Accomplice Liability in New York: What Is Your Crime?

By Greco Neyland | February 9, 2018

You’re sitting in criminal court on a Tuesday morning, listening to a judge read the charges against a friend for burglary. Your friend had broken the window of a townhouse in Greenwich Village and went inside to steal the homeowner’s television, stereo, and other costly electronics. He’d made it out with a few items when the police arrived. They’d been tipped off by the silent alarm. Your friend made a run for the car, but the police took him down and arrested him before he reached the door handle. This friend had handled the burglary on his own. No one else broke the window or helped him remove property from the house, but you are also facing criminal charges for burglary in court that day. Why? You had supplied your friend with the burglary tools needed to break into the house and silently remove the flat screen TV from the wall. Plus, you were sitting in the car, waiting for him to load the stolen property and drive away. With your fingerprints on the burglary tools and a confession of your involvement by the friend, the police have a pretty good case against you – even though you didn’t do any of the acts usually required for burglary. What Is Accomplice Liability in New York? Within the New York Penal Code is a section called “criminal liability for the conduct of another.” This set of provisions covers accomplice liability in New York. It is through use of this statute that the New York Police Department and New York prosecutor can arrest you and charge you with a crime, even though you never used the burglary tools or stole property from within the home in Greenwich Village. Here’s how. The law on accomplice liability in New York states that when one…

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Search and Seizure in New York: What Are Your Rights?

By Greco Neyland | February 2, 2018

Even when you haven’t committed a crime or done something unlawful, encounters with police in New York can be overwhelming and stressful – particularly search and seizure. Often, police questions are confusing, particularly if you are uncertain of the best answer, or whether to answer at all. Furthermore, an individual is at a disadvantage to the police by not understanding his or her rights and the laws that protect citizens during questioning, searches, and seizures. New York police are required to follow due process under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Failure to follow standards of due process can invalidate an arrest or even provide an individual with a claim against the police. However, few people recognize when their rights are violated. At Greco Neyland, we’ve compiled several of the common questions around due process, and New York’s search and seizure laws, specifically. In this article are three of the questions we hear the most, and high-level answers to each. For more information on New York search and seizure and your rights under due process, contact one of our New York law offices #1: When Can the Police Stop and Question Me? The police are permitted to stop citizens and question them in a non-custodial environment. For example, the police may ask individuals on the street if they recognize a suspect in a sketch or police rendering. In these instances, you are not under arrest and you are not required to answer any police questions. At all times in a non-custodial environment, an individual must feel free to go and remain present with the police under his or her own free will. The police cannot take any measures to detain, hold, or seize an individual. #3: When Can the Police Search My Car? Just as the Fourth Amendment forbids…

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4 Actions that Could Lead to Federal Fraud Charges

By Greco Neyland | January 19, 2018

Frequently, defense attorneys and other lawyers talk about federal fraud charges as a set of serious crimes. However, for the majority of people referencing this broad set of federal charges is confusing. The reason for this confusion is how federal criminal laws are structured and arranged. If you went to search for “U.S. fraud statute” you would receive results referencing mail fraud, tax fraud, medical fraud, credit card fraud, identity fraud, and so on. You would quickly notice that each of these types of fraud were entirely separate criminal offenses. Unlike other federal crimes, such as racketeering or hijacking an aircraft, or New York State crimes, such as robbery and sexual assault, there isn’t just one statute that criminalizes fraud, but several. What is Fraud? As a legal term, fraud refers to dishonest actions or behavior undertaken for the purpose of obtaining an unlawful, pecuniary gain. Put another way, fraud is any misrepresentation, false statement, trick, or deceit that is intended to create an undeserved financial benefit for the defendant. This could cover a lot of different illegal behaviors and actions, and it does. A separate federal statute covers each type of federal fraud charges. In some instances, such as health care fraud, there are several federal statutes that criminalize these fraudulent actions. This necessitates that federal fraud charges include information on the exact behavior or actions criminalized and the statute violated. What actions are most likely to lead to investigation and prosecution by the Department of Justice? Greco Neyland reviews four actions that we commonly see result in federal fraud charges #1: Tax Evasion & Tax Fraud Everyone is required to file federal income taxes. Similarly, every business is required to file taxes on revenue, expenses, profits, and losses. When making these filings, and other tax reporting, there are…

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Understanding Age of Consent and Statutory Rape Charges in NYC

By Greco Neyland | January 12, 2018

Statutory rape charges in New York are difficult to defend. Not only do the legal parameters of statutory rape make defense complicated, but the charges are rarely uncovered and brought to court by the victim. Instead, the victim’s parents and the state push for a defendant’s arrest, arraignment and conviction. In fact, the victim’s opinion and insight into statutory rape charges matter very little to a New York court. Given the nature of these charges, it’s important to understand exactly what is the age of consent, statutory rape, and what are the criminal charges for having sex with a minor. Misunderstanding or not knowing the laws regarding statutory rape could quickly land you behind bars. What Is Age of Consent in New York In the State of New York, the age of consent is 17 years old. At and after the age of 17, an individual is capable of giving consent to sexual intercourse that is valid under the law. At this age, people may decide for themselves if they wish to participate in intercourse or any other sexual activity. The age of consent in New York is not the same as adulthood. Even at 17, the individual is still a minor in the eyes of the federal government, and still can’t vote, enlist in the military, or serve on a jury. Further, parents or guardians still have certain rights until an individual reaches 18, such as agreeing or refusing to allow a 17 to marry or live outside the family home. It’s also important to recognize that states are tasked with setting the age of consent, not the federal government. Therefore, the age of consent can be and is different in other states. Live or travel outside New York? It is important to remember that Ohio or Texas impose their own…

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Can You Clear a Criminal Record in New York?

By Greco Neyland | January 5, 2018

Criminal convictions, even for a minor crime, carry a stigma for employers, new relationships, creditors, universities, and other individuals. In many instances, places of employment can’t overlook a criminal record to see the great qualities of a candidate. Other people are haunted by criminal charges where the charges were dismissed or they were found not guilty, but evidence of the arrest remains in the public records. This leads many people charged or convicted of a crime in New York to wonder if it’s possible to clear a criminal record or hide it from certain parties. What’s the Short Answer? The short answer is that it is possible to conceal or clear a criminal record in New York. Specific court procedures are passed by the New York Legislature to allow certain individuals to keep their criminal past a secret. However, these processes aren’t available to everyone charged with or convicted or a crime. Speaking with a New York criminal defense attorney about your charges and circumstances is the fastest way to learn if you can clear a criminal record. What Does It Mean to Expunge a Criminal Record? If you’ve searched for ways to clear a criminal record, it’s likely you came across the word “expunge.” In many states, it’s possible to clear or wipe clean a criminal record through the legal process of expungement. The term “expunge” means to erase, obliterate, or remove completely, and for those seeking a clean criminal record this is the most thorough path. Typically, expungement removes any indication of an arrest and conviction from the public record. An entity or organization running a public record check wouldn’t find mention of the criminal conviction. Expunging a criminal record is a court-ordered process that varies by state, with some states only allowing minor misdemeanors to be expunged.…

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DWI in New York: What’s the Possible Punishment?

By Greco Neyland | December 26, 2017

It’s the holiday season, and celebrations are in full-swing. Particularly at this time of year, it is essential to remember that in New York, the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances are harsh. The New York Legislature has made it a priority to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities due to driving while intoxicated (DWI), by imposing increasingly harsh punishments on those that violate the strict laws. The penalties for a DWI conviction in New York include both administrative and criminal punishments, which are less or more severe based on several factors. But even a first-time DWI offender can face the loss of driver’s license, the imposition of an ignition lock system, community service, substantial fines, and even a jail sentence. How do courts and state agencies determine the penalties and severity for DWI in New York? What Is DWI in New York? Under New York law, DWI is defined simply as driving while intoxicated or impaired. Typically, impairment, whether due to the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, is measured by a chemical test. The most common chemical test utilized in New York is for the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream, called a breathalyzer. A breath test measures your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), and a BAC above .08% is concrete evidence that a driver is impaired. Law enforcement can issue a citation for DWI in New York because of other signs of impairment; although, this happens on a very limited basis. For example, if a driver’s BAC is higher than 0.05% and exhibits other signs of impairment, then the police can detain or arrest the individual for driving while impaired by alcohol, often referred to as DWAI in New York. New York also imposes a zero tolerance policy for DWI. This…

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6 Ways People Violate Orders of Protection in New York

By Greco Neyland | December 10, 2017

Criminal charges involving domestic violence, stalking, assault and battery, sexual assault, and harassment are very personal. The defendant is accused of committing a crime that directly harms the person and hinders the safety of the victim. For this reason, a judge, whether in criminal court or family court, will frequently issue an order of protection in New York against the defendant. What Is an Order of Protection in New York? An order of protection in New York is a serious and substantial court order. It requires the defendant to stay away from, and often case all communication, with the victim. As an official court document, it is mandatory the defendant obeys an order of protection in New York, even if he or she feels it is unwarranted or unnecessary. When issuing an order of protection, or protective order, the judge will state and clarify the parameters of the order. This includes a statement to the defendant that all communication, phone calls, text messages, and face-to-face meetings must stop. If the incident involved a domestic dispute, a defendant must move out of the victim’s home and stop other contact. The judge will ask a defendant if he or she comprehends the court order. Later, the defendant’s attorney will clarify that the order of protection in New York was understood. Despite the insistence by the judge and clarification by a criminal attorney in New York, defendants regularly violate orders of protection. Sometimes these violations are by accident, but most often the defendant doesn’t understand how an order of protection is enforced and why. #1: Failure to Move Out of a Shared Residence Finding a new place to live is a significant burden, particularly on short notice. However, that is exactly what the judge expects after issuing an order of protection in New…

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6 Questions You Should Be Asking a NYC Criminal Defense Lawyer

By Greco Neyland | November 5, 2017

If you are facing criminal charges in New York, you likely started the process of finding and engaging a lawyer to handle your defense. You’ll quickly find there are a substantial number of lawyers in New York City, and hiring the right NYC criminal defense lawyer can require research and time commitment. Some people spend hours, even days, reviewing websites and reading reviews for criminal lawyers – a great way to understand a law firm’s capabilities and experience. When it comes to finally choosing an attorney for your case, the best source of information is what you learn directly from a NYC criminal defense lawyer. If you ask the right questions in an initial consultation, you will gain a much better understanding of the attorney’s approach, personality and whether those qualities are compatible with your view of the criminal case. What are the right questions to ask a NYC criminal defense lawyer? Keep Reading. #1: Are You a Local Lawyer? Typically, a lawyer will know immediately if they have the correct license to handle your case in NYC, and will ask you to be explicit about the court and location of your trial. What might be less clear on a website or through email communication is if the lawyer has a local practice in NYC, or is located somewhere else in the state. A local practice is beneficial to your case because the lawyer will have better insight on the judges and prosecuting attorneys involved in your case, will be more easily accessible to you throughout the matter and won’t need to charge travel expenses to handle your case. #2: Do You Have Trial Experience with Cases Like Mine? This detailed question is meant to understand two things about your lawyer. First, you will learn if the attorney is ready…

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Do You Need a Lawyer for DWI Charges in NYC?

By Greco Neyland | October 22, 2017

On a Thursday night on the Upper East Side you are pulled over by an officer with the NYPD, and subsequently arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The next morning you are arraigned in court and formally charged with a criminal offense. By Friday night you face the challenge and uncertainty of DWI charges in NYC. Back at home, in your kitchen you wonder: “What do I do next?” At the onset, every individual facing DWI charges in NYC must decide whether or not to engage a New York criminal attorney. An Attorney Can Confirm Your Assessment of DWI Charge in NYC Typically, a person arrested for DWI in NYC begins by searching the Internet. There are websites and blog posts dedicated to information and a better understanding of DWI charges. But, as we all know, not all information found online is accurate or trustworthy. In other cases, an assessment and understanding of legal intricacies and terminology is incorrect. It is extremely difficult to read a New York statute or overview of a criminal offense and definitively decide how it applies to your specific situation. This is the work of a NYC criminal lawyer. Therefore, after you go online and read the appropriate laws and look at the bits and pieces of information available, a criminal defense attorney is available to confirm your determinations. This NYC attorney can help you recognize areas of the law you misunderstood or reveal strengths and weaknesses in the case that didn’t occur to you. When facing DWI charges in NYC, you want to be fully prepared for a criminal court case against you, and that requires certainty in your assumptions and determinations about the law. New York Lawyers Know Procedure and Process Defending DWI charges in NYC without an attorney is often difficult because…

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Four Defenses to White-Collar Crimes in NYC

By Greco Neyland | October 9, 2017

Typically, white-collar crimes in NYC are prosecuted at the federal level. This means the charges for embezzlement, forgery, money laundering or insider trading are brought against a defendant in federal court and subject to federal law. However, this doesn’t change the basic requirements for the prosecution to win a conviction. A federal prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed a bad act, had the requisite intent to commit such bad act, and the bad act caused the victim’s harm. What equals a bad act? That is specific to each criminal offense. All federal and state crimes, including white-collar crimes in NYC, have specific legal elements that must likewise be proven through evidence. There are several valid and effective defenses to white-collar crimes in NYC. Rather than arguing actual innocence or that the bad act didn’t occur, the most common and more successful defenses are that the defendant didn’t have the intent to commit the offense. Just as actual innocence amounts to an acquittal, if the jury agrees there wasn’t the requisite intent to commit the crime, the verdict is not guilty. #1: Duress The defense of duress argues that the defendant didn’t have a choice but to commit the alleged crime. In other words, the defendant was forced to embezzle or steal someone’s identity because of violence or the threat of violence. In either set of circumstances, the defendant didn’t intend or desire to commit a crime, but lacked the free will to decide otherwise. Duress is a difficult defense to prove because four separate elements are involved. A federal defense attorney must prove: there was actual or threat of violence; such violence was immediate and possible; the defendant was actually and reasonably afraid of such violence; and the defendant had no means to escape or…

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