New York Criminal Lawyer Blog
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In New York State from Manhattan and Brooklyn to Yonkers and White Plains, drunk driving, driving while intoxicated, DWI, DUI, or any way you want to describe it, VTL 1192 is an extremely serious offense. Simply, not only is a violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1192 a criminal offense, but a conviction will result in the suspension or revocation of your license, fines and a risk of probation or jail. Even without the public stigma associated with this crime, the collateral consequences are significant both to your career and within your community. Because of the grave consequences resulting from an arrest or conviction for an section of VTL 1192, consulting with and retaining an experienced New York State or New York City DWI attorney as well as having a general understanding of New York DWI and DUI law is critical. This blog entry will provide you with a general understanding of one of the many issues that arise in a DWI case. That is, whether or not the field sobriety test / portable breath test you agreed to take at the scene of your arrest for DWI can be used against you at trial.

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Recently, we discussed the history of the Medicare Fraud strike forces set up by the U.S. Department of Justice, Fraud Section, in an effort to combat what was perceived as rampant fraud in the healthcare system.  Recently, local U.S. Attorneys across the country have copied the structure and format of the strike forces within their own offices.

Take for example David Hickton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh, who created his own “mini-strike force.”  He has enlisted four assistant U.S. attorneys from his office to focus exclusively on health care fraud investigations and prosecutions.  He has support from the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI, which is one of the two federal law enforcement agencies charged with investigating health care fraud.  He has also reached out to the HHS-OIG, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, the other federal agency investigating the medical industry, asking them to dedicate special agents to the Pittsburgh area.

The idea is to focus manpower on one of the largest and most complex industries in the country in an effort to gain expertise while eradicating millions, if not billions of dollars of fraud, waste and abuse in the healthcare industry. Continue reading →

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Simply, we can all appreciate and respect the fact that just as the police act on calls, information and statements with the goal of providing safety and security to residents of New York, there are times when the police are not needed or warranted. Practically speaking, it is often difficult for law enforcement to ascertain whether their services and presence is truly necessary without further investigation. Many times it is essential for the police to get involved while other times it is not. An interesting question arises where the police come to your house and want to gain access. In such a circumstance, can you deny them entry and if you do deny them access, can you be prosecuted for a crime such as Obstructing Government Administration in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 195.05)? Addressing this exact circumstance (but remember each case is unique and the facts of the case dictate what law applies), People v. Holmes, 2014 NY Slip Op 51099 (NY Crim. Ct.)  sheds some light on this issue.

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It is likely not lost on your criminal attorney or New York criminal defense lawyer. The same can certainly be said about the undercover police officer who purchased “study aids” from you after seeing your advertisement on Craigslist. Even more concerning, it is likely not the prosecutor’s (Assistant District Attorney) or the judge’s first rodeo fighting controlled substance crimes in New York. Simply, the felony sale or possession of Adderall, and a subsequent arrest or indictment for Penal Law 220.06 or Penal Law 220.31, has the potential to absolutely destroy your future. You need not be pitching crack on a corner or cocaine at high class function to feel law enforcement’s weight on your shoulders. Whether or not you sold one pill (or 50), search warrants were executed at your residence or you were found to be in possession of prerecorded buy money (the cash with matching serial numbers provided by detectives or the police during an alleged purchase), you will face as much as one to two and one half years in prison followed by one year post release supervision. If convicted, this criminal record will be here to stay.

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Facial Sufficiency is a vital consideration in the field of Criminal Law (one of many, of course). If a misdemeanor information (some people call it a complaint) is facially insufficient then the misdemeanor information is considered jurisdictionally defective and should be dismissed. In order for a misdemeanor information to be facially sufficient the misdemeanor information must, when viewed in a light most favorable to the People (the District Attorney or prosecution), contain non-hearsay factual allegations providing reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed the offense(s) charged; and which establish, if true, every element of the offense(s) charged. CPL §§100.15[3]; 100.40[1][b] and [c].

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It may be great tabloid fodder for the foreseeable future, but hacking computers, PCs, mobile devices and Apple’s ICloud is a very dangerous and risky pastime.  Sure, sharing intimate and naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst may be good for sophomoric kicks and gossip sites. Arguably, many of the images of the also-rans and lesser knowns who were exposed may have secondary and post embarrassment value in boosting their respective profiles. Irrespective of the consequences to the victims both “good” and bad, computer hacking is a serious Federal crime with equally serious punishment. Make no mistake. You need not be the anonymous celebrity hacker to feel the power and wrath of law enforcement from Federal agents to prosecutors. There will be few, if any, Federal judges who will not come down hard with bail upon your arrest or punish you severely at your sentencing should you be convicted of a computer hacking offense. If nothing else is clear, you and your criminal lawyer will have a long road ahead if you are accused, the target, or a subject of a computer hacking offense. If prosecutors have successfully executed search warrants and found materials on your computers, tracked IP information, and obtained any statements from you during the course of their investigation, your predicament can easily go from bad to worse.

The following blog entry will address some of the potential Federal crimes that the anonymous celebrity hacker  – or anyone – would face if prosecuted in Manhattan’s Southern District of New York, Brooklyn’s Eastern District of New York, Newark’s District of New Jersey or any other Federal jurisdiction.

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I the realm of criminal prosecutions in New York City’s Criminal Courts and New York State’s local Town and Village Courts, one of the most common offenses that are pursued by police and prosecutors is the crime of Third Degree Assault pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.00. This crime can be quite a serious offense even where the degree of an injury is well below the felony threshold. For example, one can punch another person square in the face and break that person’s nose or strike someone hard enough to cause an ugly laceration and welt, but the crime will remain a misdemeanor Assault int the Third Degree. Whether that injury sustained causes a bloody hemorrhage or only a small bruise, as long as there is physical injury and substantial pain the accused will face up to one year in jail on an NY PL 120.00 arrest or conviction (NOTE: In New York City – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, etc., first time offenders may be issued a NYC Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) when arrested, but the charge and potential punishment is no less grave).

Due to the direct and collateral consequences to an arrest for PL 120.00 even without a conviction, it is critical to collect evidence and move forward with your defense at the beginning of the process. While one way your criminal lawyer will pursue your defense may be through speaking with witnesses (even the complainant) or securing videos or photographs, another means of attack is through the charging document (called the criminal court complaint or criminal court information). The following legal decision addresses one such attempt to challenge the legal sufficiency of an information while also shedding some light on how prosecutors can pursue criminal cases without the assistance of the victim him or herself.

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A conviction for driving while intoxicated, drunk driving, DWI, DUI, or any other name you want to call a New York VTL 1192 crime, can, and often does, has a host of damaging consequences. The foreseeable consequences range from fines to incarceration and suspension / revocation of licenses to an interlock being placed on your vehicle (where you, the defendant, must pay for the maintenance and installation). As bad as these punishments may be (along with a criminal record that does not get expunged), there are consequences that can be much worse terms. Forget the fact that local law enforcement such as the NYPD or Westchester County Police may seek the forfeiture of your vehicle, there are few employers who would look favorably on a conviction relating to DWI even if the conduct does not rise to the felony level. With this in mind, it is never too early to challenge a criminal complaint or information. While your strongest defense may be at trial, should there be any grounds to challenge the sufficiency of the DWI accusation at an earlier stage, both you and your criminal attorney or New York DWI lawyer should seize the opportunity and do so.

Although the following case did not result in the appellate decision the defendant was hoping for, the case and decision are worth noting in this blog as they further define and illustrate the elements of New York’s DWI and Reckless Driving crimes and the minimum standards that prosecutors are required to meet to sustain a conviction.

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In the State of New York a violation is defined as an offense for which a defendant can be sentenced to no more than 15 days in jail. Disorderly Conduct (New York Penal Law 240.20) is a violation of the New York State Penal Code. A Disorderly Conduct conviction can have wide ranging consequences for most people ranging from community service and fees to incarceration (not likely in most scenarios) and damage to a professional career. Disorderly conduct should only be charged when you act in a way that provokes public disorder. Furthermore, you can be charged with Disorderly Conduct as long as you intend to cause “public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creat[e] a risk thereof.” Therefore, if you do not provoke or intend to provoke, public disorder then a Disorderly Conduct arrest should not stand on its own two feet. This was exemplified in the case of People v. Zuckerberg.

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Most of the direct consequences for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated or DUI) crimes in New York are fairly standard. While there is deviation between sentence to sentence and case to case, the maximums remain the same for any misdemeanor offense involving New York Vehicle and Traffic Law sections 1192.2 or 1192.3. In addition to being burdened with a criminal conviction for a misdemeanor, the law allows up to a one year jail sentence, probation, community services and fines. Beyond the possibility of incarceration, sentences also include completion of the Drinking Driver Program (sometimes called the Drunk Driving Program). Additional punishment will include a license suspension and the placement of a ignition interlock device on your car that requires you to “blow” before, and sometimes during, the operation of your vehicle. Simply, the potential punishment for a conviction for New York for VTL 1192.2 or New York VTL 1192.3 are quite serious for anyone accused of or arrested for a DWI offense. This fact alone is why it is essential to ascertain and implement a defense that can lead to mitigation of your conduct to a non criminal offense or even dismissal. When you are a professional, such as an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York, however, the consequences can be even more grave and the need to challenge the allegations that much more important.

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