How A Drug Defense Attorney Rochester, NY Resolves Distribution and Trafficking Charges

How A Drug Defense Attorney Rochester, NY Resolves Distribution and Trafficking Charges

In most years, drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Thankfully, drug defense attorney Rochester, NY are working to find ways to resolve the charges that come along with distribution and trafficking and focus more on the safety and health issues of drug addiction.

Many of these victims obtain illegal drugs from criminal gangs or Mexican cartels. That’s usually the case for street drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamines. In other situations, the drugs may come from friends, neighbors, or coworkers. Fentanyl, Oxycontin, and other prescription painkillers are often more powerful than many street drugs.

The bad news is that New York’s trafficking and distribution penalties are usually not related to the gross amount or specific type of drug. Typically, these actions are always felonies. It does not matter if the defendant only transferred one or two pills. It also does not matter if the defendant didn’t receive money.

The good news is that many Monroe County jurors now see drug addiction as a health and safety issue, as opposed to a criminal law issue. That’s especially true with regard to prescription drug trafficking and distribution. So, in many cases, a drug defense attorney Rochester, NY can successfully resolve these matters, especially if there is a credible defense.

Procedural Defect

Many large-scale drug trafficking prosecutions involve lengthy investigations which culminate with search warrants. Frequently, to obtain the necessary warrant, investigators rely on information provided by a paid informant. Since many people will say almost anything for money, such reliance is only permissible in certain situations. Most Monroe County judges will invalidate informant search warrants unless the information meets a strict evidentiary standard. Some factors to consider include:

  • The specificity of the information provided,
  • Informant’s track record,
  • Amount of compensation the informant received,
  • Informer’s relationship with law enforcement, and
  • Any facts which corroborated the information provided.

When it comes to search warrant validity, Monroe County prosecutors cannot work backward. They cannot argue that since officers found drugs, the information must have been reliable. The probable cause affidavit stands or falls on its own.

In smaller drug trafficking cases that involve a couple of Fentanyl patches or a small amount of other narcotics, officers rarely bother with search warrants. Therefore, the seized physical evidence is only admissible if a narrow search warrant exception applies. Consent is perhaps the most common search warrant exception. Owners or apparent owners may give consent to search dwellings, vehicles, or containers, like purses. An apparent owner is someone like a driver who does not legally own the car.

Drug Defense Attorney Rochester, NY and Lack of Supporting Evidence

Seized drugs only establish possession. To establish more serious trafficking and distribution cases, especially in marijuana and other street drug cases, prosecutors often rely on additional circumstantial evidence, such as:

  • Amount of drugs,
  • Baggies,
  • Scales,
  • Cash, and
  • Weapons.

Circumstantial evidence is subject to interpretation. Granted, if officers find a trunkload of marijuana, even the best drug defense attorney Rochester, NY would be hard-pressed to successfully argue that all those drugs were for personal use. But aside from such extreme circumstances, such arguments are usually plausible.

Additionally, in staged press conferences, police officers usually lay out the seized drugs next to cash, weapons, and any other circumstantial evidence they found. But in reality, cash or baggies in the kitchen might have little to do with drugs in the garage.

Roughly these same principles apply in prescription drug trafficking prosecutions. Frequently, when police officers arrest people for drug possession, they ask “Where did these drugs come from?” Unless the suspect has been properly Mirandized, the answer given might be illegally obtained. As such, any subsequent drug distribution arrest is also illegal, under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.

Even if none of these defenses apply, because of the aforementioned environment, a drug defense attorney Rochester, NY can often secure pretrial diversion, deferred disposition, or another outcome that does not result in a permanent criminal record. That’s especially true if the defendant is a first-time offender.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer

Drug distribution and trafficking charges do not always hold up in court. For a free consultation with an experienced drug defense attorney Rochester, NY, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. We routinely handle matters in Monroe County and nearby jurisdictions.

Rochester DWI Attorneys Use Three Effective DWI Defenses 

Rochester DWI Attorneys Use Three Effective DWI Defenses 

New York has some of the harshest DWI laws in the country. Even for first-time offenders, the direct consequences include lengthy court supervision, high fines, possible jail time, and drivers’ license suspension. The indirect consequences, such as sky-high auto insurance rates, might be even worse. Fortunately, a Rochester DWI attorney can leverage one of several available defenses and successfully resolve these criminal charges. Frequently, an attorney obtains a favorable out-of-court settlement. In many cases, if the defense is strong enough, a Rochester DWI attorney might get the charges dismissed altogether.

1. Rochester DWI Attorney Proves Procedural Errors

Procedural mistakes are quite common if the arrest occurred at a DWI checkpoint or during a heightened enforcement sweep. Officers are under even more pressure than normal to make arrests in these situations. As a result, they often take illegal shortcuts.

Officers must have reasonable suspicion to detain motorists. Typically, that reasonable suspicion has nothing to do with DWI. Instead, an officer sees a motorist commit a traffic violation, like speeding. During a subsequent investigation, the officer notices some physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes or an odor of alcohol. Additionally, many suspects do not assert their right to remain silent when questioned. Instead, they admit they have had a few beers or they just came from a bar.

Roadside checkpoints are an exception to the reasonable suspicion rule. However, officers cannot pull over vehicles at random at a roadblock. The detentions must follow very specific guidelines. The slightest violation could invalidate the stop and therefore the arrest.

Speaking of DWI arrests, officers must have probable cause to arrest suspects. This evidentiary standard is not much higher than reasonable suspicion. Generally, if a defendant does poorly on one or more field sobriety tests (FST), that’s sufficient for probable cause.

However, in their rush to make arrests, some officers skip the FSTs. Other times, defendants assert their Constitutional rights and refuse to perform these tests. In these situations, the lack of probable cause might be an issue.

2. Not Intoxicated

Frequently, intoxication, or lack thereof, is the central issue in a DWI case. The state can prove intoxication through a chemical test, which is almost always a breath sample, or with the aforementioned FST.

The Breathalyzer is far from a perfect device. In fact, aside from the number of bells and whistles, it is not much different from the Drunk-O-Meter, a device that appeared in the 1940s.

Aside from its mid-20th century technological base, the Breathalyzer has several technical flaws. For example, if the defendant belched or vomited in the fifteen minutes before the test, unabsorbed alcohol particles from the stomach flood the mouth. These additional particles artificially raise the BAC level. Officers are supposed to monitor defendants to ensure test accuracy, but they usually do not do so.

The FSTs, such as walking a straight line, are very difficult to perform, whether the subject is drunk or sober. Additionally, the results are very subjective. Officers always testify that the defendant “failed” the test, even if the defendant scored a 90 percent. Most Monroe County jurors do not consider that mark to be a failing grade, and the jury’s opinion is the only one that counts.

3. Not Driving the Vehicle

The “driving” element of a “driving while intoxicated claim” is an often-overlooked defense. If a Rochester DWI attorney can create reasonable doubt on this point, or on any other element, the defendant is not guilty as a matter of law.

This element is often an issue in DWI collision cases. Typically, the defendant exits the vehicle when emergency responders arrive. Unless the state produces a witness who saw the defendant driving the vehicle, there is usually no evidence on this point. Prosecutors usually call this issue “wheeling” the defendant.

On a similar note, a person is not “driving” a car just because s/he is behind the wheel. New York law is very broad on this point. Nevertheless, if the defendant was asleep or unconscious, did not have the keys, and/or the car was not drivable (e.g. out of gas), DWI charges might not hold up in court.

Rely on an Experienced Rochester DWI Attorney

One or more of these defenses usually apply in a DWI prosecution. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester DWI attorney. We routinely handle matters in Monroe County and nearby jurisdictions.