Thursday, April 30, 2015

What does HARASSMENT in 2nd Degree mean for Ithaca College and Cornell students?

(Patrick Swayze in Bar Fights ever!)

HARASSMENT in the 2nd Degree
for Ithaca College and Cornell Students?

Fighting is a common occurrence at Ithaca College and Cornell University.  It happens at parties, in bars, and outside those places (usually alcohol is involved).   Like most NY crimes, there is a sliding scale based on if there is an injury to a person, if weapons were used, and number of people involved. 

Harassment in the 2nd degree (Penal Law, s. 240.26)

            Under NY law, a person is guilty of Harassment in the Second Degree when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, he or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same.

Penalties:  This is a violation, not a crime.  (so no criminal record)

-can be sentenced to 15 days days in county jail
-fined up to $250.00
-court surcharge up to $125
-can given an Order of Protection to stay away from somebody
-usually must have no new arrests for 1 year (i.e. stay out of trouble)


I have seen the Tompkins County DA's office ask for jail time on these charges.  It really depends on what happened.  In fights where somebody is injured, the charges can even be elevated to more serious charges, like Class A misdemeanors or even Felonies.  

Also, the local DA's office has even prosecuted cases for THREATS ALONE.  I know of a case last summer in Enfield, NY where the Defendant was sentenced to the max 15 days in jail, just for threats made inside a school.

On the flip side of things, I just had a Harassment 2nd case dismissed for my client in Ithaca City Court yesterday.  Every case is different and they all depend on the specific facts involved.  

It's a broad law that can be used as sort of a "catch all" for any kind of minimal violence or even threat of violence

So, be smart, if you get charged with Harassment 2nd in Ithaca or any of the surrounding counties, consult with a criminal defense attorney.  

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What is a Conditional Discharge in Ithaca, NY?



A "Conditional Discharge" or CD... is a set of obligations given by the Court that you must complete by a certain date.  You must also stay out of trouble (i.e. no new arrests) for 1 or 2 years.  

If you violate the conditions, then you can be resentenced up to the maximum penalty hanging over your head. 

A CD is the lowest form of conditional release in New York State.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ithaca Corning lawyer Discusses the Non-Negotiables in a DWI case

VIDEO:  Discussing the "Non-Negotiables" in Sentencing a DWI Case in New York


In most DWI cases, there are three "non-negotiables"...

1.  Drug and Alcohol Evaluation

2.  Ignition Interlock Device

3.  Suspension/Revocation of Driving Privileges in NY

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr of Ithaca DWI: Defense Attorneys

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ithaca Cortland criminal lawyer explains WHY Probation is Worse than Jail in New York!

than Jail in New York


In majority of cases, Probation is actually worse than jail.  


1.  No privacy.  

-For 3 years, the probation dept can search your house, car, or get a sample of your body fluids or hair for drug testing.

2.  Can't travel or relocate without PERMISSION. 

3.  Can't have a sip of Alcohol --or can be locked up! 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr of Ithaca DWI: Defense Attorneys

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ithaca DWI lawyer explains: The PROBLEMS with a DWAI Drugs Case in New York

(image courtesy of


DWAI drugs cases (VTL s. 1192.4) otherwise known as "driving while high" have their own specific challenges... 

Most New York DWI lawyers know that DWAI drugs cases can be some of the hardest to defend for a couple of reasons:

1) The Blood Test.  

If a police officer suspects that you're driving while under the influence of ANY DRUG that could impair your driving (whether it be prescription drug or recreational), then they will usually request that you have your blood drawn at a hospital. 

Unless you refuse the test, the Police and Prosecutor will then have a blood test to use against you during your case.  This is a problem because juries LIKE and TRUST blood test results.  They put a lot of faith in them so it is critically important to show all the problems with a blood test. 

-a blood test will only show the PRESENCE of drugs... it does not measure quantity.  

-a blood test cannot confirm WHEN you took the drugs... some stay in your system for a really long time (well past the time they would affect your driving), like marijuana. 

-a blood test's results can be SKEWED by both environmental and technician error.  Gas chromatography as a science also has inherent error built into the science/technology. 

2) A Drug Recognition Examination. ("DRE")

There are certain police officers in every county in New York that are certified as "Drug Recognition Examiners."   They take courses that are supposed to help them identify symptoms in people that prove what drug they're on WITHOUT A BLOOD TEST!

How can this be?  All the prosecutor has to do is have the police officer testify during your case that he found some symptoms, and based on his "training and experience" is allowed to give an expert opinion in court that you were driving while high on whatever drug he feels like.  

Well, in my opinion,  it's "junk science", that needs to be fought very, very hard.  

There are many ways to cross-examine this particular legal challenge.  But most importantly, it must be shown that the police officer can make mistakes and that his findings could be something else...or wrong in general.  

In these cases, there is no blood test so the prosecutor's case is based entirely on the officer's opinion.  The jury must be shown that the officer can make mistakes ...and you do that by taking apart his/her process --and the so-called science behind it.  

Bottom line:

If you are charged with VTL 1192.4 (DWAI Drugs), then you need a lawyer as soon as possible.  Every minute matters with these kinds of cases and the sooner you can begin attacking the government's case, the better your chances for having a good outcome.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ithaca Montour Falls lawyer explains ORDERS and CONDITIONS of PROBATION in New York


Or another way to ask that question....what RIGHTS are you LOSING when you're on probation in New York State?  

I've attached actual Tompkins County Probation Orders and Conditions for a DWI case... however, I'll go over some of the BIG RIGHTS you Lose on probation...

1.  Your Right to Privacy.  

-the probation officer can and will enter your home and inspect your stuff, speak to people there, speak to your family, and check out everything in your life.  If they find something that you shouldn't have or hear something about a prohibited activity, you can be in trouble.  Just like that.  

2.  Your Right to Travel.  

-you must continue to LIVE in the New York State unless you get permission from the court.  You're also not allowed to travel anywhere without the probation officer and court's permission.  Three years (or more) is a long time to stay in one place.  

3.  Your Right to be free from Unreasonable Search and Seizure. 

-your 4th amendment rights are basically gone.  They can search your house, car, etc.  Also, the probation department can ORDER YOU to give breath, blood, or urine samples for unannounced drug testing.  

4.  Your Right to Choose to Participate in Treatment. 

-you are REQUIRED to attend any recommended treatment programs during probation.  These include mental health treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, anger management treatment, parenting classes, or any other program they want you to attend.  It's not up to you anymore.

5.  Your Right to Possess or Consume Alcohol.  

-Most people do not understand that while on Probation, you are not allowed to HAVE ANYTHING TO DRINK.  Ever.  It's a big problem for most people who enjoy an occasional drink in the evening after work or socially with friends--even if you won't be driving.  If you get caught, then the probation officer can file a violation of probation with the court and you can be re-sentenced to jail or worse.  

Bottom line... Probation, in my opinion for most cases, is actually worse than jail. 

At least with a county jail sentence, you know how long you will be there...and then it's over.  That's it.  For felony cases where you are facing State Prison time, probation is usually better. 

You can see the Orders and Conditions of Probation below: 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Friday, April 24, 2015

Ithaca Cortland lawyer explains DRUGS found in a Car Are Possessed by EVERYBODY IN CAR in New York!


As I explain in the video above, the New York legal presumption that any "loose drugs" found in the passenger compartment of a vehicle are CONSTRUCTIVELY POSSESSED by everybody riding in the car.  

It's a very broad legal presumption.  It must be fought right from the start of the case.  If you are riding in a vehicle with people you don't know or in a car you don't know, this could happen to you.  

However, this presumption can and should be fought by anybody charged with Criminal Possession of a Drug by the police. 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ithaca Cortland lawyer DRUGS found in same room with you are PRESUMED to be YOURS in New York


This New York presumption is known as "CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION."  It applies to both CARS and ROOMS.  

If the Police find drugs out in the open of a room, and cannot figure out who actually owns/uses them, then they have the POWER to charge everybody in that room with POSSESSION of those drugs. 

Presumptions like this need to be fought by your lawyer.  Any evidence to the contrary can help relieve the burden of a legal presumption like this one.  

Basically, this presumption allows police to charge everybody THEN SORT OUT THE TRUTH ...LATER.  

It's not fair, but it is the law in New York.  So it is important to know about it.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ithaca Elmira DWI lawyer explains: the PRESUMPTION that you're DRUNK at 08% in New York

THE LEGAL PRESUMPTION THAT YOU'RE "legally intoxicated" at 0.08% BAC or HIGHER in NEW YORK

This video explains a basic legal presumption of DWI law in New York... 

If you give a breath or blood sample and the machine spits out 0.08% or will be PRESUMED that you were LEGALLY INTOXICATED.  

However, the problem is that sometimes you either MORE INTOXICATED or LESS INTOXICATED based on what phase of alcohol absorption your body is in when you give the sample. 

You could have been less impaired when driving...or you could have been more intoxicated...this is important to recognize because your BLOOD-ALCOHOL ratio changes over time.  

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ithaca Criminal Defense lawyer explains a LEGAL PRESUMPTION in New York


In a nutshell, as I explain in the video, a LEGAL PRESUMPTION is an assumption made by the court about YOU based on a single piece of evidence.  

There are all different kinds of legal presumptions in New York.  I go through several important ones in other videos.  

If a LEGAL PRESUMPTION applies to your case, that does NOT mean your case is just means we have to DISPROVE the presumption.  They can make things harder during a case, but not impossible if you have evidence to fight the presumption.  

The best advice I can give with these types of cases...get a lawyer quick.  Because they need to gather evidence IMMEDIATELY to fight the presumption. 

-In a DWI case with 0.08% BAC or higher --I would need to gather as much evidence as I can that you were NOT legally intoxicated.... this can make all the difference in a case.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ithaca Cortland DWI lawyer explains: What IS a common law DWI?

in NEW YORK?  

It's a charged based on Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) s. 1192.3 ---and the PROBABLE CAUSE for the charge is based...

...ONLY on the police observations of YOU!  

This charge is used in every DWI case.  This is applied whether the police HAVE or DON'T HAVE a Blood Alcohol Concentration percentage.  

This charge is a fallback charge for a prosecutor to make sure they can argue that you were intoxicated even if you refused to take the blood or breath test. 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ithaca Cortland DWI lawyer explains WHY you get 2 DWI charges for 1 Arrest


One is based on the OPINION (Observations) of the Police Officer ("Common law" DWI, VTL s. 1192.3)

The other is based on the BAC ("Blood alcohol concentration") number determined by the OPINION of a machine. (DWI over 08%, VTL s. 1192.2)

[In Ithaca, that machine is a BAC DATAMASTER DMT] 

It's as simple as that.  

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ithaca Criminal Defense Lawyer explains: What is an ACD in New York?

(image courtesy of

What is an ACD in New York?

An A.C.D. is an "ADJOURNMENT IN CONTEMPLATION OF DISMISSAL" and as all New York criminal defense lawyers know, it is the best possible outcome in a case.  

Here's how it works... 

If you are given an ACD, then you must have no new arrests for 6 months and your charge will be DISMISSED.

However, if you DO get a new arrest during that 6 month period, then the prosecutor CAN reopen your charge that got the ACD.  It basically reopens the case.  

Once your charge is DISMISSED at the end of 6 months, then your charge is SEALED (or shielded from public view).  This will protect you from having any criminal convictions coming up on a background check.  

What sorts of crimes in Ithaca are given an ACD?  

In my experience, it is much more common for a violation to be given an ACD than a misdemeanor.  Like...

-Harassment 2nd degree
-Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
-DIsorderly Conduct

(Bear in mind, negotiating an ACD even for a VIOLATION can be difficult...and requires a competent criminal lawyer)

If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, then it is MUCH LESS LIKELY that a prosecutor will be willing to ACD a case without very convincing evidence that you didn't do anything wrong.  It can happen, but you need a really good reason to give the judge and prosecutor.

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ithaca Ticket Lawyer explains Using Portable Electronic Device VTL s.1225D

(image courtesy

You GOTTA KNOW the "Smart Phone" / "IPAD" / Portable Electronic Device --Traffic Law in New York

In the past couple weeks, the local police in Ithaca have really been cracking down on this traffic violation.  If a cop sees you using your phone in will get the following ticket: 

Driving while Using a Portable Electronic Device, VTL s. 1225D

...this did not use to be that big of a deal.  Until June 1, 2013.  That's when this law became a VERY BIG DEAL to all New York drivers. 

On June 1. 2013, this ticket became a FIVE POINT TICKET.   That's a ton of points.  Even going up to 20 mph over the speed limit is only 4 points!!! 

That shows you how hard the NY legislature is being on "distracted driving."  

Most people break this law.  I've been guilty of it on occasion, but the consequences of being found guilty of this ticket are steep. 

Here are the penalties :

Fines $0-$150, 5 points, $88 or $93 court surcharge  

[if you are a young driver (i.e. probationary driver), you get a 120 day license suspension!  That's 4 months for a first offense.]  That's as of 11/1/14

It only gets worse if you do it a second time within 18 months.  

***In New York, your license will be automatically suspended for 31 days (for any driver) if you accumulate 11 or more points on your license.  So...if you get one of these tickets, you're half-way toward a suspension.


Most of these tickets CAN be reduced if you hire a licensed attorney.  There are never guarantees, but in most cases a reduction is possible.  For these tickets, a point reduction is really critical to protect your New York driving privilege.  

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ithaca DWI lawyer explains Why you MUST Investigate Arrest Scene in Ithaca, NY


1.  You need to see the scene as close to the date of arrest as possible.  

2.  You can't learn from a computer what you can learn with your own eyes. 

3.  When I go to a scene, I go with the intention of challenging the police evidence.  

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184

Twitter:   @ithacadwi