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New York Criminal Defense Blog

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.

What is problem with alcohol breath test devices?

If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of drinking and driving, you may be asked to submit to a breath test. Roadside breath test devices are used by officers to determine whether you are driving with a blood alcohol content level that is over the legal limit. The problem lies in the fact that these devices do not always give reliable and accurate results. Some breath test devices may give readings that could falsely indicate you have a BAC that is over the legal limit, leading to an erroneous DUI charge.

Breath test devices are designed to measure the amount of alcohol contained in a breath sample. It then converts that amount to a blood alcohol content level. Research found that the amount of alcohol found in a breath test can be inflated by up to 15 percent from the actual amount of alcohol found in a person’s blood. This may partly be due to the fact that there are other factors that go into a breath test reading. For example, a study conducted by the State University of New York at Potsdam found that substances, such as environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, gasoline fumes and even residual food, blood and drink left in a person’s mouth can affect the breath test reading.

DEA indicts Fentanyl drug trafficker

Many people in New York and across the United States have turned to using prescription narcotics for recreational purposes. Fentanyl, a narcotic pain-reliever, is just one of the many types of drugs that are being smuggled in Mexico’s drug trade. Since fentanyl is cheaper to make then heroin, drug traffickers have started pushing these to drug users as a way to increase their profit margin. In 2017 alone, the amount of fentanyl seized from drug operations increased from 35 to 491 pounds. In addition, more than 1,400 people in New York City alone died from fatal fentanyl overdoses.

A New York man was apprehended for drug trafficking as a major member of a Mexican drug ring transporting fentanyl over the border using trucks, couriers and cars. The Drug Enforcement Administration indicted the 41-year old man after an incident where they seized 44 pounds of fentanyl from him in 2017. An undercover law enforcement officer posing as a drug dealer lured the drug trafficker to New York City. When he met the undercover agent to pick up a payment from a drug deal, the officer arrested him.

Can the police ever search you without a warrant?

Being pulled over or investigated by a police officer is always a nerve-wracking situation. Luckily, the law protects you in many ways but you still need to understand what an officer can and cannot do.

In most cases, police officers need a warrant to search your home or car. However, a few exceptions exist.

What you need to know about New York’s domestic violence laws

At the Law Office of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq. PLLC in New York, we know that facing a domestic violence charge is a devastating experience for you. Possibly you and your spouse or partner were arguing and (s)he called law enforcement officials saying (s)he was afraid of you and what you might do. Whether this fear was valid, and whether or not (s)he wants to pursue charges against you, it is already too late.

When officers come to your home in response to a domestic violence call, they must, under New York law, arrest you. Since a criminal prosecution does not necessarily depend on the cooperation of your alleged victim, you face serious criminal penalties if convicted, regardless of the fact that your alleged victim wants the charges dropped.

What are the differences between Murder 1 and Murder 2?

If you are accused of committing murder in New York, you face very serious charges. Murder is one of the most heinous crimes, and 31 states can impose the death penalty on convicted murderers. New York, along with 18 other states, abolished capital punishment, and four other states have a gubernatorial moratorium on it.

As explains, New York statutes specify two classifications of murder: first degree murder and second degree murder. Your charge depends on your intent for committing the alleged murder and the way in which you allegedly committed it.

Should I accept a plea bargain?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, the prosecution may give you the chance to make a deal—known as a plea bargain. Typically, a plea bargain works like this: You get charged with a crime. The prosecution tells you that if you plead guilty to a specific lesser crime, you can skip the trial—thereby avoiding the more severe penalties you would have received if you were found guilty of the crime from your original charge.

For many defendants, the question of whether it’s a good idea to accept a plea bargain is extremely nerve-wracking. On the one hand, by accepting the deal, you’re guaranteed to face some penalties—probably including some jail time. On the other hand, facing those penalties is a better outcome than the worst case scenario.

New proposition lowers racial disparity in drug crime punishments

A new study from California has widespread implications that can reach all the way to New York. The study looked at racial disparities between blacks and whites in the criminal justice system. The study found that black defendants are less likely to have their cases dropped or dismissed, less likely to be successfully diverted, more likely to be released to another agency, and when convicted, receive the longest incarceration sentences and are the most likely to receive a prison sentence.

The December 2017 study showed that California’s Proposition 47, which reduced certain drug-possession felonies to misdemeanors and raised the threshold for felony theft and check forging from $450 to $950 in 2014 has helped narrow the disparity between races. The gap in sentence lengths between black and whites has dropped by half in San Francisco. The felony drug arrest percentage for blacks fell from 23 percent to 9 percent as well. It also decreased the average number of days suspects were held in pre-trial detention. Blacks went from 33 days down to 18 days, while whites went from 17 to 12 days.

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