What are my Sixth Amendment rights?

January 15, 2016 | Comments Off on What are my Sixth Amendment rights?

The Sixth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, which is a grouping of the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Bill of Rights was designed to ensure a variety of personal liberties to Americans. The Sixth Amendment lays out the basic rights of a person accused of a crime. It reads: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” There are numerous reasons that a speedy trial for an individual accused of a…

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Obstruction of justice

January 7, 2016 | Comments Off on Obstruction of justice
torn paper representing evidence

Obstruction of justice is a crime that applies to a broad range of actions and omissions. Strictly speaking, it refers to the act of intentionally obstructing or interfering with the work of law enforcement professionals, regulatory bodies, and government representatives. Below are some scenarios that can potentially meet the definition of obstruction of justice. Tampering with or destroying evidence in a police or government investigation Lying to the police and/or government officials during an investigation Interfering with an arrest Bribing or threatening witnesses, court officials, and or jurors It’s a crime that has been attributed to both average citizens and government leaders.  Former President Richard Nixon was accused of obstructing justice by covering up the Watergate Hotel incident during his 1972 reelection campaign. Another ex-President, Bill Clinton, was investigated for allegedly concealing evidence in the Paula Jones lawsuit for sexual harassment. In New York State, the penalties for obstructing justice…

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Accomplice liability in New York State

December 31, 2015 | Comments Off on Accomplice liability in New York State

Imagine this scenario: You and your best friend are at a trendy Manhattan bar when he sees his ex-girlfriend with someone new. A confrontation ends with your buddy punching out his replacement. The police arrive, and before long your friend is at 100 Center Street, awaiting arraignment for assault in the third degree. And so are you. True, you never actually touched the victim. All you did was yell verbal comments at him while your friend beat him up. But now you need a criminal defense attorney, thanks to New York Penal Law Section 20.00, which expressly states that one person is liable for the acts of another when, with the mental state required for the commission thereof, he  intentionally aids, commands, or requests someone else to engage in a crime. Examples of activities that can be construed as the acts of an accomplice include:     Shouting at and taunting a…

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The crime of murder is trending upwards

December 27, 2015 | Comments Off on The crime of murder is trending upwards
increase graph

More than 35 cities currently report an increase in murder and violence over the past year. New York is no exception, with an increase of 9 percent in murders and growing concerns about the growth of gang violence in particular. The reasons for the increases are being argued among experts, but some believe that more guns and greater police scrutiny are leading to emboldened criminals. Some cities have even seen murders increase by fifty percent or more. Gang violence is getting a lot of attention from authorities in New York and beyond. Rivalries between organized street gangs, frequently over turf for drug sales, has contributed to the spike in gang violence. Outside of organized gang activity, however, some police officers are reporting that younger men in poorer neighborhoods are turning to violence to resolve everyday disputes as well. With a laser focus on murder and cutting down on street violence,…

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Facing criminal charges? Get an attorney with trial experience

December 25, 2015 | Comments Off on Facing criminal charges? Get an attorney with trial experience
criminal defense trial lawyer

Imagine this unsettling scenario: You have been charged with a crime that could send you to prison for years if a jury returns a guilty verdict. With so much at stake, it makes sense to give yourself the best fighting chance. That means hiring a criminal defense attorney with trial experience. Most defendants mistakenly believe that whatever attorney they select will be able to conduct a trial if the matter reaches that stage. The truth is that many criminal defense lawyers have limited jury trial experience, and if an attorney is not seasoned in this area, you could be putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Ask any prospective attorney for a list of cases they have taken to jury trial in New York state, as well as the results of those trials. The information they give you should include the case name, the crime or crimes charged, the county, and…

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What rights do I have when being questioned by the police?

December 12, 2015 | Comments Off on What rights do I have when being questioned by the police?
police questioning

The mere thought of being questioned by the police can be incredibly unnerving. That is why knowing your rights in this situation can greatly help you determine what you should or should not say or do and how to best protect your rights until you have the opportunity to meet with a New York criminal defense lawyer. The most important thing to keep in mind if you are being questioned by law enforcement is that you have the absolute right to refuse to answer questions. This right exists whether or not you have been placed under arrest. In addition, the right to remain silent exists whether you have been read your Miranda warnings or not. Some people believe that  they are doing the right thing by complying with a request to answer questions posed by the police; they think that somehow they are required to answer questions or that answering…

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What is resisting arrest in New York?

December 9, 2015 | Comments Off on What is resisting arrest in New York?

If you are arrested and accused of a crime, the process can be very frustrating and overwhelming. Your natural instincts may kick in and you may try to avoid being arrested. Any action on your part that makes the arresting officer believe that you are intentionally avoiding being arrested, even if not violently, could cause you to face an additional charge known as resisting arrest. To the best of your ability, you must try to avoid any additional criminal charges by complying with the officer. You will have the opportunity to discuss the circumstances of your arrest as well as the individual charges when you work with your New York criminal defense attorney. Try to remain calm and act in a non-threatening manner.  Keep in mind that besides the possibility of the police adding resisting arrest to your charges, fighting with the police has the potential to be extremely dangerous.…

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What is a false arrest?

September 25, 2015 | Comments Off on What is a false arrest?

One of the cornerstones of individual protection in the U.S. is that a person should not be detained or arrested without probable cause. The problem is that even though these guidelines are quite clear, sometimes police officers still overstep their authority or make mistakes that lead to false arrests. To say that it is a nightmare to be falsely arrested is an understatement. If this has happened to you, then you need to consult with a New York criminal defense lawyer about your options and next steps. In general, a police officer is within his or her rights to arrest you if there is probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime.  In addition, there are other situations where an individual can be stopped by police in certain exigent situations. Aside from this, however, an officer needs probable cause or a warrant in order to arrest you. If…

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Is the Sullivan Act under attack?

September 17, 2015 | Comments Off on Is the Sullivan Act under attack?
gun and weapons crimes

Eight plaintiffs in Buffalo have taken issue with the pistol permit law in New York and are filing a civil lawsuit. According to Edward Garrett and the other plaintiffs in the case, the gun control law stretching all the way back to 1911 is unconstitutional. Those who filed the suit believe that the pistol permit process in New York is a burden that violates the Second Amendment. According to the plaintiffs, the process of getting a permit can take up to one year, leaving them exposed to problems with law enforcement in the interim if the applicant chooses to have such a weapon anyway. These same plaintiffs also argue that the process of approving permits varies too much from county to county, putting too much discretion at the hands of administrators. Edward Garrett moved to New York three years ago from South Dakota.  He asserts that part of the goal…

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What differentiates a bench trial from a jury trial?

September 12, 2015 | Comments Off on What differentiates a bench trial from a jury trial?

One of the biggest reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest is so that you can be adequately prepared for what to expect in court. Believe it or not, real court does not always operate just like television or movies. Do not count on your assumptions of what will happen until you have had the chance to consult with your attorney. Two of the terms you might be familiar with in regard to criminal defense are the bench trial and jury trial. In a bench trial, the judge is the decider of the facts and the law. The judge will hear all of the evidence in the case and make a final decision about whether the party is guilty or not guilty. Usually, these trials are less formal and require less time than a typical jury trial. A bench trial may be used…

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What to do if you think you are being investigated by FINRA

September 4, 2015 | Comments Off on What to do if you think you are being investigated by FINRA
finra scrutinity to court

If you work in securities, then you are likely familiar with FINRA investigations in general, but becoming the subject of one can be overwhelming and confusing. Your best course of action is to hire a New York criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, even if no charges are pending against you/ As a securities professional, FINRA is up there with the NYSE and SEC in terms of regulating activity. As part of their mission, these agencies are charged with investigating fraud and other illegal activity. It is common to feel like you are demonstrating your innocence by trying to cooperate with these parties, but they are not necessarily on your side. In fact, employees from these agencies will  try to get a statement from you and use any information you provide them with to delve into matters further. In order to ensure that someone is protecting your rights and…

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A Brief Guide to Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, also known as ACD

August 27, 2015 | Comments Off on A Brief Guide to Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, also known as ACD
ACD for months

If you are facing low level criminal charges in the State of New York, then you might be offered what is known as an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). As the process of being arrested and accused of a crime can be confusing, you should always consult with your criminal defense attorney to learn about your options and how each option can impact your life. When a criminal court case ends in an ACD, the judge will adjourn the case for a period of time, usually from six months to a year. After this time period has passed, the case will be dismissed and sealed as long as the defendant has avoided any additional legal trouble, such as an arrest.   It is important to realize that an ACD is not the same thing as a conviction.  In fact, an ACD is not an admission of guilt. Instead, an ACD…

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Controversy Involving the Science of Shaken Baby Syndrome

August 24, 2015 | Comments Off on Controversy Involving the Science of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Recent medical studies in the area of Shaken Baby Syndrome have brought new controversy to numerous criminal cases throughout the United States.  In the past, a majority of medical experts believed that Shaken Baby Syndrome could be ruled as the cause of death in infants based solely on the presence of traumatic brain injury.  However, more recently, some members of the medical community have begun to question such a diagnosis, believing that there are other possible reasons for such a brain injury, including a typical  fall.  In fact, some experts have gone even further, raising questions as to whether it is even possible that shaking a baby can cause death.   In a recent New York case, People v. Renee Bailey,  the New York court reversed a 2001 murder conviction of Renee Bailey,  a woman who was previously accused of shaking a two year old child to death who had…

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Ongoing tax crime scams: the IRS looks into fraud and industry practices

August 14, 2015 | Comments Off on Ongoing tax crime scams: the IRS looks into fraud and industry practices
finding crime

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service publishes a report laying out the list of ongoing tax scams that are impacting the public at large.  In 2015, more taxpayers than ever were subject to tax scams designed to gather personal information or money. These aggressive phone scams often involve an individual claiming to be an IRS official who alleges that the taxpayer owes funds that must be paid immediately. Beyond phone scams, email is also being used to capture  information from taxpayers. The main goal of these email campaigns is to gather as much personal data from the taxpayer as possible and use that information for potential criminal activity. Since these scams have gained a lot of attention in the media, law enforcement has ramped up investigations to identify the individuals behind these frauds.  This means that more individuals are being investigated and arrested for these scams. Being accused of a…

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Embezzlement case making headlines in New York

July 30, 2015 | Comments Off on Embezzlement case making headlines in New York
embezzling money with piggy bank

An embezzlement case that involves the intersection of civil, criminal and rabbinical law is garnering a great deal of attention in New York. The case involves $20 million in embezzled funds and is one of the largest Jewish charity frauds in recent history. Former Aish Hatorah CFO, Jacob Fetman, was discovered to have coordinated unauthorized loans from the charity. The bank accounts he created and controlled were nowhere to be found in the organization’s records.  A rabbinical court determined that Fetman embezzled and, therefore, owed $20 million to the charity. When this case moved into the secular courts, the Kings County District Attorney alleged that Fetman had only taken $236,000, an amount significantly lower than the determination made by the rabbinical courts What makes this case so interesting is that it involves the connection between religious and secular courts in New York; rabbinical courts arbitrate commercial disputes as a result…

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The most common issues faced by those accused of domestic violence

July 24, 2015 | Comments Off on The most common issues faced by those accused of domestic violence
understanding criminal laws

Domestic violence is a serious criminal allegation that can come with major penalties in the form of fines, jail time, and convictions on your record. But there are many other possible implications of a domestic violence allegation. Child Custody If you’re accused of domestic violence in the midst of a custody battle, this could strongly impact the rights you have to see your children. For example, if the other parent is arguing that you abused the children at any point,  you may lose the right to spend time with your children or  be ordered to see your children under court supervision. This is not the way that most parents wish to interact with their children, so you need to respond to any allegations seriously and take action to protect yourself in court. Damaged Reputation Family and friends who discover that you have been accused of domestic violence might start treating…

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What is computer fraud?

June 12, 2015 | Comments Off on What is computer fraud?

The law related to technology evolves at a rapid pace, but you should always be aware of some of the most common criminal charges related to computers and Internet activity. One of the most general charges related to this is known as federal computer fraud. Computer fraud refers to any fraud perpetration carried out using the Internet or a computer. The most well-known charge under this umbrella is hacking, where technical tools are used to access another computer or server from a separate location. A related concern can happen when an individual or group of people illegally intercepts a message not intended for their viewing. The collection of data from such an event can lead to identity theft. Under federal law, computer fraud can involve any situation where a computer is used for the purpose of creating a “dishonest representation of fact.” This misrepresentation is generally done in an attempt…

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