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New York Criminal Defense Blog

How serious are federal crimes?

There is no denying that federal crimes are often serious. You might think that you would never find yourself in a situation in which someone accused you of one of these types of violations. In fact, these types of charges are probably more common than you think, and there are various levels of consequences.

You could easily find yourself among the many people who receive notices of federal criminal accusations. While state courts handle most cases involving violations of the law, the jurisdiction of the federal system is probably wider than you would expect.

Whose drugs did the police seize?

Should you face drug trafficking or any other type of drug charges in New York, you undoubtedly realize that if you get convicted, you likely will spend a significant amount of time in jail or prison.

What you may not have consciously thought about, however, is that before the prosecutor can convict you of any alleged drug crime, she must first prove that the drugs in question that the law enforcement officers recovered and seized in fact belonged to you and not someone else. This is where the doctrine of constructive possession could come into play.

Do you have grounds to challenge Breathalyzer results?

When you receive drunk driving charges, it may seem like you don't have any options, especially if you failed a Breathalyzer test. it is certainly understandable to feel this way, but you may find that you have more opportunities to fight your charges than you realize. In most instances, a strong legal defense can help you keep your rights secure while fighting to reduce your charges or dismiss them altogether.

You may even have grounds to challenge the results of a Breathalyzer test, depending on the circumstances surrounding your charges and the evidence you can gather. It is always wise to learn as much as you can about the evidence the prosecution has against you, but you must act quickly. Otherwise, you may run out of time to review it and build a strong legal strategy. Without a strong defense, it is very difficult to avoid harsh punishment for drunk driving charges.

Don’t walk away from New Year’s Eve with a DUI

The holiday season can be a time of merriment for those in New York, especially if they plan on attending New Year’s Eve festivities in Times Square or watching the show on television at a party. At the Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, we understand that for many, New Year’s Eve doesn’t always end as planned. You may wake up on New Year’s Day facing drunk driving charges.

There is a valid reason law enforcement is especially vigilant for drunk drivers during the holiday season. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains, drunk driving crashes increase during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Therefore, you can expect law enforcement to be present in Times Square and around the city to catch intoxicated drivers before someone gets hurt. Even if you waited to get sobered up before driving or your blood alcohol content was below the legal limit, you might find yourself with charges if an officer decides you were too intoxicated to be behind the wheel.

Theft, robbery, burglary: What is the difference?

If you allegedly steal something in New York, you could face criminal theft, robbery or burglary charges depending on what law enforcement officials allege you did and the way in which you allegedly did it. While all three of these white collar theft crimes are similar in nature, FindLaw explains that each one is a distinct separate crime

If you face theft charges per se, you may discover that your ticket or charging document says larceny instead of theft. The two words are synonyms and mean that you allegedly stole someone's personal property, intending to permanently deprive him or her of it.

How are involuntary and voluntary manslaughter defined?

If you are being charged for the accidental or unplanned death of someone, it is important to understand the charges you are facing. In New York, you might be charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, depending on the nature of the fatality.

As FindLaw explains, manslaughter pertains to the unlawful killing of another person without malice, meaning you did not plan the death of that person ahead of time. Involuntary manslaughter involves the fatality of someone during an either lawful act or an unlawful act without being a felony, that resulted in the death due to negligent or reckless actions. For example, you and your friends might have been drag racing on a deserted street late at night, and one car crashed, killing a passenger. Nobody planned for the friend to die, but everyone’s reckless actions could qualify as contributing to involuntary manslaughter.

What constitutes mail fraud?

If you live in New York and face charges of mail fraud, you likely wonder exactly what federal law enforcement officials allege you did. FindLaw explains that the reason why mail fraud is a federal crime is that it involves more than one state, i.e., the use of the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx or some other commercial interstate carrier for the purpose of obtaining money or other assets through false pretenses. Alternatively, it could involve the use of an interstate carrier to sell, distribute, supply or exchange counterfeit goods.

If federal law enforcement officers accuse you of the latter, the prosecutor need not prove that you used the mails to transport the goods themselves. Rather, (s)he need prove only that you sent something through the interstate mails associated with the goods, such as the following:

  • A letter
  • A contract
  • A receipt
  • Any other type of document

3 ways a criminal record can hurt your finances

When it comes to how they affect your life, criminal charges are an extremely serious matter. Even a low level conviction can have some unexpected consequences.

Higher level charges, such as a felony, will often include penalties such as prison time and probation. In addition, you might find that you have trouble getting a job, renting an apartment and various other activities that used to be normal and easy.

What is racketeering?

Racketeering charges cover many different crimes perpetrated by a group or company led by certain individuals. These crimes are taken very seriously by the federal government, with some of those convicted receiving life sentences in prison. Additionally, even organizations that operate legally can be accused of racketeering.

On the federal level, racketeering is punished using the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations (RICO) Act. According to The United States Department of Justice, RICO violations entail the following components. First, there must be a group in operation. While at the onset of the RICO act it was used to target organized crime families, charges can be levied at even legitimate businesses. Next, the person being charged must be established to be a member of this group or business. The person must have also participated in a pattern of racketeering activity, which is defined as two separate offenses within a ten-year period.

Is it dangerous to take drugs before driving?

You may be well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving in New York. However, you may not realize that taking drugs before you get behind the wheel is also dangerous.

Because you do not often hear stories about car crashes caused by drugs, you may think these incidents are not common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most recent statistics suggest that drugs are involved in about 11 percent of fatal car accidents. However, it is difficult to understand the exact connection between drugs and collisions. One of the reasons for this is that sometimes people drink alcohol and take drugs before driving. Additionally, sometimes people already have a blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit and when this is the case, law enforcement does not always perform a drug test. 

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