Animal cruelty, whether in violation of a criminal statute or an otherwise intentional, callous and malicious act or acts, is simply horrendous. Whether one wears the hat of a District Attorney, criminal defense lawyer, judge or person who merely cares about the well-being of others living things, committing acts of violence and seeking to cause pain to animals is unconscionable. When you commit certain acts against animals, regardless of the size, age, or health of the same, your actions may be punishable as a crime pursuant to Agriculture and Markets Law 353 or 353-a[1][i]. These crimes, “Overriding, Torturing and Injuring Animals” and “Aggravated Cruelty to Animals” respectively, are class “A” misdemeanors and “E” felonies. While the former is punishable by as much as one year in a county jail, the latter has a potential sentence of up to four years in prison.

The issue addressed by this blog is to briefly describe the two offenses and differentiate the crimes.

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On he heals of a misdemeanor disposition where our client was exposed to multiple felonies relating to fraud, the New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC are pleased to announce a similar disposition for a client charged with and facing, among other offenses, Third Degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, New York Penal Law 165.50 and multiple counts of Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, New York Penal Law 170.25. Both offenses are class “D” felonies where a conviction exposed our client to as much as two and one third to seven years in a New York State prison.

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The prescription drug epidemic may not be as rampant as the crack and cocaine abuse in the 80s and 90s, but it is no less harmful and frightening. Whether a drug is Oxycodone, Xanax, Hydrocodone, Adderall or some other prescribed controlled substance or narcotic, the potential harm to the abuser, his or her family and the community-at-large is great. Because of this, law enforcement from the NYPD in New York City to smaller police departments, as well as the District Attorneys prosecuting crime in the associated jurisdiction, have sought to disrupt the illegal trade and sale of these drugs. That is where the crime of Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medication and Prescriptions, New York Penal Law Article 178, becomes part of law enforcement’s arsenal to combat the illegal sale, possession and trade of prescription drugs.

This blog entry will identify and address the differences between the varying degrees of Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medication – NY PL 178.10, NY PL 178.15, NY PL 178.20, NY PL 178.25 – and potential punishment associated with each crime.

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While not always a domestic crime or family offense, arrests for Second Degree Aggravated Harassment in New York are fairly common in the marital, parent-child and intimate partner context. However, whether the partners have a sexual, physical or familial relationship is of no consequence. Business partners, friends and acquaintances can all run afoul of New York Penal Law 240.30. Simply, the relationship between the parties is fairly irrelevant.

If the nature of the relationship is irrelevant in a Second Degree Aggravated Harassment prosecution, what about how a threat is made? Does a clearly bogus threat violate the law irrespective of whomever the recipient may be? What about a joking threat? For that matter, what constitutes a “true threat?” This blog entry will not merely address this last question, but briefly examine whether a conditional threat is the same as a true threat for the purpose of PL 240.30.

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Sometimes, if not routinely, a common sense or every day definition does not comport with those found in the New York Penal Law. Whether statutorily defined or established pursuant to legal precedent and decisions, what may seem clear to you may actually be quite different in a court of law. As your criminal lawyer can easily explain, in the eyes of the New York Penal Law, a loaded firearm does not require a bullet in the chamber, magazine, clip or, for that matter, physically in the gun at all. Instead, according to the law practiced in New York State criminal courts involving crimes such as Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 265.03, a loaded firearm is one that is capable of being loaded, for example, with bullets or ammunition in the same case. Despite what a layperson may think, the law treats these types of “loaded” pistols, revolvers, and other firearms the same. In fact, while a loaded firearm can violate PL 265.03, an unloaded firearm is a distinct crime of Criminal Possession of a Firearm, New York Penal Law 265.01-b(1), carrying a significantly lesser potential sentence upon conviction.

Keeping this common sense-criminal code dichotomy in mind, what about operability? Does it matter in the eyes of the criminal law – and the prosecuting District Attorney –  whether your gun can fire or discharge a bullet? Simply, is operability a mandatory element of any firearm crime found in New York Penal Law Article 265?

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Its very easy to assume the worst about people. Its equally easy to stand in judgement of someone you do not know. After all, if they have done something wrong they are guilty and should be punished accordingly. However, that is not the reality of the world. There is a sea of grey between the two islands of black and white. There are human factors, life experiences and even mental health issues that impact how we conduct ourselves. Sometimes, even the good do bad. It could be you. Your sibling. Your child.

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The state of the New York Penal and Criminal Procedure laws as practiced in New York courts is overly restrictive and burdensome. What says you? According to whom? The state of the New York Penal Law and Criminal Procedure Law as practiced in New York courts is overly lenient and broad!

The beauty of asking two different people the same question, especially in New York, is that you will get two different answers. Irrespective of one’s personal view, any spectator or active participant in the criminal justice system will likely tell you that on any given day you can likely see both of these perspectives play out in courtrooms from New York City to Buffalo. Without addressing the validity of the above conclusions or what might happen from day to day, there is one area of law that, right or wrong, that is stacked against the accused. Merit and reasoning aside, law enforcement can charge you, the accused, with the most minimal amount of evidence and corroboration while prosecutors can draft a legally sufficient complaint or information charging you with a drug crime in New York such as Seventh Degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, New York Penal Law 220.03, based on nominal evidence. How can law enforcement sustain a charge of PL 220.03 so easily you ask? Because if the police say you possessed drugs and explain their reasoning in boilerplate language as to why they believe it’s a controlled substance, then barring any other infirmities the information (complaint) against you is legally sufficient and will likely overcome a motion to dismiss.

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One not need a JD from Harvard, or any legal degree at all, to recognize that Blackmail and Extortion, fundamentally the same thing, are crimes. Codified in the New York State Penal Law under Article 155, Extortion is a form or means by which a person commits Grand Larceny, a felony. By default, no matter the property type or amount secured by Blackmail in New York, Penal Law 155.30(6) makes any extorter or blackmailer guilty of a class “E” felony upon conviction. If the value of the property secured by the blackmailer is north of $3,000, $50,000 or $1 million, so is the extorter’s exposure to significant lengths of incarceration on greater felonies. Moreover, if violence is part of the extorter’s conduct, the offense level can also be increased. blackmaol-300x208

Sometimes the crime of Extortion is easy to identify, investigate and prosecute. Other times the target is either hard to identify, find or legally pursue within the bounds of the law. Whether you, as a victim, go to Federal, New York State or local law enforcement, or you retain an Extortion lawyer to fend off a wrongdoer so he or she ceases and desists, is your decision. However, the question addressed in this blog entry is potentially a complicated one on its face, but one easily addressed by the law. If you reside in New York, but your blackmailer lives out of state, can her or she still be prosecuted by a District Attorney or can your New York Extortion attorney still attempt to stop your victimizer with a cease and desist letter or other legal means?

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The term “identity theft” is one that makes anyone and everyone cringe. After all, there are few people who have not been effected by a fraud crime relating to Identity Theft. Unfortunately, when many people hear of this offense they often think large scale fraud involving social security numbers, bank accounts and thousands, if not many more, dollars. If you have been convicted of an Article 190 crime such as Third, Second or First Degree Identity Theft, then you don’t need a criminal lawyer or sealing attorney to advise you how adversely having such a conviction on your criminal record has impacted getting a job, securing a promotion, or merely finding solid employment. Fortunately, your question of whether you can seal or expunge a conviction for Identity Theft in New York can finally be answered. While most convictions that are neither legally defined as violent crimes nor considered sex offenses are initially eligible for sealing pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59, the same cannot be said for expungement. Do not panic. While New York does not expunge criminal convictions and “only” potentially seals certain crimes, sealing can potentially “erase” your criminal conviction from public view and New York Penal Law 190.78, 190.79 and 190.80 are all likely NY CPL 160.59 eligible offenses.

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New York City Administrative Code 19-190, generally defined as failing to exercise “due care” and violating the right of way of pedestrians and cyclists, is a relatively new statute drafted and passed by New York City. Not codified in the New York Penal Law, legislation drafted and passed by the State Legislature and New York State Governor, AC 19-190 is an unclassified misdemeanor. While a conviction can land a person in jail, aka, Rikers Island, it is generally not the sentence of imprisonment that is of grave concern, but the fact that a criminal administrative code violation is indelible. In other words, whether you are convicted of a New York State Tax crime, New York State Penal Law offense or New York City Administrative Code misdemeanor, you will have a permanent criminal record. This blog entry will address some of the legal issues that have arisen since the enactment of AC 19-190.

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