You had a few beers. A couple of glasses of wine. A shot or two of whiskey. OK, maybe it was that and a couple of more. Buzzed? Intoxicated? Flat out drunk? Wherever you are on that spectrum, you are watching your kids. At least that’s what you’re supposed to be doing. You are their caretaker and guardian, but your more than a few sheets to the wind. Maybe you had a good time, but that is quickly turning to regret. After all, how can you watch children if you can’t stand straight or speak properly? If you have left your children unattended as a result of your intoxication, have you committed a crime? More specifically, if you are in New York City or anywhere else in the Empire State, can the police arrest you for and prosecutors prove beyond a reasonable doubt the offense of Endangering the Welfare of a Child pursuant to New York Penal Law 260.10? You didn’t strike, injure or intentionally put a child in harms way, so clearly you can’t be guilty of PL 260.10. Right? Speak with your criminal defense attorney and you may be surprised.
Sometimes with good cause and other times without, the NYPD charges individuals with violating New York Penal Law 195.05, Obstructing Governmental Administration. In fact, during my years as a Manhattan prosecutor and currently as a New York criminal defense lawyer, I have seen and currently see both police and Assistant District Attorney’s charge PL 195.05 where the law is interpreted either way too broadly or it is confused with other offenses such as Resisting Arrest. An “A” misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in a local county jail such as Rikers Island, “OGA” is not a crime that should be taken lightly. Not only is incarceration an ugly thing, but the hint or accusation of criminal conduct can have significant collateral consequences even if an accused never steps on foot in jail. Due to the above reasons, this blog entry will address the crime of Obstructing Governmental Administration and a recent NYC court decision from the Queens Criminal Court review the offense.
Every which way you look, one prosecutorial agency is enforcing a Federal or State law that forbids, prevents or punishes illegal gambling. It may be a lucrative business if you don’t get caught, but as soon as you do it is not uncommon to find yourself charged with Money Laundering and Enterprise Corruption crimes that can take a relatively lesser misdemeanor or felony to a class B felony punishable by up to eight and one third to twenty-five years in prison. While this blog entry will not address those more significant collateral crimes associated with gambling rings that touch New York (even if the accused reside elsewhere), this article will review the critical difference between being a “player” and “promoter” when charged with New York Penal Law 225.30, Possession of a Gambling Device and how you and your criminal defense attorney may chose to attack the gambling related charges.
Second Degree Aggravated Harassment, New York Penal Law 240.30, is one of the most widely charge crimes that often teeters between a violent and non violent offense. Not only are the alleged threats made in an NY PL 240.30 investigation relevant down to the exact words used and the context of declaration, but this offense is just as likely to involve a Desk Appearance Ticket based arrest as it is a Domestic Violence crime or charge. Just as local courts and attorneys have grappled with Second Degree Aggravated Harassment crimes, so has New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. While the following is not an analysis of a Court of Appeals decision, this blog entry does address what constitutes a “true threat” and, pursuant to a different subsection of the crime, “no legitimate purpose” when establishing Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree at the pleading stage of New York Penal Law 240.30 arrest.
Not necessarily relevant to every criminal offense found in the New York Penal Law, many arrests and crimes stem from what the police see in public or plain view. Whether officers with the NYPD or other local police agency stop your car and see a knife inside the vehicle from their vantage point or you’re walking down the street with a marijuana in your hand, the location of your criminal possession of cocaine, marijuana, or a firearm is often relevant not merely to the legality of your stop, arrest and search, but the crime itself. The following case involving an arrest for Fifth Degree Marijuana Possession, NY PL 221.10, is an example of this element and how a criminal complaint against you must be drafted in order to survive (or not survive) a motion to dismiss by your criminal defense attorney.
Whenever a person learns that I am a New York criminal lawyer and New York DWI attorney, one of the first questions they ask is whether or not they should “blow” if they are ever stopped or arrested for the crime of drunk driving in New York. Drunk driving, a crime of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, is codified as VTL 1192 and in various subsections. When I respond to this question, the first answer I usually give (its more of a statement) is don’t drive drunk or impaired and you won’t ever need to know the answer to this question. Prosecutors and police take this crime very seriously and its not “OK” to put others at risk when you are behind the wheel. Taking off my “regular guy” cap and putting on my criminal defense attorney hat, the analysis changes. While I cannot answer whether you or anyone else should provide a breath sample for the portable breath test (PBT) or an intoxilyzer without having a specific set of facts, the better question is what, if anything, the must the police do upon your request to speak with or call your attorney prior to “blowing”? If the police fail to provide you an opportunity and you ultimately submit to a test, what if any recourse do you have?
It seems as if issues involving DWI, DUI and DWAI arrests routinely “pop up” all over the country and here in both New York State and New York City. The obvious reason as to why this happens is because DWI is an extremely serious, avoidable and potentially catastrophic offense. Whether you are charged with VTL 1192.4, VTL 1192.3 or VTL 1192.2 (or a felony DWI offense), the consequences to your career, financial future, and family is significant. Wrongfully accused or not, you must not only be prepared to defend yourself against the accusation of driving drunk, but you must have at least a general understanding of the law. This particular NY DWI blog entry will deal with the scenario where an accused drunk driver exits his or her vehicle prior to the police arriving and, therefore, the police cannot observe or confirm the accused was actually driving the vehicle in violation of VTL 1192. The question that we are left to tangle with is whether or not the prosecution can sustain a charge of Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired circumstantially.
Like in any profession, from teachers to doctors and lawyers to carpenters, there are a few bad apples. Sometimes the consequence of a bad apple is more than a mouthful of unpalatable food. In the realm of law enforcement, a bad apple can mean a night (or a lot more) in jail and a face full of mace. Sadly, this scenario is exactly what a client of Crotty Saland PC faced when a police officer with the NYPD falsely arrested our client, stated our client had a warrant out for our client’s arrest, pepper sprayed our client and then charged our client with violating VTL 1212 (Reckless Driving) and NY PL 205.30 (Resisting Arrest). Fortunately, however, with the strong advocacy from our New York criminal lawyers, prosecutors agreed to review the case, speak with the arresting officer and dismiss the criminal complaint.
Its widely known by New York DWI lawyers, prosecutors, judges and regular every day people that the legal limit for a BAC in a drunk driving, DWI or DUI case is .08. If your BAC is.08 or greater, regardless of where you may reside in New York from the City to the suburbs, you will be charged with violating New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.2. Unlike the common law variety of New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192.3 that relies on certain indicia of intoxication (water blood shot eyes, slurred speech, unsteady gate), VTL 1192.2 relies solely on scientific reading from DWI equipment such as an intoxilyzer. The question posed in this particular NY DWI blog entry is if you in fact blow below a .08 can you still be charged with DUI or DWI based on a VTL 1192.3 Offense. That is, even if scientifically your are well below the legal threshold, can the police still arrest and prosecutors still charge you a DWI misdemeanor?
New York Penal Law 215.50, Second Degree Criminal Contempt, is a crime that prosecutors are quick to charge and often for good cause. However, regardless of the subjective view of an Assistant District Attorney or a police officer with the NYPD or any police department outside New York City, cases must still be proven beyond a reasonable doubt whether you’re in Westchester, Rockland or Gotham. At earlier stages of litigation, the accusatory information – the complaint – must be legally sufficient or your case should not “pass go.” Therefore, mere allegations must be supported by some form of evidence or alleged facts. Tying this back to Second Degree Contempt, an “A” misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in the county jail (can you say “Rikers Island?!”), the four corners of the accusatory instrument must legally support that there was a valid order of protection, the parameters of that order and how you violated the order. In a recent case out of White Plains, New York, the a court rendered a decision giving a broad interpretation of an order of protection and a defendant’s conduct that is worth reviewing and directly on point with the title of this blog entry.