Access device fraud

March 14, 2016 | Comments Off on Access device fraud

Access device fraud, otherwise known as Criminal Use of an Access Device, is the fraudulent use of a card, account number or any other means of illegally accessing an account in order to transfer funds or obtain money, goods, or services. Examples include using someone’s debit card without their permission or using a counterfeit credit card to make purchases. Cases of access device fraud seem to be coming before the courts more frequently these days. On February 18, 2015 former NYPD officer John L. Montanez was sentenced to 28 months in prison for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. Montanez had agreed to provide another co-defendant, who later cooperated with law enforcement, with unsuspecting victim’s names and driver’s license numbers in return for stolen items. A search of his locker at his precinct yielded 16 identification documents in various victims’ names, such as driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and…

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Child Abuse in New York

March 3, 2016 | Comments Off on Child Abuse in New York
child and parents

“Child abuse” is a term used to describe serious crimes committed against children. They include but are not limited to, sexual assault, physical injury and the threat of physical injury. Individuals that have committed acts of child neglect or abuse can be charged with one or more of the following crimes: Endangering the welfare of a child Abandonment of a child Sexual Abuse Assault You can be charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child if the police believe you knowingly enabled a child under seventeen to be mentally, physically or morally injured. Examples include leaving your toddler in a parked car while you go shopping, failing to supervise your child in a dangerous situation (ie. allowing a young child near a burning stove), or providing your teenager with drugs or alcohol. Endangering the Welfare of a Child is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to…

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Prostitution: One of the oldest crimes

February 25, 2016 | Comments Off on Prostitution: One of the oldest crimes
prostitution crime concept

On January 28, 2016 Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the conviction of Damon Hayes, 45, for running a sex trafficking operation in January, 2014. The ring included Yolanda Ostoloza, 41, who was charged separately, and her 15-year-old daughter, whom Hayes had forcibly trafficked. The New York jury found him guilty of all charges in the indictment, including Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Promoting Prostitution in the Second and Third Degrees, and Sex Trafficking. He will be sentenced on February 16, 2016. All of New York State’s prostitution laws target offenses that arise from the unlawful act of participating (or agreeing to participate) in sexual activity with another person for money. In addition to sex trafficking, related crimes include promoting, compelling, or permitting prostitution, and patronizing a prostitute. In March of 2015, the New York State Assembly passed legislation that mandated tougher penalties for sex traffickers. The offense was…

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Domestic Violence

February 18, 2016 | Comments Off on Domestic Violence

New York State law defines domestic violence as: “A pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim.” In essence, a person is guilty of domestic violence in New York if they abuse, or threaten to abuse, any of the following:     Spouse     Former spouse     Common-law partner     A person with whom they had a child     Someone with whom they are in an “intimate relationship” Domestic violence also applies to a broad range of abusive crimes, such as:     Assault (punching, hitting, kicking the victim)     Stalking (following the person, monitoring their personal correspondence, etc.)     Menacing (threatening to hurt the other person)     Criminal mischief (damaging the victim’s possessions)     Aggravated harassment (sending threatening texts, etc.)     Aggravated criminal contempt (violating an order of protection)     Endangering the welfare of a…

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Identity Theft: Role-playing can cost you

February 11, 2016 | Comments Off on Identity Theft: Role-playing can cost you
identity theft concept

On January 21, 2016 Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. confirmed the indictment of Chester Taylor, Daniel Persaud, and nine other defendants for making over $700,000 worth of fraudulent bank withdrawals. Because they allegedly impersonated legitimate account holders to access the money, they were (in addition to other offenses) charged with Identity Theft in the First, Second, and Third Degrees. Identity theft has been increasing in frequency, thanks to the standardization of electronic access to funds and payment methods. The majority of these crimes involve debit or credit card fraud and stolen Social Security and bank account numbers. Under New York law, identity theft can be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. If you intentionally assume another person’s identity to obtain money, property, or services, you can be found guilty of Identity Theft in the Third Degree, which is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to…

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Motor vehicle theft: Not so cool in reality

February 6, 2016 | Comments Off on Motor vehicle theft: Not so cool in reality
car theft

Motor vehicle theft is a crime that has been aggrandized in rap songs, video games (Grand Theft Auto), and other aspects of popular culture. In New York State, however, stealing any car valued greater than one hundred dollars, whether it is a banged-up Chevy or a mint-condition BMW, will likely get you arrested for violating New York Penal Law 155.30(8). Theft of a motor vehicle (this category does not include motorcycles) worth more than $100 is automatically a felony, but the degree depends on how much the car is worth. If the stolen vehicle is valued at more than $3,000, you can be charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a Class D felony.  Because there is no minimum sentence for a first-time  nonviolent offender, the penalty could be anything from a conditional discharge, probation or fine, to a possible prison sentence of up to  four years. If the…

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What is femicide?

February 3, 2016 | Comments Off on What is femicide?

Female homicide, or the murder of women, is what is known as “femicide.” Some scholars argue that the term should only refer to gender-biased killings while others include that categorization in the term “gendercide.” In 2009, there were 13,636 victims of homicide in the United States. The FBI has found that approximately three times as many men as women are killed in homicides. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene analyzed data from homicides across the city and found several key trends specifically related to femicides. From the data, we learn that many femicides occur indoors and inside the victim’s home. There is also a higher rate of homicide by current and former intimate partners in women in comparison to men. Femicides have been on a steady decline in New York City. Still, many are related to incidents of domestic violence. Within the city, femicides tend to…

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What impact does jury selection have for my criminal case?

February 1, 2016 | Comments Off on What impact does jury selection have for my criminal case?

If you speak to your New York criminal defense attorney and determine that you will, in fact, be pursuing a jury trial, then it may be beneficial for you to understand how important jury selection is and how it can influence the ultimate outcome of the case. In order to prepare for jury selection, your attorney will need to determine the kind of person that he or she wants as a juror for your case and should work diligently during the jury selection phase of the case, also known as “voir dire.” Your New York criminal defense attorney will handle most of the legwork at this stage of the case. The essential process of jury selection is to determine what makes the jurors “tick”. You may want your attorney to ask specific questions about some of the facts associated  with the crime or crimes you are accused of, but your…

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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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