If fighting City Hall is difficult, battling the District Attorney’s Office is arguably harder when your arguments and evidence falls on deaf ears and your client’s exposure is not measured in money but a permanent criminal record and the duration of incarceration. Fortunately, however, when your client is left standing and walks away exonerated, there are few greater victories worthy of battle scars. For a recent Crotty Saland PC client arrested for Second Degree Burglary and other crimes, and subsequently charged with Third Degree Assault and Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation, leaving the justice system unscathed other than by a undeserved and miserable experience could not be more rewarding. The following is lesson of how prosecutorial inexperience coupled with expansive power can result in potentially grave miscarriages of justice. Simply, no matter the allegation, it is incumbent upon any criminal defense attorney to question and challenge law enforcement to protect your rights.
If being arrested for a crime you did not commit isn’t bad enough, when you don’t live in New York City and your witnesses aren’t fluent in the English language and are returning to their homes in Europe that same day, its reasonable to assume that things are about to go from bad to terribly worse. While it is a legitimate thought to have as you are hauled away in handcuffs, charged with crimes including Assault in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 120.00, and tossed into Manhattan’s Central Booking to wait and meet a criminal lawyer your friends or family retained, your initial pain need not foretell the ultimate outcome. As experienced by a recent Crotty Saland PC client, the trauma of being accused of Assault by a cab driver and the anxiety of being 1000s of miles from home was fortunately (if one can use that term when falsely accused of a crime) the worst part of a roller coaster ride that ended in a meritorious dismissal.
“Only the guilty hire defense attorneys.”
“If he was arrested, he clearly did something wrong.”
“Innocent people aren’t accused of crimes. Clearly, she’s guilty.”
Somewhat common refrains by those who have never had the misfortune of being accused of wrongdoing, whether fair or not, until you find yourself in handcuffs or before a judge it is quite easy to sit in judgment. However, when it is your name that is replaced by a docket number, the misconceptions you may have held will likely give way quite quickly. How are you going to get yourself out of this conundrum and who is the best attorney to protect your rights and bring your nightmare to a swift end? For a recent Crotty Saland PC client who found himself the subject of a wrongful arrest and prosecution, he took the right steps and debunked the myth as to why innocent people – or any accused for that matter – hire criminal defense lawyers.
Can I have my firearm conviction sealed? Does New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.59 apply to weapon and gun crimes? The short answer to the above questions is “maybe.” Fortunately for a recent Crotty Saland PC client, the specific answer was “yes.” A complicated sealing application, after litigating an old 1980s conviction for New York Penal Law 265.02(1), Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, where the prosecution argued that the sentencing court incorrectly recorded the conviction as a non-violent offense, the presiding judge agreed with our lawyers’ motion to “expunge.” In substance, the District Attorney argued that the charges contained in the indictment were violent felonies and, as a result, the conviction was not an eligible offense pursuant to CPL 160.59(2)(a).
Since New York CPL 160.59 went into effect in 2017, many hard working and honest people have asked, “Can I seal my old criminal conviction or get it expunged?” Once they realize that they can, their asks routinely morph into, “How do I seal my criminal record?” While the process is not overly complicated to the untrained eye, attention to detail and the proper application of the law is critical. After all, you only get one bite out of the proverbial apple. Fortunately for clients who retained Crotty Saland PC to seal their respective misdemeanor and felony records, “can” and “how” are questions of the past. No longer haunted by past wrongdoing north of a decade old, their criminal convictions are sealed to the public, friends, and employers. From Forgery in the Second Degree to Attempted Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, class D and C felonies, to lesser misdemeanor crimes, our New York conviction sealing lawyers are proud to provide closure to our clients’ shameful pasts and an end to the painful stigma they endured for years.
When, as a college student, you are accused of violating a Title IX policy or the Code of Conduct of your respective university, both your academic career and otherwise clean criminal record are often put in harm’s way. Whether or not you are arrested by the NYPD or local police department, accused of a crime or allegedly committed a form of sexual or gender-based misconduct or harassment, the consequences are quite real even if your case never reaches a technical disciplinary hearing. What is not real, however, is that every claim of wrongdoing is true and accurate. While the legal standard employed by Title IX Coordinators, the Dean of Students, or any administrative body at a New York City or New York State college or university is a preponderance of the evidence – quite lower than the criminal threshold of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and devoid of the due process rights we all take for granted – that does not mean you cannot successfully challenge a complaint. In fact, having successfully represented student accusers and the accused in college Title IX, Student Misconduct Hearings, Disciplinary Hearings and other infractions at universities such as NYU, Fordham, CUNY, SUNY Binghamton, Columbia and others, Crotty Saland PC’s Title IX counsel recognize there are strategic avenues to pursue should you find yourself on either side of the law. In fact, a recent and successful resolution of multiple alleged Title IX violations against a student at a large New York City university is a testament to the advocacy of Crotty Saland PC’s Title IX attorneys.
The New York vehicular crime lawyers and DUI attorneys at Crotty Saland PC are pleased to share the recent dismissal of all criminal charges against a client accused of DWI and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the Third Degree. Within the four corners of the criminal court complaint, our client faced serious offenses and, if convicted, a mandatory license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device in the vehicle, fines and, a permanent criminal record. Although prosecutors made multiple non-criminal offers, our attorneys repeatedly advised the client to reject the non-criminal “deals” presented by the District Attorney’s Office. At bottom, although we disputed whether our client was legally intoxicated (there was a refusal to “blow” in the portable breath test device – PBT – as well as in the Intoxilyzer), we argued that the client did not violate the spirit of nor the elements the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.
In the age of #Metoo, an important movement long time coming, there can be unforeseen consequences when vigorously supporting gender-based misconduct without stepping back to thoroughly examine an accusation. Simply, allegations that lack sufficient corroboration or answers to reasoned questions should hold no more water than those in other contexts. As much as we want to believe any assertion of wrongdoing is legitimate, sometimes such claims are subjectively “right” because a complainant perceives it as such or they are completely fictitious. Regardless, whatever the case may be, a critical analysis of the evidence and facts tells quite a different story. For a recent client of the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC, such a scenario played out in a New York City Criminal Courts. After being contacted by the NYPD, our client self-surrendered for his arrest and prosecution by the District Attorney where the latter charged him with, among other offenses, Stalking in the Fourth Degree, New York Penal Law 120.45. Fortunately, and thanks to the skill, diligence and advocacy of Crotty Saland PC, a judge acquitted our client of all charges after trial.
The overwhelming number of criminal cases in New York never reach the point of trial. Whether the arrest is in New York City or the Hudson Valley, as cases wind their respective way through the criminal justice system, the District Attorney, judges and criminal defense lawyers address issues ranging from the legality of the original search and the strength of evidence to sufficiency of complaints and mitigating factors. Those criminal cases that are not resolved by a plea, reduction of charges or dismissal ultimately find themselves before a judge or jury for trial. For a recent client of Crotty Saland PC’s criminal lawyers, our client found herself charged with Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief, New York Penal Law 145.00. The allegations stemmed from a fictitious claim by our client’s ex-husband and his current girlfriend, with whom he had an ongoing affair, that our client approached the girlfriend’s home and smashed a window in the center of a door.
When you are accused of and arrested for a crime or crimes you did not commit, fear can give way to paralysis. Whether you are charged in a New York City Criminal Court with felonies due to a misunderstanding that is based in false presumptions, or even if there is some truth but not full accuracy to each offense drafted in your felony complaint, you and your criminal lawyer have significant work ahead. Remaining frozen with fear is not a viable option.
Yes, you may have made a mistake and technically broken the law, but when all the facts are examined and evidence reviewed, the gravity of the allegations may not ultimately match the charges you face. Finding him/herself in a similar predicament, a recent Crotty Saland PC client had no choice but to “push back” in a thoughtful and respectful manner against such a felony complaint. Relying on both a legal sufficiency and mitigation defense, our client never lost sight of her/his exposure even if the the charged crimes were in part based on a wrongdoing unsupported by the evidence from a prosecutorial discretion perspective. After being charged with numerous crimes including Third Degree Burglary, Criminal Possession of Computer Related Materials, Computer Trespass and other crimes for allegedly accessing university computers and downloading certain materials, prosecutors agreed to offer a disposition that will ultimately give our client the opportunity to end the criminal case without a criminal criminal conviction dirtying his otherwise pristine criminal record.