New York, like all other states, has its own means to determine whether individuals can be arrested and charged as co-defendants for a particular crime. Obviously, merely being present when a crime is committed by another person is not legally sufficient enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (although, do not be shocked if you are arrested and later have to fight to have the matter dismissed). Because presence alone is not enough, what do New York criminal defense attorneys review to determine if an accused’s conduct reaches the level of acting in concert or accomplice liability in any New York arrest?
Addressed in the context of a marihuana (marijuana) sale, In People v. Ramirez, 2013NY046507, NYLJ 1202624767720 (Crim., NY, Decided September 27, 2013), a separately-charged individual sold marihuana to an undercover officer and then, according to another police officer, that individual handed money to the defendant as “part of the above-mentioned transaction.” Afterward, a police officer attempted to place the defendant under arrest, but the defendant ran 1-½ city blocks, refusing to be handcuffed. The defendant’s actions resulted in the arresting officer sustaining injuries. Subsequently, the defendant was charged with Criminal Sale of Marihuana in the Fourth Degree (New York Penal Law 221.40), under the theory he acted in concert with or as an accomplice to the separately-charged individual (the principal), and Resisting Arrest (New York Penal Law 205.30). While the defendant made a motion to dismiss both charges, the court only dismissed the marihuana crime.