Criminal Law Recap for November 2014
There was a major drug raid this week in New Rochelle with over eighty people under arrest. The New Rochelle police investigated an alleged drug ring for seven months and was called City Operation Sweeper 2. The police in White Plains made an announcement that they had an additional fourteen suspects that they were looking for. One of the questions our Westchester felony drug lawyers hear from people in this situation is the police are looking for me what do I do. Our White Plains criminal defense attorneys recommend that if the police are looking for you, you need to be represented by an experienced attorney. Typically, if you are arrested on a warrant, you will be aggressively questioned. Putting a lawyer between you and the police is always a good idea. Also having an attorney reach out to the detectives prior to them finding you increases your chances of getting a more reasonable bail because an attorney can then advise the Court that the defendant turned himself in and therefore cannot be considered a flight risk, and since preventing flight is the main justification for bail, the purpose of imposing bail is significantly diminished if the person turns themselves in. Also our attorneys can facilitate having a bail bondsman on call, which likewise will reduce the amount of time that you will spend in jail.
The police reportedly found handguns and a large amount of heroin. The reports state that a major influx of heroin is being transported into Westchester from the Bronx. Ironically, one of the arrests was made at an affordable housing complex which does background checks and prohibits people with criminal convictions from residing there.
Seven arrests were made recently in Clarkstown New York in Rockland County for prostitution related charges in a day spa. Criminal enforcement in day spas has been an interesting area of sometimes contradictory policy decisions. For example, giving a massage in New York without a license is a felony, but engaging in prostitution is only a misdemeanor. So people who are involved in these operations often think they are helping themselves by claiming they are not engaging in prostitution, but are only giving massages, only to find out that they are facing felony charges, for giving massages without a license. Ironically, they would have been better off admitting to prostitution or even just remaining silent. Another wrinkle in this area is the fact that many of these spas involve people who are victims themselves of human trafficking. To protect these people, New York law was recently amended to require a debriefing session with the prosecutor to ensure that someone who was convicted of prostitution is not a human trafficking victim. If they find that they are a human trafficking victim, then the law requires the prosecutor to dismiss the charges.
In Queens, the Courts have become proactive in adopting a community based program and a special part where only prostitution cases are heard. Typically, in this new Queens part the goal is not to obtain criminal convictions but to set the accused on a better path through education. After completing a number of classes, the person accused of prostitution is often offered an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. An adjournment in contemplation of dismissal is a good result because it is not a criminal conviction and does not create a criminal record that will stain the person for life. In the Queens prostitution Court part, you will see all types of people engaged in prostitution related activities including men, women and transvestites. You will also see everyone from the common street walker, to high end escorts, massage parlor workers and people that post ads on sites like craigslist, backpage and eros. Our criminal defense lawyers view these attempts to avoid criminalizing people involved in prostitution as a positive step forward. Draconian collateral results from prostitution convictions can become a stain on a person’s record that brings public disgrace and a negative stigma, which can affect future employment possibilities, often unnecessarily. Many escorts are college kids looking for extra money and if put on a better path, have a high likelihood of becoming productive citizens, often with professional, white color jobs.