Alcohol and drug infractions are among the most commonly charged criminal cases in Monroe County. The prosecutions are relatively straightforward, and the penalties are quite harsh. So, these arrests and convictions give police officers and prosecuting attorneys a good chance to move up the corporate ladder. Nevertheless, these prosecutions have a number of moving parts. If a Rochester DWI attorney creates reasonable doubt on any one of these points, the defendant is not guilty as a matter of law. Furthermore, an effective defense helps an attorney successfully resolve these cases before trial. That resolution could be a plea to a lesser offense or a complete dismissal of charges.
Hiring a Rochester DWI Attorney for Drug Possession
Simple possession accounts for over 80 percent of all the drug crime arrests in New York. Frequently, however, these charges do not hold up in court, especially once a Rochester DWI attorney probes the state’s case for weaknesses. For example, prosecutors must prove all three of the following points beyond a reasonable doubt:
Physical evidence usually requires either a search warrant or a search warrant exception. Most drug possession cases rely on a search warrant exception, such as consent or a plain view seizure. The state has the burden of proof on this element.
Establish Its Illegality
This prong of a drug possession case is often a problem for the state in marijuana possession cases. Hemp, which is 100 percent legal, is physically indistinguishable from marijuana. If the state has no conclusive chemical-proof the substance was illegal, its case falls apart like a house of cards.
In the everyday world, possession is synonymous with proximity. But a court of law is different. In addition to proximity, the state must prove knowledge and control. These elements are difficult to prove if the defendant was a backseat passenger in a car, or if the defendant was a guest in a house and drugs were in a closet.
Prosecutors often rely on circumstantial evidence, like the quantity of drugs and the presence of firearms, to upgrade possession charges to drug trafficking or distribution charges. Multiple defenses are available in these cases as well.
Illegal Alcohol Consumption and How a Rochester DWI Attorney Can Help
The coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected laws regarding public alcohol consumption. For example, sometimes cocktails to go are legal, and sometimes they are not.
Police officers often take advantage of this confusing legal situation. Frequently, officers take a “tell it to the judge” approach. They make illegal consumption arrests regardless of the laws in place at the time. As a result, the defendant might not even know the arrest was illegal.
Illegal alcohol consumption is a low-level misdemeanor which frequently involves no jail time. So, many of these defendants think they do not need a Rochester DWI lawyer. These individuals overlook the fact that these convictions often have substantial collateral consequences.
Driving While Intoxicated
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently declared July 2020 to be an enhanced DWI enforcement month. So, officers are now more aggressive than ever in this area.
Legally, the state can prove intoxication, or a loss of physical or mental faculties, via direct or circumstantial evidence. Both sources of evidence have weaknesses that Rochester DWI lawyers can exploit.
Breathalyzer tests are far from perfect. Unless police officers carefully calibrate these gadgets, they are effectively useless. Additionally, things like a high mouth alcohol level, and recent alcohol consumption often skew the result.
The Field Sobriety Tests, which are the primary circumstantial evidence in a DWI case, are even shakier. The DWI eye test is a good example. Officers have suspects track moving objects with their eyes, without moving their heads, to look for signs of nystagmus. But roadside tests do not happen in controlled environments. And, many things other than alcohol cause nystagmus, a condition also known as lazy eye.
Reach Out to an Aggressive Rochester DWI Attorney Today
Drug and alcohol prosecutions are very common in New York. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester DWI attorney, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. Convenient payment plans are available.