  Just the presence of them.  A blood test also cannot measure if you are still feeling the effects of any drug...just whether it is in your blood...(or its remnants).  It's unreliable and can get you convicted of a crime (and give you a permanent criminal record --as there is NO EXPUNGEMENT IN NEW YORK).  

How will it be quantified?    I don't know (nor do they).

Also, MARIJUANA in particular takes weeks to fully break down in your body.  If you smoke weed and take a blood test 3 weeks later, it is very likely that there will AT LEAST be marijuana METABOLITES in your blood.  

The quantity of a drug cannot necessarily be determined by a blood test.  The most invasive test we use in New York for determining alcohol or drug consumption.  

SO NOW THEY WANT TO USE YOUR BREATH to Determine if you have Weed in your blood? (a flawed concept in itself)

Given how unreliable the ALCOHOL breath test is, I am incredibly skeptical about this new marijuana breath testing device.  Just using common sense, if you have ever been around somebody who smoked weed, it has a VERY powerful and distinct odor.  The smell will be on a user's breath, on their clothes, and on surrounding furniture --FOR A LONG TIME.   If the device just detects the odor--how will it know if the odor is coming from somebody's breath or from their clothes.  What if you were in a room where people were smoking weed and you got the smell on your clothes--but didn't partake?   

I'm scared for my clients because I believe this sort of technology will be extremely unreliable in effectively prosecuting people with a reasonable rate of accuracy.  I think good people will be falsely accused due to a positive reading on one of these tests and will not be given the benefit of the doubt even if they have no prior criminal record ---just like first time DWI offenders are not given the benefit of the doubt now in Ithaca and surrounding counties where I practice.  

In most cases, the District Attorney assumes everybody is guilty...and doesn't give credence to the fact that the accused has NEVER been in trouble before.  It's a problem now, and I'm worried it will be an ever BIGGER problem if this sort of marijuana breath test technology is implemented in our local law enforcement.  

My take is this:  the police will pull you over, smell weed, make you take one of these breath tests, if you refuse (it will likely be a traffic ticket like the alcohol roadside equivalent) and then they will ask you to take a blood test (and if you refuse, then you will lose your license for a year and be subject to $1000's in fines, etc).

Blood tests are not reliable either.  You can read some of my other posts on Blood Gas Chromatograhy and Headspace Gas Chromatography.  

The more I learn about the so-called science behind the tests that are used to determine a person's innocence or guilt in the criminal justice system, the more I believe that these sorts of "scientific developments" need to be challenged BEFORE they are implemented in our society --to prevent the wide spread possible negative outcomes on all of us for false prosecution. 

BY Attorney Mike Cyr

P:  607-229-5184


Friday, October 23, 2015

Ithaca Schuyler County DWI lawyer: Both NY and Federal Government endorse Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Abuse

President Obama, image courtesy huffington post
President and NY Governor Cuomo
address "Medication Assisted Treatment" 
deficiencies for Heroin abuse

I represent people from all walks of life facing all different sorts of legal problems.  Some of my clients are dealing with addiction--whether it be an alcohol dependency or drug abuse.  In either case, addiction is a disease that must be treated.  Over the past several decades, global opinions have changed in the USA and worldwide about the best way to treat people suffering from addiction.  

The problem change is that it is SLOW.  Especially bureaucratic change.  In the criminal court system in New York (and I imagine nationally), Judges, Probation Officers, Prosecutors, and even some defense counsel follow a particular paradigm when dealing with criminal defendants who are deemed to be addicts.  There are programs and protocols that are followed in almost every case.  

Unfortunately, some of those protocols have proven to be unsuccessful.  Yet the system still adheres to them without pause or adaptation.  

President Obama and Governor Cuomo are trying to change a significant piece of the system with their new initiatives.  

Two days ago, President Obama announced that he was rolling out a new federal program to reward states (and state agencies) with federal dollars that complied with significant changes to the way they treat HEROIN abuse (opioid addiction).  

The program seeks to change the current mindset that "ABSTINENCE IS THE BEST MEDICINE" for heroin and other opioid addiction.  Up to now, most Judges and other people who deal with criminal defendants dealing with addiction believed that "going cold turkey" was the only way to deal with this kind of addiction.  

Science and medical research prove otherwise.  The powerful effects HEROIN has on a user's system cannot be simply fought with "mind over matter."  The chemical dependency on the drug makes a user compelled to seek it out for their body and mind to even begin to feel like it is functioning normally --or to feel some kind of momentary peace from the powerful grip of needing another hit.  

These articles go on to say that MEDICATION ASSISTED TREATMENT can yield better results with Heroin addicts because the medication helps to slowly wean the chemical dependency from the user over a period of time --to allow their body to adjust to the sudden lack of the drug.  

Drugs like Suboxone and Methadone have been used for years to fight Heroin addiction, but the problem is that they are difficult to obtain and there are not enough qualified physicians to prescribe them to the people that need them most.  

Obama's new initiative is designed to increase the number of physicians and availability of these drugs for people who need them.  In my opinion (as a lawyer who represents people stuck in the horrifying grip of drug addiction), this is a good first step to alter the status quo because the current treatment methods do not work with any sustained level of success.  There must be a better way --so I endorse any proposed change to improve things for drug addicts and their families.  

IN ADDITION to Federal changes, NY Governor Cuomo instituted a new change to the Criminal Court system that PROHIBITS Judges from changing drug treatment protocols without medical consent.  

This was a common sense change.  Judges are NOT doctors.  It made absolutely no sense that somebody without medical or addiction training could make a decision that would effectively take somebody out of treatment.  Too much power for a medically ignorant court system. 


I have seen first-hand the debilitating effects Opioid abuse can have on the user and the people that love them.  Heroin is a horrible drug and it is currently the most prevalent and CHEAP drug on the streets.  People suffering from the grip of Heroin addiction need help and I'm glad that the powers that be are at least trying to do something new to address the growing problem in the USA (and in New York).  

By Attorney Mike Cyr

P:  607-229-5184


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ithaca Elmira DWI attorney: Don't LIVE STREAM yourself Drunk Driving in NY (or ever)

(image courtesy

Don't LIVE STREAM yourself
Drunk Driving on the Internet
in New York (or anywhere).

I keep up with DWI and DUI related news on a daily basis as part of my job as a criminal defense attorney.  Sometimes, I share some things I read on this blog.  This is one of those times. 


In FLORIDA about a week ago, a 23 year-old woman made the error of driving while intoxicated.  To make matters worse, she also drove drunk while playing with her cell phone (drunk + distracted driving).  Then to make matters inescapably even worse...SHE LIVE STREAMED it online!  

She used an app called "Periscope" to broadcast her actively drunk driving to millions of viewers on the internet.  

In fact, the police used her broadcast to track her car down and arrest her.  Fortunately, she only destroyed some property and nobody was hurt. 


As most of you with brains can imagine, her defense attorney has absolutely no case to defend her.  In addition to breaking the law, she has given the prosecutor and police iron-clad proof to convict her and punish her to the fullest extent possible.  


I encourage my clients to not break the law (usually after they have done it once already).  However, I also encourage people to be very careful about what they post online to social media and other sites.  If you put something online, whether good or bad, it can come back to bite you.  Be careful the power of the internet.  Once it's out's out there. 

By Attorney Mike Cyr

Phone 607-229-5184