Like in any profession, from teachers to doctors and lawyers to carpenters, there are a few bad apples. Sometimes the consequence of a bad apple is more than a mouthful of unpalatable food. In the realm of law enforcement, a bad apple can mean a night (or a lot more) in jail and a face full of mace. Sadly, this scenario is exactly what a client of Saland Law PC faced when a police officer with the NYPD falsely arrested our client, stated our client had a warrant out for our client’s arrest, pepper sprayed our client and then charged our client with violating VTL 1212 (Reckless Driving) and NY PL 205.30 (Resisting Arrest). Fortunately, however, with the strong advocacy from our New York criminal lawyers, prosecutors agreed to review the case, speak with the arresting officer and dismiss the criminal complaint.
Police alleged that our client, a financial services professional, was driving recklessly down a Manhattan avenue in violation of the Reckless Driving statute of VTL 1212. The NYPD claimed our client was weaving in and out of traffic while traveling at an excessive speed that caused other motorists to suddenly move out of the way. Upon stopping our client, the police claimed our client became erratic and refused to be cuffed. Because of this allegation, prosecutors also charged our client with Resisting Arrest pursuant to NY PL 205.30. The consequences, beyond up to a year of incarceration, were drastic to our client’s career and livelihood.
Our client adamantly denied the story told by the police. Instead, our client claimed that the police had pulled our client over many times before. Although it could not be proven anecdotally, our client passionately asserted that because our client was a minority, driving a high end vehicle and living in uptown Manhattan, our client was routinely targeted by the police. Compounding matters, our client advised that not only was our client not driving recklessly or speeding, the police maced our client and claimed there was a warrant for our client’s arrest (and that our client could be armed and dangerous). Simply, there was no warrant.
Upon meeting with the prosecutor assigned to our client’s case, the Assistant District Attorney first learned of the pepper spray and warrant. Certainly, that is odd to say the least. Moreover, the prosecutor subjectively (and objectively) could see the veracity of our client’s story. Concerned by what she learned and after assessing our client’s credibility, lack of a criminal record and our position of strength, the Assistant District Attorney decided to follow up with the members of the NYPD who arrested our client. While we were not privy to that conversation, the end result was clear. There was never a warrant for our client. Our client was maced without resisting arrest and all matters dismissed and sealed.
Remember, each case has its own facts and evidence. Saland Law PC, and more importantly our client, was fortunate to have some witnesses who could corroborate some of the events that led up to our client’s arrest. At the same time, our client was unfortunate to have to deal with these particular law enforcement officers (who told our client if our client would have simply complied they would not have maced and arrested our client). Again, while I am affirm believer that most people in every job merely want to do the right thing and work hard, one never knows who one might encounter.
To learn more about the crime of Resisting Arrest, an offense sometimes “added on” when an accused merely moves an arm or questions an arrest, as well as other class A misdemeanors punishable by a year in jail, review this blog and the New-York-Lawyers.org website. All links are found above and below.
Former prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Elizabeth Crotty and Jeremy Saland represent clients throughout New York City as well as municipalities in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam Counties. The New York criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law PC have offices on lower Manhattan by the State and Federal Courts.