You’re were drunk at a bar. Maybe it was just a bit more than one bourbon, on scotch and one beer. What spirits you imbibed and the exact amount is fairly irrelevant. What matters, however, is that after your were told to leave you did so, but came back angry, red faced and as violent as were sloppy. Instead of holding your liquor like a man or woman, you behaved as if it was your first rodeo and whatever muscles and fighting experience you had (or didn’t have), you morphed into a half 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger and half modern day UFC brawler. There is little doubt your hangover was epic, but not necessarily from the actual alcohol. When your dry mouth and throbbing head gave way to the realization you had marks on your wrists from being handcuffed and the floor you slept on was not in fact your bed, the reality of what occurred the night before began to set. Unfortunately for a Saland Law PC client, while the reality of the circumstances and arrest were far less graceful than the poetic story line shared here, the substance of the incident was quite similar. Initially charged with Third Degree Burglary, New York Penal Law 140.20, and Attempted Third Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 110/120.00(1), a bad night at a bar became a dark future of uncertainty in the New York criminal justice system.
Before jumping into the criminal case and how our criminal lawyers avoided a felony or misdemeanor conviction, know that the crime of Burglary in New York is not always what you see in movies and on television. Sure, you could be an armed bandit in a mask who kicks in someone’s front door, but the law is more liberal. In substance, you are guilty Burglary in the Third Degree, NY Penal Law 140.20, if you enter or remain in a location unlawful and without permission with the intent to commit a crime. The prosecution is not required to prove what crime you intended to commit or in fact committed. You are guilty of Attempted Third Degree Assault, NY Penal Law 110/120.00(1) if you intend to cause a physical injury you try to do so, but ultimately fail in succeeding. Third Degree Burglary is a class “D” felony with a penalty upon conviction as great seven years in jail while Attempted Third Degree Assault is a class “B” misdemeanor with a few months in jail as the maximum exposure.
Turning back to our client’s case, the prosecution’s apparent theory was that our client returned to the bar upset for being kicked out by the bartender. After our client allegedly pushed in and refused to leave, the complainant staff alleged that instead of mere words, fists began to fly. Whether our client was the initial aggressor or in fact attacked any staff member, ultimately employees forced our client out and called the police. Upon their arrival, the police arrived and placed our client under arrest.
Despite the charges and felony allegation, one of our criminal lawyers argued that while our client may have trespassed, our client did not return to and enter the bar with the intent to commit a crime. Once there, things may have gotten aggressive, but in a mutual manner. Even assuming Saland Law PC’s client was the initial aggressor, our attorneys turned away from the legal defense and instead focused on mitigating factors. Outside of the obvious, for example our client had no prior record, we asserted that ultimately there was no harm to the business, patrons or staff. Simply, other than our client maybe embarrassing him or herself, “no harm no foul.” Accountability could be had with our client from agreeing to stay away from the establishment, without an order of protection, and an offer of a non-criminal violation.
After multiple conversations, the District Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss both the felony and misdemeanor charges and offer our client a plea to Disorderly Conduct, New York Penal Law 240.20. Keeping an otherwise clean criminal record still pristine from any criminal convictions, our client no doubt learned a valuable lesson without debilitating his or her future. While advocacy from criminal lawyers can come in varying forms, the results in this case demonstrated that Saland Law PC pursued the best defensive strategy.
To learn more about New York Burglary laws, and misdemeanor Assault crimes in New York, follow the links here. A criminal defense law practice in New York City, the former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law PC represent clients throughout the region from the City of New York to the municipalities and counties of the Hudson Valley.