New York Criminal Lawyer Blog
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Certain crimes, whether ultimately proven by prosecutors beyond a reasonable doubt or successfully defended by New York criminal defense attorneys before or during trial, have a significant stigma associated with them. Crimes involving children rank high on this list of offenses, but those involving animals are not that far behind. Nobody, from New York judges to the Assistant District Attorneys who prosecute cases, has much sympathy where the allegations of an arrest or indictment involve animals. New York City may be the “concrete jungle,” but preying on animals will likely leave you locked up and facing a judge for your alleged indiscretions – willful or not. While each crime is unique, one statute that prosecutors use in their arsenal and that criminal defense lawyers find them selves challenging is Agriculture and Markets Law 353. This “A” misdemeanor, punishable with a permanent record by up to one year in jail, makes it a crime to deprive any animal of necessary sustenance, food or dink, or neglect or refuse to furnish that animal with such sustenance or drink. This blog entry will deal with the crime of AML 353 and the analysis of AML 353 in the context of case in New York City Criminal Court.

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Alcohol often brings out the worst in people. On occasion we may see the smiling, happy and funny intoxicated person, but more often than not extreme intoxication leads to terrible and sometimes life altering consequences. While Driving While Intoxicated, aka, DWI or DUI, often comes to mind, fights, thefts and other acts occur which the person in a sober state would never have contemplated. A recent night of binge drinking by a Crotty Saland PC client resulted in one of these terrible and life altering actions that but for the diligence and efforts of our criminal lawyers, could have devastated a young professional’s career, livelihood and future after prosecutors charged our client with the violent crime of Burglary in the Second Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 140.25.

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In New York City and throughout the State of New York from Manhattan to every municipality both big and small, domestic violence rears its ugly head. Sometimes individuals seek protection from the police and prosecutors while other times individuals pursue orders of protections or restraining orders in New York’s Family Courts. The reasons vary just as much as the people who pursue an order of protection or restraining order. It may be that a complainant (in the Criminal Court criminal context) or petitioner (in the Family Court civil context) doesn’t want the other party arrested or does not want to cede control of their personal life and the trajectory of a case to a prosecutor. Whatever the reason or choice of venue, it behooves a petitioner who seeks a Family Court order of protection to speak with an attorney or lawyer versed in the Family Court Act before taking the steps to try to secure a restraining order. If your need for an order of protection is not immediate (ie, you don’t need to call 911 for example) and the person who you are seeking protection from is a “family member” then taking seeking counsel is likely a smart move for the long term viability of your order of protection.

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The crime of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree (Penal Law 240.30(1)) has evolved over the years as the Court of Appeals has removed part of the statute and others have been added by the legislature. One thing that has not changed, however, is how serious penalties can range if you are convicted of PL 240.30 whether you are arrested with a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) or processed on a Domestic Violence related case.

Briefly, you are guilty of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree (Penal Law 240.30(1)) if (and only if) an Assistant District Attorney proves beyond a reasonable doubt that “(1) with intent to harass another person; (2) the actor communicates, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, by telegraph, or by mail, or by transmitting or delivering any other form of written communication, a threat to cause physical harm to … such person; and (3) the actor knows or reasonably should know that such communication will cause such person to reasonably fear harm to such person’s physical safety…”

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The crime of Commercial Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree carries severe consequences including a year in jail and the decimation of your career. It should go without saying that it is crucial for the prosecution to prove every element of the crime charged whether you have been arrested in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or anywhere else in the State of New York. In order for a judge or jury to convict you of Commercial Bribe Receiving in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 180.05) the State must prove that an employee, agent or fiduciary, without consent of his/her employer or principal, solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit from another person upon an agreement or understanding that such benefit will influence his/her conduct in relation to his/her employer’s or principal’s affairs. (Penal Law 180.05) The key to this crime is not the payment of money but rather the agreement or understanding under which the alleged bribe receiver accepts or agrees to accept a benefit.

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Nobody likes to falsely be accused of wrongdoing. Even worse, nobody ever wants to be accused of a crime he or she did not commit. Whether in New York City or any other city or state, the consequences of an arrest are often devastating to one’s mental health and one’s career and future. Unfortunately for a Crotty Saland PC client, after a former lover made bogus allegations of Second Degree Aggravated Harassment (New York Penal Law 240.30), detectives with the NYPD arrested, incarcerated our client over night, and presented the case against our client to prosecutors. Right or wrong, due to New York’s strict domestic violence laws and NYPD policies, the mere allegation of Aggravated Harassment was enough for an arrest even though no corroboration of the complaint existed at the time of the allegation or anytime thereafter. Fortunately, due to the diligence of our criminal defense lawyers, what started off as a nightmare ended with full exoneration and vindication after the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office thoroughly investigated the accusations and ultimately dismissed the case on its merits.

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Healthcare Fraud (a/k/a Health Care Fraud) is crime vigorously pursued by local District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Attorney General. The basic idea or theme behind any New York Penal Law Article 177 crime, investigation or arrest is that a defendant “with intent to defraud a health care plan… knowingly and willfully provided materially false information … for the purpose of requesting payment from a health plan for a health care item or service and, as a result of such information …, [the defendant] or another person received payment in an amount [to which the defendant or another person was] not entitled.” Depending on the nature or aggregate value of the payment received, Healthcare Fraud in New York State (it is irrelevant if alleged fraud occurs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, White Plains, Yonkers or Albany) is either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. Once an individual is alleged to have received from a single health plan at least $3,000.00, the crime graduates to the class “E” felony of Health Care Fraud in the Fourth Degree. This crime is punishable by as much as four years in prison. Obviously, should the aggregate amount be greater, the felony and incarceration exposure increases significantly.

With this general understanding of New York’s Health Care Fraud statute, the following blog entry will provide a little more insight into what actions can be the basis of a criminal violation.
In People v. Khan, 18 NY 3d 535 (2012), the Court of Appeals grappled (that may be an overstatement) with the nature of proof required for a conviction under the Health Care Fraud statute. There, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the New York City Human Resources Administrations conducted an undercover investigation of NYC Pharmacy, Inc. NYC Pharmacy Inc. is a pharmacy located in Upper Manhattan.

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In New York, or any state for that matter, arrests involving children carry with them the worst stigma. Obviously, crimes that involve sexual or physical harm are by far and away the most serious, but the stain of an arrest can linger even if your conduct is nowhere near or similar to these offenses. While on its face Endangering the Welfare of a Child, New York Penal Law 260.10, is a “nasty” crime, your conduct need not be that significant to run afoul of the law. In fact, the New York criminal lawyers and New York Endangering the Welfare of a Child attorneys at Crotty Saland PC have represented more than one client over the years for leaving a child alone briefly to merely follow through with an every day activity such as running into a store for a couple of minutes. Smart? Maybe not. Worthy of a criminal conviction? No.

Well, beyond the crime of PL 260.10, even if the conduct itself is criminal, who is responsible for the child in question? What if, for example, a child was left unattended and you, as a cousin, neighbor, uncle, sibling or other party came to secure the child after the police had been called. Is your mere offer to take responsibility of the child also a reflection of your culpability for leaving the child alone? What must prosecutors do to establish the nature and extent of the defendant’s control and care? A recent decision from the Bronx Criminal Court answers this exact question.

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Drug, controlled substance and narcotics crimes in New York may not be punished to the same magnitude as the Rockefeller Drug Laws of the past, but any New York Penal Law Article 220 crime in New York City or in a suburban New York State county still carries a significant punishment. Where a person is charged with a “B” felony possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell (New York Penal Law 220.16, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree), the sentence for a first time offender is one to nine years in a New York State prison. If the potential for years of prison and incarceration was not enough, a permanent ‘”scarlet letter” of a felony drug conviction may be enough to scare any young man or woman straight. Although all of us expect to stay far from the mistakes that could land us with a Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance or Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance arrest or conviction, nobody is perfect. In fact, even if we never possess cocaine, heroin or any other controlled substance, its possible for prosecutors and police officers to still attempt to hold us accountable for the actions of others. Yes, being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be the basis of an arrest, prosecution and criminal conviction in the world of narcotics. One such provision of the New York Penal Law that allows this, NY PL 220.25(1), permits a finder of fact to presume that all people in a vehicle knowingly possessed controlled substances found therein as long as the drugs were not on a specific person. Unfortunately, this is the scenario a Crotty Saland PC client found himself in having no knowledge of any drugs in the car where he rode as a passenger.

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New York City’s JFK and LaGuardia airports see their fare share of criminal activity. The airports are crawling with federal, state and local law enforcement ready to swoop down at the first sign of some wrong doing. One of the seemingly growing crimes that the Port Authority Police Department, TSA and airline ticketing agents seem to be ready, willing and able to pounce on is the crime of Criminal Possession of a Weapon. More specifically, the crime that is routinely prosecuted is Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.03. Obviously each fact pattern is different, but the themes generally run the same. You are a legal or registered firearm owner in California, Florida, Texas or some other state. You are visiting New York City , Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island, the Hudson Valley or a neighboring state such as New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania. Nobody stopped you from coming to this jurisdiction or advised you that you couldn’t bring your revolver, pistol or other gun to the State of New York. Why would you expect anything would be different when you packed up the gun, separately carried the ammunition and checked your firearm at the airport for your journey home? Why? Well, sadly the answer is clear and now you need a New York firearm lawyer and criminal defense attorney to mitigate your “wrongful” conduct from a statutory violent felony with mandatory incarceration to something that will not destroy your future or livelihood.

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