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New York Criminal Defense Blog

Top 5 surprising crime facts

At the Law Office of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, in New York, we know how difficult your life becomes when you face criminal charges. No matter what the charge, your freedom likely is at stake. In addition, not only could you face a substantial prison sentence if convicted, you likewise could face payment of a substantial fine.

People across the nation continue to list crime as one of their biggest concerns. The Pew Research Center, however, recently released the results of its study showing that crime may not be as bad in the U.S. as people think it is. Here are their top five findings

How serious is swatting?

Whether you enjoy online gaming or debating, or you have a teenager who likes to play jokes with friends, you understand that the temptation to play a prank is sometimes too great to resist. Some pranks are not only illegal, but can be deadly as well, which could land you or your child in legal hot water. You and other New Yorkers need to understand the serious ramifications of the prank called swatting.

Swatting is named for the prank’s intent of drawing SWAT teams or armed law enforcement to a person’s house after a prankster makes a false call to authorities. You may remember an incident last December that resulted in the death of a Kansas man. As the Huffington Post recaps, the man was shot by police when they mistakenly thought he was reaching for a weapon. He had been the unintended target of a swatting prank after an online gaming dispute.

Drunk driving can lead to a host of charges in New York

People who drive in New York are expected to be fully sober and able to make the decisions necessary to operate a motor vehicle. When they aren't, there is a chance that they will be pulled over by a police officer and arrested for drunk driving. Another possibility is that the driver will be involved in an accident, which can start a difficult criminal justice process.

There are several important things to remember about drunk driving in this state. Whether you are currently facing criminal charges for impaired driving or just trying to increase your knowledge, here are some points that you might find interesting:

How does New York characterize drug trafficking?

If you face drug trafficking charges in New York, this is a highly serious crime, and you face substantial prison time and fines if the prosecutor convicts you. As FindLaw explains, New York has some of the toughest drug laws in the country, including five separate categories of selling a controlled substance, all of which are felonies.

It may shock you to learn that the prosecutor need not prove that you actually possessed the drugs you allegedly sold. Nor must (s)he prove that you knew the exact quantity of drugs you allegedly sold or even that you actually consummated the sale. All (s)he must prove to convict you of drug trafficking are the following four things:

  1. You sold a controlled substance
  2. You knew it was a controlled substance
  3. You intended to sell it
  4. You had the ability to sell it

What is stalking?

Whether you are interested in someone who doesn’t seem to reciprocate your feelings or you are having trouble letting go after a relationship has ended, you may be treading on thin ice if you are unaware of the different behaviors that count as stalking. To protect you from being charged with a crime, you should understand the laws about stalking in New York.

It may not be stalking if you have tried a few times to ask out someone in your social group or even attempted to find out more about the person you are interested in. As FindLaw explains, stalking falls within a set of repeated, unwanted behaviors that make the target feel afraid. The following behaviors are common:

  • Discreetly following the person whenever possible, such as home from work, to the gym, to school and while running errands
  • Repeatedly sending the person phone calls, text messages, emails and posts on social media
  • Damaging personal property belonging to the target, such as keying a car or uprooting plants from a flower garden
  • Making threats or implying that the person will be harmed for not complying with the alleged stalker’s wishes or returning to the relationship

What is vehicular assault?

If you face vehicular assault charges in New York, this is a serious matter indeed. The New York State Senate explains that vehicular assault is a felony wherein you allegedly caused someone serious physical injury by driving your vehicle while allegedly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Be aware that the word “vehicle” includes not only a motor vehicle such as a car, truck, SUV, etc., but also a boat, snowmobile or all terrain vehicle.

New York divides vehicular assault into three categories: second degree, first degree and aggravated.

NYC road rage incident results in arrest

Increasingly congested traffic in cities across the country are resulting in more drivers being stressed out, impatient and angry, and New York is no exception. It is one thing for drivers in the Big Apple to honk their horns, use an angry gesture or cut people off. While these behaviors could cause an accident if others react angrily in response, they are not generally considered against the law. It is another matter, however, when drivers purposefully attempt to harm someone else.

This behavior is known as road rage. Intentionally targeting another driver by using a weapon, chasing the other vehicle down or cornering the other person for a confrontation are considered assault and can result in criminal charges. An incident that occurred earlier this month on the west side illustrates how quickly and unexpectedly a road rage incident can escalate. As reported by CBS New York, a motorcyclist and an SUV driver became involved in a verbal argument over unknown circumstances. Witnesses said the SUV driver struck the motorcycle rider and pinned him underneath his vehicle, resulting in injuries that were fortunately not life-threatening. The man was arrested, and authorities say he is facing charges.

Defending against a RICO charge

At the Law Office of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, in New York, we know that facing federal criminal charges is a very frightening experience. Your freedom is at stake, you could have to pay very substantial fines if convicted, and your reputation is in shambles.

Having RICO charges filed against you is particularly frightening, even though all RICO crimes are of the white collar variety and not violent. Nevertheless, the very acronym RICO conjures up visions of relentless Elliott Ness-type agents in “Untouchables” organizations taking on and convicting such notorious Prohibition-era gangsters as Al Capone.

New York real estate provides means for money laundering

A 2014 media investigation uncovered the fact that foreign investors or LLCs were buying up condos in Manhattan, according to The Week. In fact, they purchased nearly a third of the condos in larger area developments between 2008 and 2014. The U.S. Treasury Department began tracking real estate sales to unknown foreign investors in 2016 for just the Miami-Dade County and Manhattan areas. In just a few months, investigators determined that more than one-fourth of all cash transactions for luxury apartments were suspicious and widened the scope of the investigation.

Along with the attraction of having valuable holdings in one of the world’s foremost cities, these foreign investors are attracted to the New York market because of the potential to launder money. What’s more, they are being advised by high-profile, American attorneys about how to move questionable money into the U.S. That advice? Buy New York real estate.

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