The United States Military Acadamy (West Point) is located in the Town of Highlands and dominates the activities in the town. Route 9W cuts through a large segment of the town running north and south. Traffic enforcement is done by a combination of town and village police officers with some participation by NYS Police troopers. Enforcement on West Point is handled by the Military Police. The maximum speed limit in Highlands is 55 mph (primarily on Route 9W). Speed enforcement is very intense in the village of Fort Montgomery and in the village of Highland Falls. The 35 mph limit through Fort Montgomery is strictly enforced. Stationary and moving radar are widely used.
Both town justices have “traffic calendars” which are devoted to adjudicating traffic tickets. The NYS Police are prohibited from negotiating plea bargains on traffic violations. As a result, a special town prosecutor has been appointed to deal with tickets written by the NYS police. 95% of state police tickets are adjudicated through plea bargains with the special prosecutor. The Town Prosecutor and both judges are reasonable about plea bargains as long as the speed was not more than 25 mph over the limit.
Local police officers somtimes prosecute their own tickets, though the special prosecutor may substitute for them. Again, most tickets are resolved through plea bargains. Traffic court sessions can last 2-3 hours. Attorneys are permitted to appear without their clients being present for traffic court. Traffic tickets written on West Point are prosecuted in the U.S. District Court, Middletown. Plea bargains are available, but not terribly generous.
For more information about speeding and other traffic offenses, click here
To read some Frequently Asked Traffic Law questions, click here.
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Criminal Law Enforcement and Prosecutions
Most criminal prosecutions are handled by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The DA’s office takes a very hard line on DWI prosecutions. In 2009 there were more than 1800 alcohol related driving arrests for impaired or intoxicated driving (DWI, DWAI, DWAI-D) in Orange County. Both the NYS Police and the Deerpark Town Police made numerous arrests. Most arrests occurred after dark with many taking place after midnight. Police officers assume that many driver’s who are out after midnight have consumed alcohol and or drugs. As a result they are looking for any lawful reason to pull drivers over in order to investigate possible DWI incidents. Alcohol checkpoints have been frequently established by the a combined task force of NYS Police and Highlands Town or Village police. All of these offenses are “criminal” violations of the law and, as a result are prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Other typical criminal cases heard in Highlands Town Court are petty larceny, 3rd degree assault, harrassment and drug possession. Misdemeanors remain the jurisdiction of the town court, while felonies are transferred to the Orange County Court if there is a felony indictment by the Grand Jury. However, DWI and other criminal matters that occur on West Point property are prosecuted in U.S. District Court, Middletown, NY, though NYS criminal law is applied.
For more information about DWI, click here.
To read some Frequently Asked Questions about DWI, click here.
For information about having the Law Office of Glenn Magnell represent you on yourticket or DWI charge,, click here.