How Using or Supplying Fake Covid Vaccination Cards is Punishable as a Federal Crime

November 24, 2021 | Comments Off on How Using or Supplying Fake Covid Vaccination Cards is Punishable as a Federal Crime

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented number of legal issues for lawmakers to contend with. As the nation’s vaccine program continues to roll out, one of the most recent of these issues relates to the forging of vaccine cards and so-called ‘vaccine passports’. Although there is talk of new laws that will be passed to counter some of the challenges COVID has brought to the nation, the FBI has made it clear that existing laws are being broken if vaccination paperwork is fraudulently created or used. With access to social media websites and less than five minutes of your time, you can almost certainly find someone selling fake vaccine cards or providing blank vaccination record cards. These fake cards are extremely convincing – they’re often perfect copies, complete with legitimate-looking vaccine batch numbers and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) seal. Interestingly, it’s the CDC official government…

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Theft of Services: New York Law Explained

November 24, 2021 | Comments Off on Theft of Services: New York Law Explained

Although someone unlawfully taking money, cars, or other high value physical items is usually brought to mind when we hear about a person committing a theft, theft of services is another common form of stealing that doesn’t necessarily involve the taking of  physical property. Instead, it means utilizing a service and failing to properly compensate the individual or company who provided the service. While many assume that theft of services is a minor crime, it can carry some major penalties, and have an enormous impact on your life. Here, we’ll go over what theft of services means under New York Penal Law, what it can look like, and how those charged with this crime can potentially defend themselves against it. New York Penal Law – Defining Theft of Services The New York Penal Law §165.15 states that theft of services occurs if you: Obtain services, or attempt to obtain a…

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What are the Penalties for Assaulting a Police Officer?

August 26, 2021 | Comments Off on What are the Penalties for Assaulting a Police Officer?

Any kind of assault against a police officer is considered a violent felony, with probation not being an option, and it can land you in prison from two years to a life sentence. Although all types of assault are taken seriously in a court of law, assaults against police officers are seen as particularly egregious – the court likely won’t be in your favour, and you are likely to face years in prison. What counts as assault on a police officer or law enforcement officer? Assault on a police officer is defined in New York Penal Law Article 120.08 as causing a police officer, peace officer, fireman, or emergency services professional serious physical injury with the intent of preventing them from performing their lawful duty. A serious injury is defined as causing death, causing near death, causing impairment of health or protracted disfigurement, or causing the loss of a bodily…

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What is Grand Larceny? New York Law Explained

August 26, 2021 | Comments Off on What is Grand Larceny? New York Law Explained

Despite being one of the most commonly committed ‘White Collar’ crimes in New York City, many people don’t fully understand what grand larceny is – or the ramifications for committing this crime in any degree. Here, we’ll define the different degrees of grand larceny, provide some examples of what could be considered larceny in New York, and go over the penalties of committing each crime. How does New York State law define grand larceny? Although definitions vary somewhat from state to state, grand larceny is defined under New York Penal Law Article 155 as wrongfully taking, withholding, or obtaining property from its rightful owner, with the aim to either take the property for themselves or someone else or to deprive the rightful owner of said property. The felony classification of each degree of grand larceny ranges from a class E to a class B felony, and is largely dependent on…

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What is Unlawful Surveillance?

July 12, 2021 | Comments Off on What is Unlawful Surveillance?

‘Unlawful Surveillance’ is the term used when someone intentionally uses or installs an imaging device to ‘surreptitiously’ view, broadcast or record a person dressing, undressing, or engaging in sexual or other intimate conduct without such person’s knowledge and when they would otherwise have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Unlawful surveillance charges are a relatively new area of New York law. In fact, until a precedent-setting case in 2001, the act of viewing or recording someone intimately for amusement, entertainment, or profit could only be charged under state trespass laws. Today though, this has changed. With virtually everyone carrying high-quality photo and video recording equipment in their cell phones – and the cost of high-tech surveillance equipment lower than ever, it’s useful to understand what unlawful surveillance is and what kind of acts can lead to charges under NY law. Where do unlawful surveillance laws come from? 2003: Stephanie’s Law Although…

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What Are Affinity Frauds?

July 12, 2021 | Comments Off on What Are Affinity Frauds?

‘Affinity fraud’ is the term used when an individual or organization uses their standing in a group to encourage victims to buy into a fraudulent investment scheme. In times of economic instability, the number of affinity fraud cases generally goes up dramatically – as do convictions – so it’s useful to understand what this type of crime involves, the kinds of people often targeted, and the penalties that the state hands down when perpetrators are convicted. How does affinity fraud work? Affinity fraud is usually built around a fraudulent investment scheme. However, affinity fraud differs from other investment scams because of the way new investors are brought on board. An affinity fraudster will work to enlist respected community members – such as religious leaders, church members, or senior members of professional groups. By getting a backing from these people, their ‘investment opportunity’ gains credibility and word about the scheme spreads…

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Filing a False Police Report: NY Law Explained

June 9, 2021 | Comments Off on Filing a False Police Report: NY Law Explained

 When you go on record with New York law enforcement – even for something that feels like a very minor incident – your words will be very carefully scrutinized. If something you say in a police report is found to be false, you could face serious charges. Falsely reporting an incident is a crime, and depending on why someone lies, it’s an issue that could lead to further charges.  Here, we’ll look at the law that surrounds falsely reporting an incident, the potential consequences you could face, and why it’s essential that you work with an experienced defense attorney if you’ve been charged with this type of crime. First amendment rights You probably don’t need reminding that your First Amendment rights entitle you to free speech – but falsely reporting a crime is actually one of the few types of speech that is not protected by the US Constitution.  Sections…

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Is Hacking a Crime? United States Hacking Laws Explained

June 9, 2021 | Comments Off on Is Hacking a Crime? United States Hacking Laws Explained

While some state laws can be traced back hundreds of years, computer hacking, computer fraud – and similar computer crimes – are a comparatively new area of law. Since the federal laws relating to computer hacking are so new, it can sometimes be challenging to find a defense attorney with extensive working experience relating to computer crime laws. The good news is, here at The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, we understand cybersecurity and related hacking laws, so we’re well placed to explain everything there is to know. Is hacking illegal in New York? In recent years, the term ‘hacking’ has taken on a few different meanings – and you might be surprised to hear that today, hacking is something you could talk to a high-school careers advisor about. Some of the most prominent companies in the world employ hackers – or specifically, ‘ethical hackers’ – hacking specialists that look…

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NYC Evidence Tampering Guide

March 8, 2021 | Comments Off on NYC Evidence Tampering Guide

You probably know that evidence is used to build a criminal case and is often presented in court. But the way that evidence is collected, handled and presented creates the opportunity for tampering, which is a crime.  Definition  Evidence tampering is any action that destroys, alters, falsifies or conceals any sort of evidence.  Evidence is a broad category, but in this case refers to any object, document or any record that is useful to a criminal investigation and trial.  Elements involved  Each of the following elements must be proven by the prosecution in order to convict someone of evidence tampering:  –Intent: Prosecutors must show that the defendant willfully and purposefully interfered with evidence. Accidental destruction or simply abandoning, or throwing away, evidence is not enough to prove intent.  –Knowledge: Someone acts knowingly when they are aware their conduct may cause a certain result. Regarding tampering, the accused must believe that…

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What is Contempt of Court?

March 5, 2021 | Comments Off on What is Contempt of Court?

If you’ve ever watched a television legal drama, like “Better Call Saul” or “All Rise,” you’ve probably watched the judge slam down the gavel and threaten to hold an attorney or a witness “in contempt.” What exactly does it mean to be in Contempt of Court? What are the potential punishments?  Definition  Contempt of Court refers to any conduct that defies, disrespects or insults the authority or dignity of the court. Contempt is typically in the form of any action seen as detrimental to the court’s ability to administer justice.  Simply put, contempt of court is the disobedience of an order of the court. Judges have discretion when it comes to deciding whom to hold in contempt. People who can be held in contempt include any parties relevant to a court proceeding, attorneys, jurors, court staff or officers, witnesses, and people in or around a proceeding.  Criminal vs. Civil  There…

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Bail has been set on a Loved One….What Should You Do?

February 15, 2021 | Comments Off on Bail has been set on a Loved One….What Should You Do?

If a loved one has been taken into custody and bail is set by the judge, it is imperative that you know your options. The more you know, the quicker you will be able to get your loved one released.  What is Bail?  Bail is the money a defendant must pay to be released from jail once they are in custody. Bail essentially functions as collateral in ensuring a defendant returns to court for each court date for the remainder of his/her criminal case.  How Can Bail be Paid?  If a judge sets Cash Bail, several forms of payment can be used: cash, a cashier’s check, a money order up to $1000 (you can, however, pay with multiple money orders) and, in certain circumstances, a credit card.   If you are paying with cash, you must pay the exact amount of the bail that is set by the judge.  In…

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What is habeas corpus, and why is it important?

February 3, 2021 | Comments Off on What is habeas corpus, and why is it important?

You’ve probably heard the term “habeas corpus” thrown around in cop shows and movies, or the big legal debate in the news about the concept, but what does it really mean, and why is it so important? Definition  Habeas Corpus is Latin for “that you have the body” or “show me the body,” and functions as legal shorthand from a judge to a corrections officer that the person in custody must be produced in a court room so the court may determine if they are being illegally imprisoned.   So, a writ, or an order issued by a legal authority, of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee before a judge to determine if they are being unlawfully detained.  A habeas petition proceeds as a civil action against a warden or jailer and can be used to examine extradition processes, the individual’s bail, and the jurisdiction of…

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Escobedo v. IL: Why is it important?

February 2, 2021 | Comments Off on Escobedo v. IL: Why is it important?

Several Supreme Court cases, including Escobedo v. Illinos, are vital to the rights of defendants, particularly as it pertains to their legal representation. Background & Supreme Court case In January of 1960, Danny Escobedo was interrogated by police regarding the fatal shooting of his brother-in-law, but was released after he refused to make a statement. About a week later, a friend of Escobedo’s was questioned and revealed that Escobedo had in fact fired the fatal shots. Escobedo was arrested that evening after cops determined they had sufficient evidence linking him to the crime. When Escobedo asked for an attorney, one arrived, but police did not allow the attorney to speak with him. Escobedo repeatedly asked during interrogation to speak with his attorney but police continued to tell him that the attorney did not wish to speak with him. When the case went to trial, Escobedo’s attorney moved to suppress statements he…

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NYC 3 Strikes Rule – What are repeat offender laws, and why are they important?

January 29, 2021 | Comments Off on NYC 3 Strikes Rule – What are repeat offender laws, and why are they important?

New York State is one of 30 states that have “three strikes” laws in place, and it’s important to understand why and how these statutes can impact an individual accused of committing multiple felony crimes.  “Three strikes” laws  “Three strikes” laws impose a harsher than normal sentence when an individual is convicted of certain felony crimes on three separate occasions. Typically a three strikes sentence means mandatory life in prison.  “Three strikes” laws vary by state and differ in the following ways: by which specific crimes were committed, severity of punishments, and whether the laws apply to felonies, misdemeanors, or both.  The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was introduced at the federal level in 1994 and includes a “three strikes” provision. Under this federal law, if an individual commits three serious violent felonies or crimes related to drug trafficking, they will receive a mandatory life sentence without the…

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Gideon v. Wainwright: Why is it important?

December 21, 2020 | Comments Off on Gideon v. Wainwright: Why is it important?

If you are arrested and face criminal charges, it is your right to have an attorney represent you. But what if you cannot afford legal representation? Read on to find out more about how one Supreme Court case changed how defendants’ rights are upheld. Background and Supreme Court case In 1963, the Supreme Court heard the case of Clarence Earl Gideon, who had been convicted of breaking and entering a Florida pool hall with the intent to commit a misdemeanor – considered a felony under Florida law. Gideon ended up representing himself during trial because he could not afford an attorney. He asked the judge to appoint counsel for him, but at the time, Florida law only permitted appointment of counsel for those accused of committing capital offenses. A jury found Gideon guilty and he was sentenced to five years behind bars. He then filed a petition for writ of…

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What is Self-incrimination and Why Does it Matter?

October 30, 2020 | Comments Off on What is Self-incrimination and Why Does it Matter?

You might have heard the phrase “I plead the Fifth,” but what does that actually mean? It’s in reference to your Fifth Amendment rights and when spoken, usually regards an important legal safeguard known as the right against self-incrimination. Self-incrimination definition Self-incrimination means to implicate oneself in a crime or exposing oneself to criminal prosecution. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Thus, invoking your right against self-incrimination is known as “pleading the Fifth.” When you invoke this right, you are protecting yourself against making any statements that may incriminate you in a crime, and you also have the right to refuse to make any statements or answer any questions that could establish your guilt. Taking the stand Most often the right against self-incrimination applies to trials. However, you may invoke this right during other…

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What are your Miranda Rights and why are they important?

October 14, 2020 | Comments Off on What are your Miranda Rights and why are they important?

You’ve probably heard this phrase in countless movies and TV shows: “You have the right to remain silent.” That’s the first line of your Miranda Rights — and thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, you have more than just the right to remain silent. Read more about Miranda Rights and why they are important.   Miranda Rights definition    If a police officer arrests you and intends to interrogate you, they must recite to you the following:   You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?   These are your Miranda Rights, which notify…

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What is double jeopardy, and why is it important?

October 8, 2020 | Comments Off on What is double jeopardy, and why is it important?

If you’ve seen any legal television drama, you’ve probably heard the term “double jeopardy” thrown around. Read on to find out what it means (it’s not a game show!) and why it’s important. Double jeopardy definition Double jeopardy means that no one can be charged and face prosecution for the same offense more than once (with a few exceptions). The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution contains the double jeopardy clause, and many state constitutions also protect people from being prosecuted for the same crime twice. Even if a state does not afford this right to defendants, they are still afforded this protection because the first 10 amendments of the Constitution apply to all state jurisdictions. The double jeopardy clause contained in the Fifth Amendment is designed to protect the individual from “being subjected to the hazards of trial and possible conviction more than once… the State with all its…

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Charged With a Crime? Go Silent on Social.

September 6, 2020 | Comments Off on Charged With a Crime? Go Silent on Social.

Anything you say at the police station or in the police car can and will be used against you in a court of law. So will anything you say on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Instagram, on YouTube, or on TikTok. Law enforcement officers are watching. So are prosecutors. In fact, even before you are charged with a crime, police might have done their best to get at your social media accounts. Some courts have backed the rights of the police to make fake accounts to friend you so they can just read your information. Police officers have long had the ability to misrepresent themselves in the course of an investigation, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope that the courts will see online conduct as any different than in-person conduct in this regard. If they can’t do that, they’ll just subpoena the information from the social providers.…

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What to do if you’ve been accused of sexual assault under Title IX regulations

August 10, 2020 | Comments Off on What to do if you’ve been accused of sexual assault under Title IX regulations

You’ve been accused of sexual assault on campus. What now? If you find yourself accused of sexual assault or harassment on your college campus, there are steps you can and should take to ensure you receive a fair and just outcome. Get help First, do not panic. If you can, immediately begin to look for and hire a defense lawyer who can provide proper guidance and serve in your best interests as your college or university moves through proceedings. Some schools offer free legal help to those accused of sexual violence under Title IX (as well as to the accusers). Any defense attorney will tell you to seek help immediately. Don’t waste any time and don’t assume that you explaining your version of alleged events will guarantee a fair process. Even with new regulations in place, schools are still focused on the best outcome for the institution as a whole,…

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