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Hall of Fame rapper faces felony driving charge

New York hip-hop fans might be interested in a recent incident involving rapper and television star Flavor Flav. The former member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rap group Public Enemy was pulled over for speeding in a New York suburb. Police stated that the celebrity, whose real name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., was ticketed for driving without a license, which is a felony, as well as for speeding. He was on his way to his mother's funeral when officers pulled him over.

Drayton's attorney told the district court judge that her client had made efforts to finalize the 16 unresolved traffic violations that were the underlying cause of the driving without a license charge. The rapper himself hopes that the court will dismiss the charges due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding them; if Drayton had not been late for his mother's funeral, he would not have been driving at all. During court proceedings the rapper wore a large clock on a chain around his neck, a look that became his trademark while he rapped with Public Enemy. He stopped to sign some autographs and posed for photographs on his way out of the courthouse.

In an unrelated matter, Drayton also faces serious felony charges in Las Vegas, where prosecutors allege the rapper threatened his girlfriend's 17-year-old son with a kitchen knife during a family dispute. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment with a weapon and assault with a deadly weapon. He could spend up to 12 years in a penitentiary if convicted.

As Flavor Flav's New York situation demonstrates, a simple traffic violation can lead to serious charges if there are complicating factors. A traffic defense attorney may be able to assist a criminal defendant by negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecution or by filing motions to assert the defendant's rights at trial. An attorney may be able to file a motion to suppress evidence, for example, if the defendant's Constitutional rights have been violated.

Source: Westport News, "Flavor Flav faces speeding-to-mom's-funeral charge", Frank Eltman, January 28, 2014

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