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A look at how Ambien is being used as a legal defense

One of the most popular prescription drugs on the market, Ambien, and its generic version known as Zolpidem, are intended to be used to help people in New York suffering from insomnia. However, one of the more dangerous side effects of this popular hypnotic drug is a phenomenon known as sleep-driving.

What does fruit of the poisonous tree mean?

"Fruit of the poisonous tree" is a legal doctrine concerning evidence against you that is obtained by the police illegally. According to Cornell University Law School, evidence gained as a result of an illegal method may not be admissible in court. In this metaphor, evidence that is obtained illegally is the tree, and anything that grows from that tree is therefore poisonous.

Some feel further bail reform is necessary in New York City

Despite recent efforts in the last year to change how bail is doled out in New York City, some feel those efforts are not enough. The New York Times reported that in 2015, officials planned to alter bail requirements for some offenders. People arrested for non-violent crimes and misdemeanors would be placed under court supervision as they awaited trial rather than paying monetary bail. The reason cited is that many of these low-risk defendants could not afford bail set at even a few hundred dollars and are contributing to overpopulation issues at Rikers Island.

Police use of license plate readers leads to privacy concerns

While originally intended as a means for identifying unregistered drivers and traffic violators, New York police departments are increasingly turning to license plate reading technology as an intelligence gathering tool. While the images obtained by such technology can undoutedbly be useful to law enforcement by identifying locations and establishing patterns when pursuing dangerous criminals, they also raise questions about how the information gleaned can be used inappropriately against private citizens.

Tinted windows can lead to more serious charges

Cars with tinted windows are not an uncommon sight in New York City. Whether they are legal, however, depends on how darkly they are tinted. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, tinted windshields and side windows are legal as long as they allow at least 70 percent of the light from outside to pass through. If the vehicle has rear view mirrors on both sides that allow the driver a full and clear view behind them, then rear windows may be tinted.

A look at the use of drug dogs during traffic stops

The use of police dogs trained to sniff out drugs is becoming more prevalent. However, this raises questions of privacy rights when these K-9 units are deployed during traffic stops. One of the primary questions being asked is whether the search of a vehicle by a drug dog is legal.

Traffic violation leads to felony arrest and criminal defense

We previously posted about police using traffic violations to trigger vehicle searches leading to evidence of felony drug charges. Police in New York recently employed similar tactics to arrest a man on multiple felony charges including weapons possession and impersonating a federal law enforcement officer.

Traffic violation leads to felony arrest and criminal defense

We previously posted about police using traffic violations to trigger vehicle searches leading to evidence of felony drug charges. Police in New York recently employed similar tactics to arrest a man on multiple felony charges including weapons possession and impersonating a federal law enforcement officer.

Avoiding harsh penalties through plea negotiation

The criminal justice system would probably grind to a halt were it not for the plea negotiation. Plea bargains are reached in 90 percent of the criminal cases. When prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys reach an agreement to allow the accused to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced charge or for a reduction in the penalties imposed at sentencing, everyone benefits.

Sometimes taking drugs before driving is a good thing

Drunk driving and drugged driving are both generally terrible ideas, for good and obvious reasons. But there is one notable exception to this general rule, as the recent deaths of three people on Halloween in the Morris Park section of the Bronx may illustrate.