New York Passes Law Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

As of March 31, it is now legal in New York State for people over the age of 21 to possess up to three ounces of marijuana for recreational purposes. In addition, certain people currently behind bars for marijuana-related offenses will have those sentences expunged. However, New Yorkers should still be wary about openly partaking in the substance, because it has not been legalized on the federal level. Continue reading “New York Passes Law Legalizing Recreational Marijuana”

Mental Health Courts Offer Alternatives For Some Defendants

Mental health courts (also called MHCs) have been a part of the New York criminal justice system for years, but they are an often underutilized alternative. While not appropriate for all defendants, they can help people who have come into contact with the police due to mental health issues. It can also help people suffering from mental health problems from being placed into the prison system, avoiding some of the worst consequences of a criminal prosecution. Continue reading “Mental Health Courts Offer Alternatives For Some Defendants”

What is an ACD, and Why Should You Care?

In most people’s minds, there are only really four ways a case can end: taking a plea deal, being convicted at trial, winning at trial, or having your case dismissed. However, in New York State, there is at least one other way your case might end: an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, also known as an ACD or ACOD. But what exactly does it mean to get an ACD, and how might it be beneficial to you? Continue reading “What is an ACD, and Why Should You Care?”

Five Ways Police Convince You Not to Exercise Your Rights

As a citizen of the United States, you have certain constitutionally guaranteed rights that are meant to protect you against police coercion. Just because you have those rights, though, does not mean police will respect them, and they have tricks to convince people to not exercise those rights, even when it would be in their best interest. As a result, even completely innocent people can be manipulated into giving unwitting confessions to crimes they did not commit. If you ever speak to the police, look out for these five tricks they use to get around your constitutional rights: Continue reading “Five Ways Police Convince You Not to Exercise Your Rights”

Crime Down Overall, but Homicides Up in 2020

The past year has been difficult for just about everyone, with the coronavirus pandemic contributing to many kinds of hardship. For the most part, however, crime was down across the board, with many people choosing to stay inside during the quarantine rather than go out and engage in criminal activity. Unfortunately, homicides were among the few exceptions to this rule, with the rate of homicide skyrocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading “Crime Down Overall, but Homicides Up in 2020”

Five Reasons to Retain Private Criminal Counsel

By law, every person charged with a crime in the United States is guaranteed legal representation in court. If they cannot pay for their lawyer, the court will even pay for their lawyer so they can get that representation. While public defenders are generally competent at their jobs, there are still substantial reasons to consider getting a private lawyer instead of sticking with your court-appointed one. Here are five reasons you should consider getting a private lawyer in your criminal case: Continue reading “Five Reasons to Retain Private Criminal Counsel”

What is the Right to Remain Silent?

Plenty of people have heard of the right to remain silent in the context of American criminal law. Despite it being common knowledge, however, not everyone understands it, or what its implications are. So what exactly is the right to remain silent, and what happens if someone violates that right? Continue reading “What is the Right to Remain Silent?”

What is a Stop-and-Frisk Search?

If you live in New York, chances are you have heard about the police tactic of “stop-and-frisk” searches. These searches have been the subject of extensive controversy throughout the years, particularly in big cities where the practice is incredibly common. But what is a stop-and-frisk, exactly, and why do so many people get up in arms about them? Continue reading “What is a Stop-and-Frisk Search?”

Understanding Your Miranda Rights

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you by the court at no cost.” These are the famous Miranda rights, which almost everyone has heard of through popular media. But why do the police read you your Miranda rights when you get arrested, and what happens if they do not? Continue reading “Understanding Your Miranda Rights”

What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

In criminal law, most crimes are divided into one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. There are some major differences between the two types of crimes, both in terms of time served and the impact they could have on a convict’s life. So what is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor, and why does it matter? Continue reading “What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?”