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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What does it mean for a misdemeanor to be dismissed in NYC?

August 1, 2020 | Comments Off on What does it mean for a misdemeanor to be dismissed in NYC?

There are many ways for a case to be resolved and enable you to walk away with no criminal record.  The case may be dismissed, dropped, or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. While each of these outcomes has a slightly different meaning, each of them will mean you’re not going to jail and you will walk away without a criminal record.. Some of these outcomes can still have a few long-term consequences that you should know about and be ready for. Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) In an ACD, your case is adjourned for six months to one year. During that time, as long as you meet certain conditions, your case will ultimately be dismissed and sealed and your fingerprints and arrest photo will be destroyed. For many individuals, the only condition of an ACD will be that they don’t commit or get charged with an additional crime. Some…

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Domestic violence during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders

June 19, 2020 | Comments Off on Domestic violence during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders

Families and couples are cooped up indoors due to stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a slowdown in court operations, resources are still available for reporting incidents, and law enforcement officials are still investigating and charging individuals accused of perpetrating abuse. Pandemic stats Police in New York City say that since March, reports of domestic violence have declined. That includes crimes like break-ins, beatings and killings among couples and families. The number of reports filed fell nearly 15 percent in April compared to March. Fewer alleged victims of domestic abuse have been calling law enforcement to report incidents. At the same time, cops and social workers say that more calls are being placed to organizations that help and provide shelter for battered women and that the number of calls has increased sharply since the pandemic lockdowns began. Law enforcement considers this a sign of continuing violence behind closed doors.…

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Can a Victim Refuse to Press Charges in NYC?

June 18, 2020 | Comments Off on Can a Victim Refuse to Press Charges in NYC?

You see it on television all the time. A cop turns to a victim and says, “Would you like to press charges?” The victim stares grimly ahead, and then gives a headshake. “No. Not this time. Thank you, officer.” Does this ever happen in real life? Can victims really drop charges? What does it mean to drop a charge, and what really happens when a charge gets dropped? What are dropped charges? There are two types of dropped charges.Charges dropped “with prejudice” means the state can’t bring the same charges against you for the same crime ever again. However, they can charge you for a similar crime that happened on a different date, even if the same victim is involved. That is, if they drop the charges with prejudice against you for robbing Store A in March they can’t come back and charge you again for the same crime.  They…

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Can you face criminal charges for “Zoombombing”?

June 14, 2020 | Comments Off on Can you face criminal charges for “Zoombombing”?

As teleworking has become commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have turned to platforms like Skype and Zoom for online meetings and hangouts. While they’re convenient, these platforms can be hacked like any other website, and a new term has been coined to describe the occurrence: “Zoombombing.”  What is “Zoombombing”? “Zoombombing” is when someone hacks into a videoconference call for the purpose of distracting meeting attendees, potentially with what’s considered inappropriate or offensive audio and imagery. The FBI has received numerous reports of hackers displaying inappropriate images and using threatening language or hateful speech during videoconference calls.  In order for a group of people to start a videoconference call, they need an invitation, meeting link or code to join their coworkers or friends. The New York Times found that groups on social media platforms like Instagram and Reddit were created to share meeting access codes with plans to hijack different…

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COVID-19 as a legal argument

June 7, 2020 | Comments Off on COVID-19 as a legal argument

Courts are operating at limited capacity as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but some defense attorneys and their clients are arguing that the risk of contracting the disease should be cause for release. Could this pandemic set any new legal precedents? And what happens if an individual arrested for a crime knowingly has the virus and spits on or bites an officer while they are making an arrest? Risk behind bars Defense attorneys in several states told Slate they witnessed groups of defendants still congregating in courthouses after being arrested for low-level offenses. Several attorneys have tried to argue before a judge that their clients should be released due to the risks of catching COVID-19 behind bars.  Some have been successful,  but for others were shot down, with judges in different cases unwilling to “entertain a coronavirus-based argument” or factor it into their decision-making. Attorneys have argued that their clients would not have…

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Know Your Rights Before You Protest

June 5, 2020 | Comments Off on Know Your Rights Before You Protest

As of this writing protests have erupted nationwide in response to the murder of George Floyd. Unfortunately your chances of being arrested if you choose to participate in one of these protests could be relatively high, whether you’re technically breaking the law or not. Still, following the law is your first defense. Try to remain on public property if you can. That’s public sidewalks, or a public park. If you cross the street cross at regular crosswalks. Keep in mind that the person next to you may get you arrested as well, even if you’re acting innocently. It’s also an extremely smart idea to have a lawyer lined up before you go, and to write that attorney’s number on your arm so you can get in touch with them as quickly as possible. Never Resist Arrest Resisting can include laying down, dragging your feet, yelling, and struggling. According to New…

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