Selling adderall online on sites such as Craigslist is an extremely serious drug felony in New York. For that matter, selling adderall or other controlled substances to an undercover cop or any other buyer online or in person is criminally devastating. It is of no consequence whether or not you have a prescription for these “study aids” or not. At its core, an illegal drug sale is an illegal drug sale. If you are arrested in New York for selling “Pep Pills,” “Beans,” “Uppers” or any amphetamine or dextroamphetamine, you certainly will receive a boost in clarity coming from your jail cell, a prosecutor, the judge and even your criminal defense lawyer. What will be clear, however, is not the upper you get from ingesting adderall, but the reality that you now face one to two and a half ( 1 to 2.5 ) years in prison followed by one year post release supervision as a individual without any criminal history at all. Broken down to the simplest level, an arrest, indictment and conviction for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, New York Penal Law 220.31, is a crime that can, and often does, lead to a combination of incarceration, probation, and destruction of careers and livelihoods. How you implement your defense and the strength of that defense will decide if you are able to walk away unscathed, reduce the crime you are charged with or spend time “upstate.”
There are “ugly” crimes and there are “uglier” crimes in the State of New York. Any offense that involves a threat of or actual violence falls in the latter category. Because of this, when crimes such as Assault, Stalking and Menacing are the foundation of an arrest in New York City or anywhere in the State of New York, it is critical to attack the allegation in any means legally permissible. Whether by challenging the evidence or procedure or mitigating conduct, should you not exercise your rights you may find yourself convicted of a stigmatizing crime. Addressing the offense of Menacing in the Third Degree (information about other Menacing degrees or the crimes of Assault and Stalking is available on the CrottySaland.Com website and this blog), one normally thinks of a scary looking man brandishing some sort of weapon or dangerous instrument making threats of physical violence accompanied by some sort of a demand. Because there is no stereotypical criminal case of New York Penal Law 120.15, every criminal defense attorney must be prepared to analyze any allegation, set of facts or evidence to ascertain whether or not the complaint against his or her client is legally sufficient and whether or not proof exists beyond a reasonable doubt.
New York’s “Blue Sky Law,” The Martin Act, prohibits “[a]ny fraud, deception, concealment, suppression, false pretense or fictitious or pretended purchase or sale” in “the issuance, distribution, exchange, sale, negotiation or purchase … of any securities or commodities.” Codified by New York Business Law section 352, the Martin Act packs a punch in terms of punishment and consequences. Because of this, one of the critical components to any defense is to determine whether prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated each element and every of the crime or the offenses that are routinely prosecuted alongside the Martin Act. As addressed in a previous blog entry discussing the requisite intent to defraud (or lack thereof in Martin Act cases), courts have given prosecutors more room to prosecute securities crimes as opposed to confining or restraining them. This blog entry will address not whether one must have an intend to defraud as analyzed in the earlier entry, but the latitude given to law enforcement in defining what constitutes fraud.
Who ever thought legally owning a firearm, licensed handgun, revolver or other pistol would land you in jail? Your airline carrier didn’t tell you when you called or searched online. JetBlue, Delta or American airlines didn’t stop you when you checked it before you flew into New York City. There was nothing on a website dedicated to LaGuardia or JFK Airports that properly advised you. Even the TSA website proved useless. Believing you were compliant with the criminal and firearm laws of New York State, what did you do? You got arrested for checking your broken down, unloaded firearm properly locked in a hard side case before boarding your flight home. Sadly, the nightmare began when the gate agent called the Port Authority Police, without giving you any indication of your wrongdoing, as you waited with friends or family to get your boarding pass. Never suspecting you would need a New York firearm attorney or New York criminal defense lawyer, your life went from being a “regular” person to an accused criminal arrested and charged with violating New York Penal Law 265.03. Twelve, fifteen or even twenty four hours after sitting in Central Booking, you finally saw a Criminal Court Judge in Queens count who may even have set bail on your charge of violating Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon. Whether you were released or not, the three and one half to fifteen years you now face is rightfully terrifying.
Its not likely that either New York State prosecutors or New York criminal defense attorneys see many of these types of offenses as they are more commonly prosecuted by Federal prosecutors, but New York State has a government defrauding statute on the books. Codified in New York Penal Law 195.20, it is a felony crime to defraud the government. Defrauding the Government is a Class E felony. Like all felonies of this severity or level, a conviction for this offense does not carry a mandatory term of incarceration, but due to the nature of the crime it certainly would not be surprising for a judge to sentence a convicted defendant to prison. If that happened, the exposure an accused would face would be as great as one and one third to four years in a New York State prison.
There are many violent crimes in the New York Penal Law that may not be considered felonies, but are extremely serious crimes nonetheless. Menacing in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 120.14(1), is one such crime. Right or wrong, better or worse, the NYPD or other local law enforcement and police departments will err on the side of caution and make an arrest even if you later have a viable defense to challenge the accusation. Punishable by a sentence of up to one year in jail and exacerbated by many additional collateral issues that you and your criminal lawyer will discuss, the law requires that to be guilty of Second Degree Menacing, you must “intentionally place or attempt to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a… dangerous instrument…” Well, it seems fairly clear. If you threaten someone in this manner, you are guilty of this crime. But an interesting question is as follows. What if you do not behave in this manner in front of the intended or alleged victim, but instead share or provide a photograph depicting this menacing behavior? Can that photograph constitute a violation of PL 120.14? Fortunately, a recent court decision addressed this issue. In People v. Stone, 43 Misc. 3d 705 (2014) a court addressed whether a picture of the defendant, in a ski mask and holding a knife, was sufficient to satisfy the display requirement of Menacing in the Second Degree. Continue reading →
Whether prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor, the crimes of Forgery and Criminal Possession of a Forged instrument are offenses in the New York Penal Law that carry significant terms of jail and imprisonment ranging from one year in jail to fifteen years in prison. Sometimes defenses to a Forged Instrument or Forgery arrest are fairly straight forward for your criminal lawyer or fraud defense attorney while other times articulating a defense is quite difficult. At bottom, irrespective of whether you are charged with the misdemeanor crimes of New York Penal Law 170.05 (Forgery in the Third Degree) or 170.20 (Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree), or you indicted for the felony crimes of 170.10 (Forgery in the Second Degree) or 170.25 (Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree), prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intend to defraud.
The Martin Act, New York General Business Law 352 and related subsections, is the hammer in a prosecutor’s toolbox to investigate and prosecute securities fraud in New York State. The New York State Legislature passed this “blue sky law” to regulate fraudulent securities transactions and to provide the New York Attorney General (a prosecutor with jurisdiction anywhere in the State of New York), with grounds to bring a civil law suit against perpetrators of financial fraud. In 1932 the act was expanded to allow the Attorney General to bring criminal charges, and request criminal sanctions, against perpetrators of financial fraud.
It’s all over the newspaper today, with headlines like “BombShel” and “Silver Lining Crook Book,” that the long-time Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, has been hit with fraud and corruption charges by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. Everyone is talking about the accusations – Silver allegedly received millions of dollars over about a dozen years from two law firms for referrals in exchange for political favors. But what, exactly, is Silver charged with?
Silver has been charged with five counts in a criminal complaint. First, keep in mind that a criminal complaint is merely the beginning of a criminal prosecution in federal court. In order for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pursue this case, they will have to present evidence before a grand jury, which would have to vote an indictment. Only then could the case proceed to trial. Many have said that the government could indict a ham sandwich – and in this case, given the details in the criminal complaint, appears to be a likely scenario.
One other possibility is that Silver could enter into a plea bargain with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and plead guilty to what is called an Information. It has the same legal power and effect as an indictment, but would not require the U.S. Attorney to present evidence to a grand jury. Only time will tell which way it will go. Continue reading →
Criminal Obstruction of Breathing and Blood Circulation is a serious charge. As criminal lawyers who have handled these cases, we can say without hesitation that here is simply no other way to view the offense. In the State of New York, a defendant commits the crime of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing and Blood Circulation when, as defined in New York Penal Law 121.11(a), he/she, with intent to impeded the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person, he/she applies pressure on the throat or neck of such person. Yes, that is it. Nothing more. The definition of this crime leads to an interesting issue. That is, how long must a defendant hold pressure on the victim’s throat to commit a Criminal Obstruction of Breathing and Blood Circulation offense (Penal Law 121.11) and how much evidence must the People (Assistant District Attorneys) provide for their case to survive a motion to dismiss on facial sufficiency grounds. In the case of People v. Reyes, 2014 NY Slip Op 50789 (2014), a New York City Court examined these issues.