While I certainly do not condone violence, if you punch someone two or three times in the face with a clenched fist, bloody up their mouth and cause them to go to the hospital for a stitch or two, an allegation of Third Degree Assault would likely survive a criminal defense attorney’s motion to dismiss the charge of New York Penal Law 120.00(1). No, it doesn’t mean you will not or cannot have defense at trial (self defense for example), but from a legal perspective your conduct satisfies the elements of the crime almost on its face. Again, you may still try, but seeking a dismissal for legal sufficiency will likely be quite difficult. Despite this, not all crimes or criminal conduct is so clear. When a court has to examine words used, the intent of those words and the reasonable implications of your speech, the court has much more to juggle than determining your intent when you balled up your fist. This more difficult type of review happens with a greater degree of regularity in cases involving Second Degree Aggravated Harassment pursuant to New York Penal Law 240.30. A class “A” misdemeanor, Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree is a crime often seen, but is not exclusive to, New York Domestic Violence cases. Where an arrest or allegation does not involve a familial or intimate relationship, the police will consider issuing the accused a Desk Appearance Ticket. Regardless of how a PL 240.30 case is prosecuted, words, and how they are reflected in a criminal court complaint, matter. This blog entry will address how words and statements that may seem threatening on their face may not in fact violate certain sections of the New York criminal law.
I’ve been arrested for Second Degree Criminal Contempt. I don’t understand why I am being prosecuted for New York Penal Law 215.50. How can the police arrest me or the DA prosecute me without naming the victim or protected party? While I may have posed those questions as a New York criminal defense attorney and not an accused, they are quite reasonable ones to ask. After all, if the complaint against you is not legally sufficient regardless if you’re charged with NY PL 215.50 or any other crime, then ultimately your criminal defense lawyer will likely file a motion to dismiss or seek the dismissal of your criminal case on some other procedural grounds. Generally speaking, however, one of the common difficulties securing a dismissal of a Second Degree Criminal Contempt arrest and charge is that even where a victim is not compliant either a third party or other evidence can corroborate there was contact in violation of a court order. This evidence can come from a friend who observed a defendant having contact with a victim or even text messages or phone records reflecting the same. After addressing the crime of PL 215.50, the purpose of this particular blog entry is to provide an example of an insufficient criminal complaint where conclusions by the NYPD did not satisfy the burden that prosecutors are required to reach.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child, New York Penal Law 260.10, is not only an embarrassing crime to face, but one that by its nature gets the attention of judges, prosecutors and child protection agencies such as Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Administration for Child Services (ACS). Domestic in nature when the child is your own or related to you, criminal courts and family courts can both get involved in the process where exposure on this misdemeanor is as great as one year in jail and other bodies can find that you were negligent with or maltreated the child. It is one thing for a neighbor or friend to question your parenting style or claim you are bad parent, but its another when a court finds you legally responsible or, better termed, irresponsible. With these concerns in mind, this blog entry will briefly assess PL 260.10(1) arrests involving Endangering the Welfare of a Child where the child in question is left “home alone.”
Its the same two nights every year throughout New York State. Mischief Night followed by the main event, Halloween. For preteens in costumes of all shapes and sizes, Halloween is about trick-or-treating and scarfing down way too much candy. For parents of little boys and girls, it is about dressing up their children for their own gratification and pleasure. For high schoolers, teenagers and college aged men and women, Mischief and Halloween nights are potentially a lot more than costumes and candy. In fact, throwing an egg at a car, spray painting a street sign, or knocking over that little yellow scooter that has always annoyed you because it managed to squeeze into the smallest parking spot on your crowded Manhattan or Brooklyn street can land you in jail facing a misdemeanor or felony crime.
What says you?! When did fun become criminal? Better ask this question now instead of getting an answer from your criminal defense attorney as you await arraignment in a New York City courtroom or a courthouse in a neighboring suburban municipality. The short answer is as follows: If you damage another person’s property, even in the most nominal way, you can face arrest in New York for Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree. Cause at least $250 in damage? You will be wishing you get a bag of pennies instead of candy because you momentary stupidity could result in your arrest for Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, a felony. This blog entry will briefly address why you should leave the Criminal Mischief out of Mischief Night and Halloween unless, of course, you have a penchant for facing criminal charges and paying money for a criminal lawyer to get you out of jail or the hot water of a witch’s cauldron.
Challenging the legal or facial sufficiency of a complaint against an accused is a common if not routine motion made by criminal defense lawyers. When a prosecutor proceeds on a complaint it becomes was is termed an information. The information must be legally sufficient to provide for the elements of the crime charged and notice to the accused. However, the evidence or allegations contained within the four corners of the document need not reach the “beyond a reasonable doubt” threshold. While the standard may be fairly low, a defendant who is wrongfully arrested without the bare level of evidence should not be forced into the criminal justice system whether he is from New York City, White Plains, or New York’s Southern Tier. Simply, it is critically important to examine any complaint or information to see whether or not there are grounds to make a challenge.
This particular blog entry will address a recent decision dismissing one count of Resisting Arrest pursuant to New York Penal Law 205.30 and one count of Second Degree Obstructing Governmental Administration pursuant to New York Penal Law 195.05.
Most people know to listen to a judge. After all, he or she has the ability to change the trajectory of your life whether you are involved in a civil case or you have been arrested for any number of crimes outlined in the New York Penal Law. In the criminal context, when you miss your court date, an arraignment for a Desk Appearance Ticket, a scheduled compliance date, a calendar call for an update, or any other appearance on a misdemeanor or felony crime, the judge hearing your case will more than likely issue a bench warrant barring some corroborated reason why you could not be present. As your criminal defense lawyer will (and should have already) tell you, once the judge orders or issues a bench warrant the police are authorized to arrest you. Complicating matters, if you are outside the State of New York, you may be held without bail until a detective returns you on a “Governor’s Warrant.” Could you sit there for a week, two, more? Sadly, yes.
Outside of the simple fact that you do not want a warrant issued and the police looking to arrest you and return you to court, the consequences of skipping your court date don’t end with a warrant. In fact, depending on how long you are out and about and fail to return, prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office can hit you with a brand new charge…Bail Jumping.
Yes, you can be arrested by the NYPD in New York City for Loitering. In fact, if you’re loitering in Manhattan, Yonkers, Brooklyn, White Plains, New City or Queens, the crime is still the same. Codified in the New York Penal Law under sections 240.35, 240.36 and 240.37. The first of these offenses is a violation while the latter two are misdemeanors. This particular blog entry will address the violation of New York Penal Law 240.35. However, we will also address the more serious criminal charges of PL 240.36 and 240.37 which you are likely to receive a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) should you have no prior criminal history and you are compliant with the arresting officers.
There are many elements to an Endangering the Welfare of a Child crime in New York. In fact, the crime of New York Penal Law 260.10 has been addressed, examined and analyzed with regularity on this blog. Sometimes the issue revolves around the intentional conduct of the accused or how long it is acceptable to leave a child alone. Other times the issue involves criminal conduct in the presence of a child even if the child is not fully aware or aware of the criminal actions. This particular blog will examine a less exciting issue (if that term is appropriate) and address from a legal perspective whether the failure of the prosecution to identify the age of a child on the face of an accusatory instrument will doom the charging document and ultimately require its dismissal.
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.