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.
Despite an indictment alleging that our client fraudulent and wrongfully purchased between $3,000 and $50,000 worth of property and, when arrested, was in possession of multiple fake credit cards, we challenged the police stop of our client’s vehicle and ultimate search. Whether or not our client was “guilty” of possessing stolen property and fraudulent credit cards, the law mandates that the police conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the law. Simply, the presumption of innocence remains with anyone and everyone just as we all are protected from illegal searches and seizures. The ends don’t justify the means.
Despite initially sitting in jail before posting bail and later being arraigned on an indictment charging multiple felonies, from the onset of the case against our client we argued issues relating to the search and seizure. Without addressing all of the arguments in substance and the discussions with the District Attorney’s Office, the assigned prosecutor started negotiations at a plea to one of the felonies along with an incarceratory sentence. Pushing our issues and concerns, the People slowly backed off their plea recommendation to a felony with probation. Still not satisfied about our concerns with the potential resolution in light of our legal concerns, prosecutors made an offer to a felony plea with a year of remaining free from criminal activity and an ultimate repleader at the end of the year to a misdemeanor. Because our client had no felony record and the District Attorney’s Office had not relieved our concern over what we believed to be an unlawful search, our client rejected the offer. Ultimately, the prosecution came back to us as the eve of trial neared with a palatable offer. With a plea to a misdemeanor crime to satisfy the entire indictment, the People would offer the equivalent of “time served” for past incarceration where our client remained in custody pending bail. Our client accepted this disposition and closed out the case.
As I have said in the past, not every criminal case can – or for that matter should – resolve itself with a dismissal or in a non-criminal manner. Further, even if one is caught “red handed” or the evidence of guilt appears strong, law enforcement must adhere to the letter of the law. Its very easy to point fingers and shrug shoulders because contraband is recovered or an admission is made, but if this is procured in violation of the constitution or the accused’s rights, it cannot stand. While it may not make a difference to a third-party observer, until if and when it happens to you or a loved one, then procedure matters. Here, the balancing test between “kicking” the search out as illegal and resolving the case with a misdemeanor and time served was weighed by our client against the potential of losing our Mapp Dunaway Hearing and facing incarceration and an indelible felony conviction. Education and informed, our client made the final decision.
To learn more about Criminal Possession of Stolen Property as well as Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument review the highlighted links.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense law firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. The New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC represent clients in all criminal defense matters throughout New York City, the Hudson Valley and many other municipalities throughout the State of New York.