Covid-19 Update: At Tilem & Associates our lawyers are committed to protecting your rights, serving our clients and keeping you safe.

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New York Traffic lawyers have experienced first hand the empty roads and the opportunity to speed and we have seen a decrease in the number of calls from ticketed drivers.  Sadly, it appears that the proverbial party is over.  During the month of April, the number of traffic tickets issued has dropped from over 85,000 in April 2019 to just over 10,000 during April 2020.  Now, the New York State Police has asked that troopers return to normal traffic enforcement duties.  In a memo to State Troopers, from their Superiors, Troopers were told that the pause was necessary but that now due to increased awareness about the transmission of the COVID-19 Virus and the issuance of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to Troopers, the time has come to return to normal enforcement.

While the memo refers to an increase in aggressive drivers during the pandemic, New York traffic attorneys know how much revenue is raised by the issuance of traffic tickets and how much the State is surely losing in traffic ticket revenue during the pandemic.  The pause in enforcement was scheduled to end today May 1, 2020.

With approximately 90 New York State Troopers testing positive for the Covid-19 virus it may be hard to convince Troopers who may be reluctant to interact with the public if avoidable.  Although, apparently both the State Police and the Union have been distributing Personal Protective Equipment to Troopers, the level of enforcement will probably partly depend on the continued availability of PPE.  In addition Governor Cuomo has already announced that first responder and particularly State Troopers will receive priority for Covid-19 antibody testing.  Obviously, having ample testing available to law enforcement officers such as New York State Troopers may give them more comfort in performing their jobs.

A documentary produced by John Stossel about the experiences of two clients of Tilem & Associates who flew through New York airports, one with a gun and one with a firearm magazine clearly demonstrates the absurdity of New York gun laws and the real need for National Concealed Carry Reciprocity.  The video can be viewed here.

The video tells the story of Tricia Jordan who was with her daughter when she was attempting to fly out of Laguardia airport with a gun and was arrested for the class “C” violent felony of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and of Avi Wolf who had a magazine with no firearm and no bullets but was arrested for the class “D” violent felony of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (yes, I know, he didn’t possess a weapon) because the magazine, even though it was empty, was capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Both, after hiring Tilem & Associates, pled guilty to a non-criminal disorderly conduct charge and paid a fine of $250.  Both had their records sealed.  However, the video shows what these law abiding citizens went through including spending a day in jail and having to hire a lawyer to defend them against these very serious charges.  The video also shows how misleading the TSA website and the airline website can be for travelers to New York who lawfully fly with their guns.

When a defendant is charged with a crime (such as Driving While Intoxicated or a Controlled Substances offense) based upon evidence found during a car stop, the first question an experienced defense attorney should ask is: “why was the car stopped?” If the stop was unconstitutional, any evidence found as a result of the stop should be suppressed.

While the police may conduct non-arbitrary, nondiscriminatory traffic checks at roadblocks, checkpoints and weigh stations pursuant to uniform procedures, an officer may not single out one particular vehicle and stop it for a routine traffic check to check the driver’s license and look for possible equipment violations. A single vehicle may only stopped where the officer has a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law has been committed. People v. Ingle, 36 N.Y.2d 413, 369 N.Y.S.2d 67 (1975).

In Ingle, the officer singled out the defendant’s vehicle from the stream of traffic solely because of its unusual appearance. The vehicle was an old vintage 1949 Ford. The Trooper decided to conduct a routine traffic stop. The Court held the stop illegal and suppressed drugs that were subsequently found in the car.

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