Articles Posted in Understanding New York Criminal Law

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A significant percentage of police reports and lawsuits alleging sexual abuse involve people accusing co-workers of having committed the offense. However, unlike complaints involving sexual abuse allegedly committed by strangers or acqutainances, these sorts of matters tend to take a more circuitous route through the court system (if they even arrive there at all). Individuals accused of sexually assault or harassing co-workers face a host of complicated issues, and need experienced attorneys wholly devoted to defending their interests and future.

Thorough investigation of these cases is the key to success. Individuals that allege that they have been assaulted or harassed by co-workers frequently (perhaps, typically) report the incident to management before they contact the police or plaintiffs' attorneys. One of the keys to defeating these allegations is by highlighting the inconsistencies in the reports. Accordingly, determining what exactly the accuser said to management – as well as to other co-workers – about the alleged incident can be crucial to undercutting the allegations later brought in a police complaint or lawsuit. Significant inconsistencies can be devastating to the complaining witness' credibility and must be uncovered as soon as possible.

Plaintiffs also oftentimes threaten to file police reports unless their civil settlement demands are met by the accused individuals or their employers. A skillful and trusted advocate may be able to pre-emptively undermine the credibility of such a plaintiff by communicating with the prosecutor after the criminal complaint has been made but before an arrest has been authorized. Matthew Galluzzo is a former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor and understands some of the concerns and reservations that prosecutors sometimes have about civil plaintiffs in this arena, and has the respect of many prosecutors specializing in this area of investigation.

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Arrests for thefts from employers

Our attorneys have defended many individuals arrested for allegedly stealing from their employers. Many of them were responsible for their employers’ payrolls and were accused of writing fraudulent or fictitious checks. Others were accused of concealing personal purchases or transfers of money using company bank accounts or corporate credit cards.

When confronted by an employer in this situation, individuals should understand that anything they say to their employers can be used by law enforcement against them in later criminal prosecutions. Many people accused of stealing from their employers face a unique dilemma. Sometimes, an individual in this situation may be able to avoid having his or her employer report him or her to the police by repaying the allegedly stolen money. Of course, returning stolen money (or agreeing to do so) conversely also tends to prove that the money was, in fact, stolen. Thus, an offer to repay the money may help avoid a suspected embezzler avoid arrest, but if it fails to persuade the employer not to complain to the police, that offer to repay the money will make it very difficult to avoid a criminal conviction at trial. Thus, offering to repay the money is a risky move for a person in this situation, and can backfire. Sadly, some people agree to repay money that they didn't even steal, or agree to repay more than they actually took, and then get arrested and find themselves in very difficult and unfortunate situations.

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On March 23, Matthew Galluzzo appeared on Fox 5 as an expert legal commentator to discuss the Brooklyn District Attorney’s decision to recommend a non-jail sentence for Peter Liang, a former police officer convicted of manslaughter for accidentally killing Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn housing project.

A link to the TV segment and interview is available here:

DA: No prison for Peter Liang in manslaughter of Akai Gurley

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Foreign citizens and drug importation charges at JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia Airports (federal controlled substance crimes)

American demand for illegal drugs, combined with harsh federal and state laws prohibiting their sale and possession, has created a black market that can be extraordinarily lucrative for illegal drug traffickers. Enticed by the potential to make significant amounts of money very quickly, many foreign citizens make the mistake of attempting to import controlled substances into the United States through New York City’s international airports (JFK and Newark, and to a lesser extent, LaGuardia). Those individuals caught in the act of importing narcotics typically face federal criminal charges like 21 U.S.C. § 952 (importing controlled substances) or 21 U.S.C. § 841 (possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute). Indeed, one study concluded that approximately 75% of those individuals sentenced for federal drug convictions in 2014 were illegal immigrants or foreign citizens.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/illegal-immigrants-responsible-for-almost-three-fourths-of-federal-drug-possession-sentences-in-2014/article/2567814

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Rape and sexual assaults involving doctors and mental health providers.

Under New York law, every sexual crime against another person involves the element of a lack of consent by the victim. A minor may be too young to legally consent to sexual contact, a person may be too intoxicated to consent to sexual contact, and a person may be too mentally incapacitated to offer consent. In addition, though, a patient of a health care provider or a mental health care professional cannot legally consent to certain types of sexual contact under certain circumstances, specifically, during clinical sessions or treatment. Thus, certain types of sexual contact (as described in Penal Law Sections 130.25, 130.40, 130.65-a, and 130.55) cannot happen between a patient and a health care or mental health care professional during a treatment session, lest they be charged as serious felony crimes.

Penal Law Section 130.05 outlines the different definitions of consent. Subsection (h) specifically applies to health care and mental health care providers, and states the following:

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Literally millions of people visit New York City as tourists every year, and a large percentage of them fly into and out of one of the two major airports: LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Of those people, many will carry a small knife or other innocuous weapon for personal protection or as a work tool. These items may in fact be legal in their home state. However, New York has some of the strictest weapons possession laws in the country and unfortunately, many people who use these airports learn about them the hard way.

Specifically, New York prohibits the possession of any gravity knife, switchblade, stilletto, certain clubs, darts, slingshots, brass knuckles, and even such exotic things as chuka sticks and throwing stars. Thus, even though many of these things are widely available — even in stores selling them in New York City itself — police will take the opportunity to arrest you and charge you with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree pursuant to Penal Law section 265.01.

More often than not, this situation will occur when a person is attempting to board a flight at the aiport and is subject to security screening by TSA. In those situations, TSA will alert local police and you would find yourself at the local precinct and on the way to Queens County Criminal Court at 125-01 Queens Boulvard, Queens, NY 11415.

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Arrests for shoplifting are incredibly common in New York City, and many of those individuals arrested for shoplifting are being arrested for the first time. Though arresting police officers typically assure people that the arrests are trivial and will not have any lasting consequences, the truth is that these cases need to be handled carefully because even seemingly small cases like these can have tremendous negative implications for hardworking people.

Most people arrested for shoplifting are held by store security guards until police arrive. During that time, store security guards typically force or trick the people they've detained to sign written confessions (by promising not to call the police if they sign) and trespass notices acknowledging that they are no longer allowed to shop at the store. Store security guards do not have to read people their Miranda rights because they are not police officers, but anything said to them can and will be used against them in courts of law.

Police officers then take these detained people to the local precinct, where the arrest process begins. Fingerprints are taken and paperwork is completed while the arrestees typically wait in a cell for about three to four hours. Then, the alleged shoplifter is usually given a Desk Appearance Ticket, which looks like this, which directs the shoplifter to appear in court at a later date. Failure to appear in court on that date results in a warrant being ordered for that person's arrest.

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One of the great things about living in (and visiting) New York City is the amazing nightlife. The city is home to some of the best nightclubs and bars in the world, including places in the Meatpacking District like Tenjune, 1Oak, The Griffin, Gaslight, Beaumarchais, the Standard (The Top of the Standard and Le Bain), as well as other clubs throughout Manhattan, such as Lavo, Santos Party House, Provocateur, Output, the Jane Hotel, Mehanata, Verboten, Cielo, Webster Hall, the Pyramid Club, the 40/40 Club, and the Marquee, among countless others. Unfortunately, arrests for theft, assault, sexual assault, weapons, and drugs are common at these sorts of establishments, and some unfortunate people are saddled with more than just a hangover after a night partying at these places.

The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented dozens of people arrested at nightclubs and bars throughout the city, and our experience as prosecutors and defense attorneys has taught us that certain types of cases are quite common. Through our experience on both sides we have also learned that these types of cases present unique challenges and opportunities for defense attorneys, and have learned how to best take advantage of the unique circumstances that these cases often present.

First, assaults in nightclubs and bars are very common. Alcohol and drug use combined with loud music and packed crowds seems to cause some individuals to act violently, unfortunately. Assault in the Third Degree (Penal Law Section 120.00), a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, is the most common arrest charge for punching or striking another person, but Assault in the Second Degree (Penal Law Section 120.05), a class D violent felony punishable by multiple years in jail, is also typical in cases in which bottles or other objects are used during the assault.

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One of the great things about living in (and visiting) New York City is the amazing nightlife. The city is home to some of the best nightclubs and bars in the world, including places in the Meatpacking District like Tenjune, 1Oak, The Griffin, Gaslight, Beaumarchais, the Standard (The Top of the Standard and Le Bain), as well as other clubs throughout Manhattan, such as Lavo, Santos Party House, Provocateur, Output, the Jane Hotel, Mehanata, Verboten, Cielo, Webster Hall, the Pyramid Club, the 40/40 Club, and the Marquee, among countless others. Unfortunately, arrests for theft, assault, sexual assault, and drugs are common at these sorts of establishments, and some unfortunate people are saddled with more than just a hangover after a night partying at these places.

The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented dozens of people arrested at nightclubs and bars throughout the city, and our experience as prosecutors and defense attorneys has taught us that certain types of cases are quite common. Through our experience on both sides we have also learned that these types of cases present unique challenges and opportunities for defense attorneys, and have learned how to best take advantage of the unique circumstances that these cases often present.

The most typical arrest charges for drugs at nightclubs are Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail (Penal Law 220.03) (frequently charged as a Desk Appearance Ticket), Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony punishable by multiple years in state prison (Penal Law 220.39), and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony punishable by multiple years in state prison (Penal Law 220.16) for possessing with the intent to sell. It is noteworthy in the club context that the definition of “sale” in New York state law simply means to give to another person, thus “sharing drugs” with your friend is technically a “sale of drugs” even if your friend did not pay you anything for the drugs. Typical nightclub drugs classified as “controlled substances” include cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA), molly or methylone, heroin, prescription drugs like oxycodone, and methamphetamine or crystal meth, to name a few.

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One of the great things about living in (and visiting) New York City is the amazing nightlife. The city is home to some of the best nightclubs and bars in the world, including places in the Meatpacking District like Tenjune, 1Oak, The Griffin, Gaslight, Beaumarchais, the Standard (The Top of the Standard and Le Bain), as well as other clubs throughout Manhattan, such as Lavo, Santos Party House, Provocateur, Output, the Jane Hotel, Mehanata, Verboten, Cielo, Webster Hall, the Pyramid Club, the 40/40 Club, and the Marquee, among countless others. Unfortunately, arrests for theft, assault, sexual assault, and drugs are common at these sorts of establishments, and some unfortunate people are saddled with more than just a hangover after a night partying at these places.

The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented dozens of people arrested at nightclubs and bars throughout the city, and our experience as prosecutors and defense attorneys has taught us that certain types of cases are quite common. Through our experience on both sides we have also learned that these types of cases present unique challenges and opportunities for defense attorneys, and have learned how to best take advantage of the unique circumstances that these cases often present.

Flirtation and sexual contact is obviously common at NYC nightclubs; indeed, for many people, it is sort of the point of going to a club. Alcohol and drugs, however, can cause people to misunderstand communications or make poor decisions that result in criminal arrests for sexual assault or rape. Misdemeanor arrests for Forcible Touching (Penal Law 130.52) or Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree (Penal Law 130.55) are often applied in cases of unwanted sexual touching or grabbing or grinding, and can have serious permanent consequences like sex offender registration or prison. The more serious charge of Rape in the First Degree (Penal Law 130.35) obviously carries serious jail penalties and applies in cases in which the sexual intercourse is accomplished “by forcible compulsion” or with someone that was “incapable of consent” by virtue of intoxication, for example.