What is a Controlled Substance?

As science and technology have evolved, people have endless options to cure or fix an issue they may be facing. There is a pill to help you sleep and another to wake you up. There are plants that fix digestive problems and roots that are said to cure cancer. From caffeine to cocaine, Advil to Adderall, or Metamucil to methamphetamine, substances are all around us and used by the majority of Americans. State and Federal agencies have decided that some of these substances require more oversight than others and those substances are what is considered a “controlled substance.”

There are varying levels of “control” when it comes to controlled substances. These levels are called schedules. There are five schedules of controlled substances and these schedules are based on their medical use, as well as abuse and dependency potential.

Schedule I Controlled Substances are substances without any acceptable medical use in the United States with a high potential for abuse. These drugs are completely outlawed, and include:

  1. Heroin
  2. LSD
  3. Peyote
  4. Methamphetamine

Schedule II Controlled Substances are substances with a high potential for abuse or which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. These substances may be obtained with a prescription but they are highly regulated.  These substances include:

  1. OxyContin
  2. Percocet
  3. Adderall
  4. Ritalin

Schedule III Controlled Substances are substances that have lower potential for abuse, but may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. These substances may be obtained with a prescription. These substances include:

  1. Vicodin
  2. Codeine
  3. Anabolic Steroids

Schedule IV substances have a low potential for abuse and include:

  1. Xanax
  2. Valium
  3. Ativan

Schedule V substances have the lowest potential for abuse and are the least regulated, and are generally regulated based on potency and quantity. One common example of Schedule V is highly-concentrated cough syrup.

Possessing a controlled substance without a prescription is considered a drug offense. Possession is defined as the care, custody, control, or management – not necessarily the ownership – of a controlled substance. Punishment for possession of controlled substances can include a felony conviction and substantial jail time. As such, it is important to understand what controlled substances are to avoid taking them from or hold them for people even if that person has a prescription.

Call a New York Drug Defense Attorney for a Free Consultation Today.

Speaking with a New York Drug Defense Attorney can help you understand what a controlled substance is, what options you have if you have a controlled substance in your possession, and defend you if you are arrested for possession of controlled substance. Stephan Jacob Siegel has represented clients in several thousand matters involving charges, possession, or sale of a controlled substance. Please call a New York criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel today at 718-575-3900 for help.

Understanding Fraudulent Activity

When one thinks of fraud, they think of con-artists making deliberate efforts to cheat innocent people. They think of criminals or at the very least a used car salesmen. Fraud is not always so intentional, though, and can even happen by accident in certain circumstances. Bankruptcy, or other dealings between a creditor and a debtor, often trigger accidental fraud that can implicate an otherwise good person.

If a person or business is facing large amounts of debt that exceed the reasonable value of their assets, he/she is considered insolvent. When a person becomes insolvent, it is natural to try to protect the assets that are currently in their possession–especially ones that are held debt-free or were paid for and owned prior to any downturn that lead to the financial struggles. One must be very careful when dealing with assets in order to avoid fraudulent transfers.

Of the following three ways to handle assets when one becomes insolvent, the first two are considered fraudulent:

  1. Transfer the assets with fraudulent intent.
  2. A sale for less than what is considered to be the asset’s fair market value.
  3. A sale for fair consideration in an arm’s length transaction.

The first, and most obvious, way to commit fraud when handling assets is to transfer assets to a new business or to a third party with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud present or future creditors. This is actual fraud and requires a look at the intention of the debtor. If the transfer is made while the debtor is insolvent or it directly causes the debtor to become insolvent, then the debtor has committed a fraudulent transfer. Likewise, if the debtor is left with unreasonably small capital or intended to incur debts beyond the debtor’s ability to pay them, the intent to defraud creditors is found.

The next type of fraud is not as obvious as actual fraud and is known as constructive fraud. Constructive fraud does not require any intent on behalf of the debtor and automatically results when an insolvent debtor sells or transfers property for an amount less than fair consideration. Fair consideration is an exchange of property or money given for the debtor’s assets that is done in good faith and for property with a fair equivalent value.  When a transfer or sale is made that is inappropriately less than fair market value the Court will consider the transfer fraudulent.

Selling and transferring assets is the most common way to try to shield assets from debtors, but the principles of actual and constructive fraud apply in the following circumstances as well:

  1. Backdating mortgages
  2. Rescinding a profitable contracts
  3. Releasing interest in an estate
  4. Canceling valuable long-term leases
  5. Favoring one creditor over another
  6. Redeeming worthless stock
  7. Making excessive charitable contributions

Call a New York Fraud Defense Attorney Today for a Free Consultation.

If you are wrongfully accused of fraud or would like legal advice to avoid fraud, please do not hesitate to call the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel. We have helped many individuals accused of fraud and other offenses, so please call 718-575-3900 for more information today.

NYPD to go Easy on Drinking in Public in Manhattan

If you have spent any time in Manhattan, it may come as a surprise to you that drinking in public is actually against the law. While it is a daily occurrence, the police can and often do arrest people for violating the law, especially if it is done in a flagrant manner or a person is causing a disturbance.

Earlier this year, the New York County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release indicating that certain low-level offenses, such as drinking in public, will no longer result in an arrest unless there is a demonstrated public safety reason to do so. Additionally, the DA’s office has indicated that it will not be prosecuting most violations and infractions.  Examples of other offenses that are covered by the policy include the following:

  • Taking up two seats on the subway
  • Littering
  • Public urination

City officials hope that the change in policy will free up resources to focus more on violent crimes in the city. According to the press release, the change is expected to result in the diversion of about 10,000 arrests that would ordinarily be prosecuted in Manhattan Criminal Court.

No Changes to Current Law

Before you head over to Central Park and crack a cold one, keep in mind that drinking in public is still technically against the law. While you may not be arrested, receiving a summons will still require you to plead guilty and pay a fine or appear in court to argue your case. If you choose to do the latter, it will result in a conviction on your criminal record that could come back to haunt you at a later date, especially if your offense is related to the consumption of alcohol. While you may be able to walk out of the courthouse just by paying a fine, a guilty plea could affect your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, obtain certain state-issued licenses, or attend a particular educational institution.

Contact a New York Criminal Defense Attorney Today for More Information

While the NYPD may be taking a more lax approach to enforcement of low-level offenses, it is still important to speak to an attorney if you receive a summons for drinking in public or any other offense or violation. To schedule a free consultation with New York attorney Stephan Jacob Siegel, call our office today at 718-575-3900 or send us an email through our online contact form.

“Textalyzer” may be Coming to New York

Texting and driving is a serious public health issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates there were 431,000 people injured in accidents involving distracted drivers during 2014, and smartphones and text messaging undoubtedly played a role in a significant number of these incidents. Because of the significant dangers posed by texting and driving, most states (including New York) have passed laws limiting or even prohibiting the use of handheld devices when driving.

Enforcing these laws has been difficult, as law enforcement must literally catch a driver “in the act” to issue a citation. If proposed legislation passes, however, New York police may soon have a new tool in their arsenal to catch texting drivers who have been involved in accidents. Under the proposed law, police would be able to use a device known as a “textalyzer” in order to determine whether a driver was texting at the time of or immediately before the accident.

Named for the ubiquitous breathalyzer device that measures the alcohol in a person’s breath to determine their blood alcohol concentration, the textalyzer would scan a person’s phone to determine whether it had been in use at a particular time. Privacy advocates have raised concerns regarding the device’s ability to access personal data, but the bill’s co-sponsor says that the device would only be able to tell if a driver was texting and not gain access to any private information.

Traffic Offenses can Have Serious Consequences

It is important for people to keep in mind that traffic violations like texting and driving, failure to yield, and speeding can easily escalate in very serious legal issues. If you fail to pay a fine or you miss a court date, you may have a warrant issued for your arrest and be facing much more serious criminal penalties. As a result, it is always advisable to have an attorney handle your traffic violation case.

Call a New York Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Learn More

While texting and driving may seem like a minor offense, in certain cases it could result in the suspension of your driver’s license and other criminal penalties. In addition, if you are involved in an accident, a conviction for texting and driving could be used as evidence of negligence in a civil suit against you.  And if those arguments do not convince you to not text and drive, also please understand that if you have any weapons, drugs or other contraband in your vehicle when you are stopped, the stop for texting can easily serve as a predicate justification to stop and seize whatever other contraband exists and arrest you at the same time.  For this reason, it is critical for anyone accused of violating New York’s texting and driving law to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation with New York attorney Stephan Jacob Siegel, call our office today at 718-575-3900.