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Articles Posted in Non-Violent Crimes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Every which way you look, one prosecutorial agency is enforcing a Federal or State law that forbids, prevents or punishes illegal gambling. It may be a lucrative business if you don’t get caught, but as soon as you do it is not uncommon to find yourself charged with Money Laundering and Enterprise Corruption crimes that can take a relatively lesser misdemeanor or felony to a class B felony punishable by up to eight and one third to twenty-five years in prison. While this blog entry will not address those more significant collateral crimes associated with gambling rings that touch New York (even if the accused reside elsewhere), this article will review the critical difference between being a “player” and “promoter” when charged with New York Penal Law 225.30, Possession of a Gambling Device and how you and your criminal defense attorney may chose to attack the gambling related charges.

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Second Degree Aggravated Harassment, New York Penal Law 240.30, is one of the most widely charge crimes that often teeters between a violent and non violent offense. Not only are the alleged threats made in an NY PL 240.30 investigation relevant down to the exact words used and the context of declaration, but this offense is just as likely to involve a Desk Appearance Ticket based arrest as it is a Domestic Violence crime or charge. Just as local courts and attorneys have grappled with Second Degree Aggravated Harassment crimes, so has New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. While the following is not an analysis of a Court of Appeals decision, this blog entry does address what constitutes a “true threat” and, pursuant to a different subsection of the crime, “no legitimate purpose” when establishing Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree at the pleading stage of New York Penal Law 240.30 arrest.

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New York Penal Law 215.50, Second Degree Criminal Contempt, is a crime that prosecutors are quick to charge and often for good cause. However, regardless of the subjective view of an Assistant District Attorney or a police officer with the NYPD or any police department outside New York City, cases must still be proven beyond a reasonable doubt whether you’re in Westchester, Rockland or Gotham. At earlier stages of litigation, the accusatory information – the complaint – must be legally sufficient or your case should not “pass go.” Therefore, mere allegations must be supported by some form of evidence or alleged facts. Tying this back to Second Degree Contempt, an “A” misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in the county jail (can you say “Rikers Island?!”), the four corners of the accusatory instrument must legally support that there was a valid order of protection, the parameters of that order and how you violated the order. In a recent case out of White Plains, New York, the a court rendered a decision giving a broad interpretation of an order of protection and a defendant’s conduct that is worth reviewing and directly on point with the title of this blog entry.

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Whether its an unapproved mural or a small tag, in order for a judge or jury to convict you of Possession of a Graffiti Instrument, New York Penal Law 145.65, an Assistant District Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) your intent to damage property (2) your possession of any tool, instrument or compound designed to etch, paint, cover… or otherwise place a mark upon a piece of property and (3) you knew you had no permission or authority to do so. Although this definition seems fairly straight forward, the question presented in this blog entry is whether or not the prosecution can circumvent the third element of PL 145.65 and prove the crime of Possession of Graffiti Instruments where the intent to damage property is clear and the tools in question are those for actually making graffiti.

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