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If you have any questions or have personally had a negative encounter with New Paltz Police, please email our attorney at celestemarie14@gmail.com.

Legal Authority to Change Laws

Noise and Alcohol
The noise and alcohol laws are local laws and can be freely amended.
Marijuana
When a municipality wants to decriminalize marijuana where the state has not, other municipalities have passed a law making marijuana a civil offense, and then directs their police to write the civil ticket instead of arrest or impose a criminal charge.
Marijuana Caselaw in NY
In 1984 NYC passed a law which made carrying a knife in some instances a violation, when under state law the same act was a misdemeanor. It was challenged, and the court upheld the law stating "One may cite examples where the two statutes will overlap... However, the fact that the prosecution will often be given the choice between prosecuting as a misdemeanor (Penal Law, ยง 265.01) or as a violation (the local law) is not a violation of the right to due process." People v. Ortiz, 125 Misc.2d 318 (1984).
In 2004, NYC passed a law allowing people to possess guns in transit to shooting ranges where previously they had only been allowed in their homes, thus expanding rights locally that were curbed on a State level. The Appellate Court upheld the law, saying (1) the petitioner (and probably no one) has standing to challenge a law which expands rights, (2) expanding the instances where a gun is a law is not supplanting a law, it's supplementing it. De Illy v. Kelly, 6 A.D.3d 217 (2004).
These two cases are in line with a wealth of caselaw that handles the other side of the coin. Many municipalities have passed laws with tougher penalties than state penalties for penal violations. These cases all rely on People v. Lewis which is a Court of Appeals case (highest court in NY), which states that a difference in penalty between state and local law does not invalidate the local law for inconsistency. People v. Lewis, 296 N.Y. 42.
The caselaw beneath Lewis has laid out that a local law cannot 'allow' something state law forbids, or forbid something that state law allows. This is important because it dictates you cannot simply pass a law stating there is no penalty for marijuana, you must penalize it, but the caselaw repeatedly states that a difference in penalty IS allowed. It notably, does not single out an "increase" in penalty, but rather a "difference".