Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ithaca Elmira Corning DWAI Drug lawyer: Is a Marijuana Breathalyzer coming to Ithaca?

image courtesy miami herald tribune

Ithaca Elmira DWAI Drug lawyer: 

Is a Marijuana Breathalyzer Coming to Ithaca?

What do Ithaca, NY and Gainesville, FL have on common?

Well, both are college towns, both have labs working on research, and last but not least... both have large populations of marijuana smokers.  Don’t ask me why, but in Ithaca and Gainesville, pot is ubiquitous.

So is it any wonder that the University of Florida has a patent on testing for controlled substances in breath (US Patent 8,237,118), and is currently working on creating the first ever marijuana breathalyzer? The new device is currently being called a "Cannabix."

At this point, I don’t know how amazing it is to be able to detect that someone has smoked within the past few hours.  I mean many people can usually tell if someone just smoked.  But to then make the grand leap of saying that because they smoked in the last few hours that they are too impaired to drive is science fiction.  

Some states have set specific limits on blood THC amounts. They have outlawed pot while driving by placing a “per se” limit for THC Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC- the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes intoxication) in the body.  New York is one of these states. 

Ohio and Nevada share the same love for low THC numbers!  Talk about different states with different sets of cultures, yet both set the same low limit of 2 nanograms. While Colorado has set 5 nanograms as the limit to drive. Keep in mind what a nanogram is, one billionth of a gram.

Can we really trust anything measuring in billionths? Especially devices that can put us in jail based upon the accuracy of their numbers.

We don't know for sure WHEN or IF this type of device is coming to Ithaca.  However, one thing is for certain... impairment by drugs & driving is a growing concern in all states. Yet, I think that even with these possible advances in technology -  it’s time to bring some old fashioned common sense to the law.  

If you have questions about a DWAI drugs charge or other drug impairment or possession issue, you are welcome to give us a call at 607-229-5184


Or Find us online! 





Copyright NEWMAN & CYR 2016.  Educational Purposes only.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ithaca Vestal Binghamton DWI Lawyer: Understanding the DWI Conditional Discharge in New York...in 2016!

Image Copyright NEWMAN & CYR 2016.

Ithaca Vestal Binghamton DWI lawyer explains:

Understanding the DWI Conditional Discharge in New York...in 2016

Understanding the DWI New York Conditional Discharge

Every state is a little bit different in their law, their proceduresm and even in their terminology. How a thing is named or called can be confusing because, even though things may have the same name, they are entirely different from one state to the next.

At the time of sentencing, all people with DWIs in New York State and even those with DWAI violations will receive at the very least a conditional discharge by the court.

The New York CD is NOT like the New Jersey CD (conditional discharge)

The New York and the New Jersey Conditional Discharge share the same name, but they are not same animal. In New Jersey, a CD means the charges you plead guilty to will be dismissed at the end of the discharge period - they are truly discharged in every sense of the word.

A Conditional Discharge in New York State is not like that. A New York CD means that you have been placed on a conditioned release from the court with specific set of terms.

A New York State Conditional Discharge is Like a Form of Probation

Once the terms of the CD have been completely satisfied then the discharge (and you) are released by the Court. The difference is that the charges will still stand (remain) on your record. A CD in NYS is merely a form of a release, much like being on a one-year term of probation-but without an officer.

You are ordered by the Court to act by yourself to meet your conditions. Some courts may require proof of completion of each condition while others are only notified if you fail to meet conditions. If you fail to do these things, you could be resentenced up to the maximum of whatever crime you were found guilty of... in the case of a misdemeanor DWI -- that's up to 1 year in county jail or 3 years of probation!  If you are put on probation, you will be assigned a probation officer. They will then supervise and monitor you. This will include many more terms and conditions than a CD. Probation is a millions times worse punishment than a CD! 

The Terms of Your Release with a New York DWI Conditional Discharge

There are some general conditions with all CDs. Generally you must stay out of trouble for one year or risk being re-sentenced for the offense you plead guilty to.  This means no new arrests or criminal charges (traffic infractions will probably not violate this requirement).

DWIs have additional special sets of conditions. The reason for this is that DWI has mandated release terms set by law, and now consistency guidelines by the New York State Supreme Court.

1. Install an IID (ignition interlock device) within 10 days of sentencing or your release from incarceration (jail). This must be placed on any and all cars you own and/or operate. This is why early in your DWI case it is important to get multiple cars out of your name. If at the time of sentencing you are still the owner you must place devices on all of them.

There are many specific terms and conditions that come along with the IID. It must be maintained and used properly during the period of installation. This period of time by court order is 12 months but can be shortened to 6 months if there is perfect compliance, and the court agrees.

2. You must have substance abuse evaluation (drug/alcohol evaluation) with an OASAS (NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services) certified counselor
and follow through without any and all treatment recommendations.

3. You Must Attend a VIP (Victim Impact Panel)

4. Attend the IDP (Impaired Driver Program) You will need to attend and complete the NYS DMV Impaired Driver Program or an equivalent program in your state of licensure.

5. Pay All Court Fines and Surcharges

6. Follow Up with the DMV and your home DMV for driver’s license privileges
License privileges do not revert to full status on their own. You must be proactive to regain your full license privileges.

Some courts add more conditions to these basic ones like community service hours.
There are other courts that have set dramatically low BAC (blood alcohol concentration) numbers for violating the IID. Understanding that a violation of any term of a CD can result in re-sentencing of the charge you plead guilty to. In the case of a DWI offense that means you can be facing up to one year of local jail.


If you have questions about a DWI charge, you are welcome to give us a call for FREE CONSULTATION at 607-229-5184

Find us online! 





Copyright NEWMAN & CYR 2016.  Educational Purposes only.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ithaca Cortland DWI lawyer: Overcoming a New York DWI - Hope, Rebirth, and Renewal in 2016

Overcoming a New York DWI: Hope, Rebirth, and Renewal

As DWI attorneys we see people in despair, and probably one of their lowest points in their lives.  They believe that they will remain in a permanent state of hopelessness. It is our hope and faith that get us through the tough times.

I am reminded of life’s gift of renewal by a poster I have on the wall.  In 1988 I received a Success magazine poster of the mythical phoenix by artist Peter Max.

The phoenix is a mythical bird. It is present in multiple cultures. For thousands of years it has represented a bird that burns and then rises from the ashes to renew itself, to be in a sense reborn. It symbolizes comeback from defeat.

From the cover of Success magazine 1988

At this time of the year with the holidays of Easter and Passover I am again reminded that life affords us all fresh starts and new beginnings.  Second chances are real.  Even those facing a DWI will learn, grow, and move beyond it. This will not be the end but merely a new beginning.

This year be reminded to celebrate spring, the spirit of renewal, and the gift of hope that so many take for granted. 

By Attorney Larry Newman

If you have a question about a New York DWI charge, give us a call at 607-229-5184

Find us online!





Copyright NEWMAN & CYR 2016.  Educational Purposes Only.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ithaca Penn Yan DWI lawyer: Government Safeguards in New York DWI Sentencing

NY Capitol Building in Albany - image courtesy longislandpress.com

Ithaca Penn Yan DWI Lawyer explains:

Government Safeguards and Guidelines in New York DWI Sentencing

In the area of DWI law, judges and prosecutors have an obligation and commitment to their communities. That commitment is to serve and to protect the people. In New York State the district attorney files all their paperwork on behalf of THE PEOPLE of the State of New York.  In 2015, the New York Supreme Court has focused all of it’s DWI efforts on consistency across the state in dealing with DWI.

Once someone is charged with a DWI it is a potential indication of a deeper problem. The government’s biggest fear is not what is currently before them... it is the unknown future and the trajectory of the person before them. This is their paramount concern.

The responsibility on their watch is to safeguard this community. Their primary directive is to prevent future harm. This person who stands before them charged with DWI is an opportunity. This is a chance to correct and redirect them to safe action. Their fear is that this person will go on to another night of bad judgment and greater future harm to themselves or some innocent person.  

Judges and Prosecutors Have Lots of Questions

But to what extent (or degree) does this person have a problem or issue with alcohol or drugs?

Was it just bad judgment on this one particular occasion? As we say, a mere blip on the radar?

Do they just need some classes and education?

Or is it something beyond that?  Do they have a real need for treatment?

Are they a future risk to themselves and others?

The Safeguards to DWI Prosecution and Sentencing

The minimum governmental safeguard is a drug/alcohol screening and/or evaluation. That is why all DWI judges and district attorneys now want a drug/alcohol evaluation before sentencing, before they accept a plea deal, and before they commit to a set of conditions of release back into the community.

An additional safeguard that some New York judges and prosecutors may demand is called a PSI (pre-sentence investigation). The PSI is a "This is Your Life" interview and investigation with a county probation officer. It is really a needs-based evaluation.

What does this person need to be a safe, productive, and stable member of our community?
The question then becomes: does this person’s current DWI charges stem from unmet needs?

Ultimately, is this a person in need of long term supervision and monitoring?

There is Always a Conditioned Release with a DW

Just about everyone who receives a final DWAI, DWI, or aggravated DWI will be released from the Court under some set of conditions. This conditional discharge (aka release) can range from local, direct, and intense supervision and monitoring with an assigned probation officer to merely self-reporting.

If someone receives a CD (conditional discharge), determining where they will self-report and fulfill court obligations on their own... or if they receive probation is dependent upon a number of factors.  Is this a first offense? What was the blood alcohol level? Were there other drugs involved? Was there an accident? Is this person gainfully employed or a stable student?

Probation will help formulate a plan, discuss resources and solutions, and then monitor follow-through to a goal. A plan can range from a program of mental heath and chemical counseling to relapse prevention.

If someone is placed on a term of probation, this can range from two to three years for a misdemeanor level offense to five years for a felony level offense.

In our next blog we will lay out some of the common terms and obligations the DWI court imposes with a NY conditional discharge.


By Attorneys Mike Cyr & Larry Newman

FInd us online! 





Copyright NEWMAN & CYR 2016.  Educational Use Only.