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New York Criminal Defense Blog

What is a voluntary manslaughter charge?

In New York, there are different charges that you could face if you are driving while under the influence and end up harming another person. Today, we will take a specific look at involuntary manslaughter, what it means, and how it differs from other charges.

FindLaw defines involuntary manslaughter as criminal recklessness or negligence that results in unintentional death. In other words, two main components need to be present for a death to be classified as involuntary manslaughter. First, the actions leading up to the death must have been negligent or reckless. Generally speaking, any DUI-related incident will automatically fall into this category due to the reckless nature of driving while under the influence of a substance.

What is eyewitness misidentification?

In many court trials across the United States, eyewitnesses are used to identify potential perpetrators of a crime. Suspects and fillers are made to stand in a lineup, while the eyewitness makes a physical identification. The problem lies in the fact that errors in the lineup identification process can lead to wrongful convictions and innocent people may be sent to prison for a crime they did not commit. According to the Innocence Project, 346 people were exonerated of their crimes after DNA evidence proved their innocence. Approximately 70 percent of those cases involved eyewitness identification and listed it as a contributing factor to the conviction error.

There are a myriad of things that can go wrong when witnesses are asked to choose a suspect from a lineup. First, the lineup administrator may inadvertently lead the witness to choose a specific person. Furthermore, the lineup may be organized in a way that promotes a person to stand out from the others. For example, if the suspect of a crime was said to have long hair and a tattoo, there should be more than one person in the lineup matching these characteristics. The witness should also be told that the suspect may or may not be present in the lineup, so he or she does not feel inclined to choose someone. Finally, all lineup procedures should be recorded so the judge and jury can review the process to ensure the procedures were handled correctly.

Did you know a misdemeanor DUI could become a felony?

The only surefire way to avoid a criminal charge for DUI is to avoid drinking and driving. Unfortunately, since many people make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, you never know when you could find yourself in serious trouble with the law.

Although every type of DUI charge is serious, as it can impact your life in many ways, a misdemeanor is the lowest level. With this type of charge, you're less likely to face a serious penalty, such as jail time.

The impact of early intervention on teen violence

When parents in New York begin to see the changes in their children as they become teenagers, they often face intense emotions and decisions about how to protect and teach their kids without smothering them. Developing a balance and feeling confident in their children's ability to make responsible decisions can be supported a great deal by early intervention and consistent education throughout their child's younger years. 

Youth violence affects a lot more people than many realize. Unfortunately, once a teenager engages in violent behavior once, it is not unlikely that it may happen again. In many cases, their involvement in continual violent crime may increase until they are in dangerous situations where their life is compromised. Parents that know the risks of teen violence and understand the warning signs of potentially violent behavior, can take initiative to help their children to discover alternate ways of coping with problems before the issue intensifies and becomes a dangerous threat. 

Man set free after being wrongfully convicted

Many people believe that all prisoners are guilty of committing a crime and deserve to be locked behind bars. They may be surprised to learn that not all people serving time are guilty, and that a number of prisoners are instead innocent of committing a crime at all. Flaws in the United States judicial system have led to the wrongful conviction and incarceration of hundreds of people, and there may be hundreds more that remain behind bars waiting to be set free.

Just recently, a Bronx man was exonerated of his sentence after serving 19 years in prison as an innocent person. His wrongful conviction was based off several factors, including false statements made to the courts, as well as psychological coercion used during the confession process. The man was just 16-years-old when he was charged with the crime and grieving after losing his mother. The detectives who questioned the young boy used techniques, such as sleep deprivation and isolation and threatened him that they would add further charges if he did not confess to the crime.

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.

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