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New York Criminal Law Blog

Were you charged with grand theft auto or joyriding?

While there are many types of serious theft-related crimes, those associated with motor vehicles often get the most attention. Grand theft auto, for example, is a serious theft-related crime that can result in hefty consequences, such as prison time in New York.

However, it's possible that you were charged with grand theft auto, despite the fact that you were simply taking a vehicle for a "joyride."

What’s the best drug possession defense strategy?

If you're charged with possession of drugs, regardless of the quantity and type, you should immediately learn more about your legal rights and potential consequences. Depending on the exact charges, it's possible that a conviction could result in a large fine, community service and/or imprisonment.

Fortunately, there is more than one drug possession defense strategy to consider. These four are among the most common:

  • The drugs belong to someone else: For example, if police find drugs in your car, you can argue that they belonged to a passenger, not you. This isn't always an easy stance to defend, but it's a possibility to consider based on the details of your case.
  • Unlawful search and seizure: The Fourth Amendment protects you against unlawful search and seizure. This is one of the most common drug possession defenses, as police don't always follow the law in regard to how they conduct a search. For instance, it's legal to seize drugs during a traffic stop if the officer sees them in plain view. However, if the officer opens your trunk without permission, any evidence that's found can't be entered.
  • Entrapment: Law enforcement officials often set up sting operations with the hope of catching someone committing a crime, such as selling drugs. While this is legal, it's illegal for a law enforcement official to pressure someone to commit a crime they otherwise would not have committed.
  • Missing drugs: It's not a given that the drugs seized are still in existence. The drugs could have gone missing for a number of reasons, such as mishandling at the crime lab. If the actual drugs aren't available, it could lead to a dismissal of your case.

Types of larceny charges and defense strategies

Larceny is a serious crime for many reasons, including the fact that the potential penalties are severe. If you're charged with larceny, it's important to review the details of your case with the idea of implementing the right defense strategy.

There is more than one type of larceny charge in the state of New York:

  • Theft as petit larceny: Categorized as a class A misdemeanor, punishment for a conviction is not to exceed a fine of $1,000 and one year imprisonment.
  • Theft as grand larceny in the fourth degree: If the value of the property is more than $1,000, a motor vehicle, firearm or credit card, the offense is charged as grand larceny in the fourth degree. This carries a punishment of up to four years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
  • Theft as grand larceny in the third degree: If the value of the property is more than $3,000, the offense is grand larceny in the third degree, which is a class D felony. Punishment can include imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine up to $5,000.
  • Theft as grand larceny in the second degree: If the value of the property is greater than $50,000 or is obtained through extortion, second degree grand larceny is typically the charge. This is a class C felony, meaning it carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
  • Theft as larceny in the first degree: As a class B felony, this is the most serious grand larceny charge. A conviction can result in up to 25 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $30,000.

Gun laws vary by state, know yours in New York

New York has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States. To possess a pistol, you have to obtain a pistol license and have a background check performed. You won't need a license to get a rifle or shotgun outside New York City, but if you intend to buy one there, make sure you have a license ready.

What's interesting about New York is that it is one of few states that allows local legislation to vary from that of state law. That means that the laws in your local area could differ from other parts of the state, making it hard to know exactly what is or isn't allowed in terms of weapon ownership.

Defend yourself against criminal trespassing

Criminal trespassing doesn't sound like the most serious crime, but a conviction can result in a variety of impactful penalties and consequences. If you're charged with criminal trespassing, which typically results from entering someone's property or land without authorization, it's important to learn more about your legal rights.

If you receive a formal charge of criminal trespassing, don't automatically assume that it will result in a conviction. There are several defense strategies you can use to avoid punishment, including the following:

  • Consent: Simply put, you need to prove that you had permission to enter the property. Consent comes in many forms, including written or verbal permission. Keep in mind that you can't receive consent from a minor, someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or someone who is not legally competent. Also, you can't obtain consent through fraud.
  • To reclaim personal property: If someone has property that belongs to you, there are times when you're permitted to trespass to recover it. Whether or not you use this defense strategy depends on the circumstances surrounding the deprivation of your property.
  • Public necessity: Protecting public safety is a big deal, so this is a reasonable criminal trespassing defense strategy to consider. However, you must be able to prove that you trespassed in order to protect the public.
  • Private necessity: This is similar to public necessity in many ways, as it allows you to trespass if doing so will help protect you or another person from injury or death. An example of this is entering private property because you heard someone yelling for help.

Burglary charges require a strong defense strategy

Burglary charges require a strong defense strategy, as a conviction can result in a serious punishment that alters your life for many years to come.

While there are many challenges associated with implementing a sound burglary defense strategy, there are options you can use to counter the accusation and escape the consequences.

Man in New York faces drug possession charges

A man from out of state has been arrested in Jamestown and charged with a variety of drug-related offenses, according to local sources. New York State Police confirmed the arrest of the 33-year-old on Dec. 30 for drug possession, following what has been described as a routine traffic stop. The man is currently being held in a county jail in advance of a trial date. It is unknown whether he has retained criminal defense counsel. 

According to state troopers, the 33-year-old man was pulled over in Jamestown and approached by officers. Police on the scene said they smelled what they believed to be marijuana emanating from the vehicle, prompting them to search the car. They say they turned up two doses of what they believe is LSD, one pill suspected to be the stimulant Adderall, a cigarette believed to contain marijuana and a bag containing an unknown quantity of the same substance. 

Doctor in New York faces drug crime charge

A doctor best known for working to combat drug addiction has been surprisingly charged with importing drugs to the United States. The western New York doctor was arrested on Dec. 18 after an investigation into his alleged activities. The man now faces a drug crime charge of importing a controlled substance and, if he is found guilty, could face a million-dollar fine and up to 20 years in a federal prison. 

According to the report, back on Nov. 21, a package addressed to the man was intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. K-9 units alerted to the package, which was sent from Germany, and allegedly contained 3 grams of what the authorities believe to be cocaine. A further package sent to the man was interrupted on Dec. 10, and after securing a warrant, the package was opened on Dec. 12. The contents reportedly tested positive for heroin. 

2 New York residents face drug crime charges

Two people were arrested following a "no-knock" search warrant in Chenango County the morning of Dec. 17, according to police reports. The New York State Police coordinated with Norwich City Police to stage the sting, which was predicated by a long and involved investigation into local drug crime. Both individuals have been arraigned and are being held by authorities pending a trial. 

According to the police report, the investigation originated from a desire by local authorities to stem the tide of methamphetamine distribution in the area. Police entered the residence and took two people into custody, a 34-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman. The man apparently attempted to flee officers by jumping through a window pane. He was caught and treated by EMS personnel on the scene before being transported to a local hospital. Both he and the woman with him have since been remanded to a county jail. 

Gun storage: Are you breaking the law?

Although most people have the legal right to purchase and own a gun, it doesn't mean they can do whatever they want with it. For example, there are many gun storage laws in place. These are necessary in order to improve the safety of those who may come within close proximity of the gun.

According to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, New York law requires all gun owners to lock their gun in a safe storage depository that is incapable of unlocking without the use of a combination or key.

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Robert D. DiDio
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