Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

fata-300x203Time and time again, clients have hired us due to false accusations of rape or assault by people they know: an angry ex, a soon to be former wife, a college date feeling remorseful after a night of sex – or just some stalker hoping to extort our client out of some money with the threat of going to the police with a tall tale.  Traditionally, we have investigated the cases immediately and gotten the cases tossed out, cases as serious as Assault in the First Degree (New York Penal Law § 120.10) and Rape in the First Degree (New York Penal Law § 130.35), both punishable by up to decades in prison.  But lately we have done more than simply get the cases tossed out: we have gone after the accusers both civilly and criminally.  In some instances, additionally, we have gotten the accusers arrested before they could even make good on their threat to bring a false accusation to law enforcement if an extortion payment was not made by our client.  Such serious, but false, accusations are deeply hurtful, damaging – and potentially life-altering.  They require more than fighting off the prosecutor’s criminal charge since the accuser, despite making a false accusation, will otherwise suffer no harm once the case is dismissed.  By getting the complainant arrested or sued for damages, you can be sure that your accuser will never be heard from again – which is exactly what you want and need.  Continue reading

sig-300x257In New York, a charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon, pursuant to New York Penal Law § 265.03, can land you up to 15 years in prison – with a minimum sentence of 3.5 years.  This is an onerous punishment as it is, but becomes incredibly draconian when a defendant is not even alleged to have had the gun on his person, or even been in the same car, room or building at the time of the discovery of the weapons. But arrests under such circumstances routinely occur in New York under the doctrine of constructive possession – where a defendant is held responsible for possessing weapons (or other contraband) where they had ready access to and control of the weapon/contraband or to the storage place where it was found – even if they did not physically possess the weapon at the time of arrest.  People v. Manini, 79 N.Y.2d 561 (N.Y. 1992).   Continue reading

We receive many phone calls from individuals in New York with criminal records who wish to have their convictions sealed or expunged. In a huge change of the existing law, the governor recently signed into law (effective October 2017) a change in the criminal sealing law pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59 which allows judges to seal up to two eligible convictions, but just one felony.  While most offenses are now eligible for sealing, not all are: DWI offense are eligible, but many serious violent felonies including sex offenses, Homicide, Assault and Robbery offenses are not (along with most class A felony convictions).   Continue reading

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the importance of the pre-pleading memorandum in getting better plea offers from stubborn prosecutors, or a lower promised sentence from New York State judges.  Just 10 days later, the verdict is in: despite strong opposition by the prosecutors in the case of a celebrity restaurateur accused of Grand Larceny of nearly $850,000 of investor and employee funds, the judge offered a sentence of 4 months in prison (defendant to serve 3 1/2 months beginning in late June), significantly lower than the 1-3 years prison sentence offered by the prosecutors.  The deal was accepted yesterday in Kings County Supreme Court.  Continue reading

hail-mary-300x214The vast majority of New York State criminal cases end in plea bargains; getting a favorable one, however, largely rests on the shoulders of your defense lawyer.  And while many cases allow for easily negotiated pleas, many others involve deeply unpopular conduct or which have overwhelming evidence against the defendant.  These are the cases which require creativity from your attorney to achieve the best result possible.  In this post, I will discuss pre-pleading submissions; as the best New York criminal attorneys know, a well-researched and thorough document presented to the prosecutor and/or judge which extolls the virtues of the defendant or highlights mitigating factors of the defendant’s behavior can mean the difference between lengthy prison sentences and probation.   Continue reading

Two weeks ago in the national news we learned that a student at the University of Texas at Arlington (“UTA”), Thomas Klocke, committed suicide after the school ignored its own school disciplinary policies and punished him in violation of his Title IX rights for allegedly harassing a gay student in class.  A conspiracy between the unnamed complaining student at the school, UTA’s Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and the school’s associate director of academic integrity to go behind the back of the school’s Title IX coordinator in order to punish Klocke left him hopeless enough that he took his life last year.  Without his Title IX rights, the Mr. Klocke was denied an investigation and hearing prior to charges being brought and was not permitted the opportunity to present witnesses in his defense – or even to go back to the class and speak to his classmates to determine if any of them witnessed the allegations against him, allegations which were later determined by UTA to be unfounded.  Now the estate of the deceased student is suing UTA for violating his Title IX rights – and the reality that American colleges and universities are overly progressive and protective of so-called marginalized members of society, i.e., women and members of the LBGTQ community, has come to the forefront.  For these reasons, students who are accused of misconduct at college need to hire the best school disciplinary attorney they can find, whether they attend NYU, Columbia, Fordham, the SUNY schools, UConn, Yale, Rutgers or any school across the country.  The stakes could not be higher and the prejudice against students could not be greater in today’s politically-correct academic climate.  Continue reading

Sometimes your best defense after being arrested and charged with a crime is the government’s own inappropriate actions – their illegal or dilatory behavior can trigger either a dismissal of the charges against you, the suppression of evidence seized which otherwise would be presented to a jury in your trial, or some other sanction.  When charged with a crime in New York or elsewhere, it is imperative that your lawyer focus not just on the evidence against you but also on the behavior of law enforcement in collecting that evidence.  Just because law enforcement or prosecutors have been getting away with illegal tactics for years does not mean they will forever. Continue reading

I am writing again on the topic of domestic violence cases because we have recently seen in our office and in the news a rash of very weak charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office – based upon complaints clearly designed to manipulate or punish the accused. Arrests were made by law enforcement without even the most cursory attempt to learn the truth behind the allegations.  After just a few weeks following the arrest – to allow for a defense investigation and/or presentation to prosecutors – most of the charges were either dismissed or severely lowered.  Had the investigations occurred before the arrest and not afterward, the defendants would have been spared significant time, expense, damage to career and personal humiliation.  Moral to the story: when charged in a New York domestic violence case, hire the best New York domestic violence attorney you can so that he can immediately expose false allegations and allow you to get your life back as quickly as possible.  Without a strong and experienced attorney with a history of success, prosecutors are more likely to simply allow the case to fester which will only cause continued damage to the defendant’s life and career.  Continue reading

hotlightOne of the first things that will occur prior to or immediately after an arrest is an attempt by a law enforcement officer to wheedle a statement, admission or confession out of the defendant.  After all, this is the time when the individual is at his most vulnerable and often not thinking clearly – which leads usually to an attempt to try to talk one’s way out of the arrest.  Of course, all the talking in the world will not negate the arrest and instead will further the chances of a conviction due to the statement provided.  Adding to the trauma of an arrest is the fact that law enforcement officers have been known to bend the law when attempting to secure a damaging admission from the prisoner.  In a recent case of mine, the officers did just that while conspiring with the prosecutor to deny my client his counsel of choice.  Even more shocking: the arrested was a detective with the NYPD.  The lesson to be learned here is that no matter how knowledgeable of the criminal justice system a defendant may be, law enforcement will still try to get an admission out of him to cripple a defense and ensure a conviction.  While hiring the best New York criminal defense attorney you can upon arrest is a start, keeping your mouth shut no matter what is dangled before you can be just as important to the ultimate success of your case. Continue reading

If you have been arrested for a domestic violence crime in New York, do not panic.  Despite often carrying very serious penalties with sometimes painful personal and professional ramifications, these charges can be often be defeated through intensive investigation well before the trial stage, due to certain factors specific to these types of cases.  To start, domestic violence itself is not a criminal charge: the crimes usually associated with domestic violence incidents often include Assault, Harassment and Stalking.  The various assault charges contained in the New York Penal Law (NYPL §§ 120.00, 120.05 and 120.10) can rise as high as a B felony and as low as a misdemeanor – the range comes with potential jail time from up to 25 years down to probation.  In this post, I’ll give you some thoughts and ideas on what to do if charged with a domestic violence-related charge in New York.  Continue reading