Cimasi Law Blog

As man as 11 Convicted in Erie County under Invalidated Law

The Buffalo News reports that as many as 11 individuals in Erie County may have been convicted under a law for Illegal Dissemination of Indecent Materials to Minors more than 21 years after a federal Judge invalidated the law as unconstitutional, and Erie County received affirmative notice of this binding decision.  The full story can be found on the Buffalo News website at:

DMV now Suspending Driving Privileges of those Accused of Using a Fake IDs to Enter Bars

Based on recent sting operations coordinated at bars in the Buffalo area, NYS Troopers have been arresting those under 21 who present "fake" or "chalked" IDs to attempt and enter bars and night clubs.  Most individuals, many of whom are college students, are generally issued appearance tickets for a traffic infraction under NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 509-6.  Upon arrival at Court, this is normally reduced to a parking or jay walking ticket.  However, several weeks after the arrest, the defendants are receiving a letter from a DMV Investigator calling them to either schedule a DMV Hearing at which their licenses may be revoked for up to a year, or accepting a plea to a 90 day suspension of their license with a Conditional License being granted to drive to work, school, and medical appointments.  This can have serious ramifications on your licensure going forward, especially if you have prior incidents of suspension or revocation.  

If this happens to you or your child, you should seek advice from an attorney experienced in DMV matters and the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law.  

Marijuana & US-Canada Border Crossings

As Canada has recently legalized recreational marijuana use nationally, border patrol and customs officers on either side of the border prepare for new issues.  Some U.S. states have legalized marijuana to varying degrees, Canada has done so nationally, but the U.S. federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.  Therefore, U.S. border patrol can seize, detain, and seek to prosecute any individual crossing into the U.S. with marijuana from Canada, even if it was a legal amount/format both in the country of departure and state of arrival.  Thus, the various prohibitions and regulations of marijuana use will continue to frustrate unwitting travelers who may think they are comporting to the "new" laws on marijuana use and possession in their home country.  You should into Canada or the U.S. with marijuana as it will likely be seized, and you may be arrested for prosecution.

Leandra's Law DWI in NYS

In New York State, Leandra's Law elevates any DWI to an E  Felony if a child age 15 or younger is a passenger in the vehicle at the time.  This significantly increases the potential penalties (fines, license revocation period, potential jail sentence, etc.) and ramifications of a DWI arrest, even if it is a first time DWI.  If you are charged with a felony Leandra's Law violation, certain counties have created diversion programs that allow the offenders to work on their substance abuse issues through a DWI Court or similar monitoring, then avoid felonization once the program is successfully completed.  Your eligibility for such programs is determined on a case-by-case basis.  If charged under this statute, you should seek a legal consultation prior to your first Court date.

NYS Legislative Rumblings Towards Marijuana Legalization

As with most states, marijuana enforcement in NYS has slackened on the lowest levels of possession.  NYS Penal Law Section 221.05 for Marijuana Possession is often adjudicated by a modest fine or an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal.  Now the NYS Assembly, at Governor Cuomo's urging, is looking into greater de-criminalization of marijuana possession and regulation/taxation of its sale within the state.  As marijuana is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug federally under the Controlled Substance Act (  Thus, no matter what action is taken at the state level, it will have complicated interactions with federal jurisdiction within NYS.

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