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Queens Criminal Law Blog

Can you defend yourself against trespassing charges?

Criminal trespassing is the legal term for trespassing onto someone else's land or using that person's chattel without permission. On the whole, law enforcement agents such as sheriffs, park rangers and police officers enforce the laws for trespassing. In cases where charges are brought against you for crossing onto another person's land, you do have the right to defend yourself.

There are several defenses to trespassing. One is that you have consent to be there. Here's an example of how this may come up. Perhaps the homeowner is not at home, but you have gained permission to enter the property. If a neighbor sees you and believes you're trespassing, he or she may call the police or local sheriff. While you may be arrested initially if the homeowner is not able to be contacted, it's likely the charges would be dropped as soon as the homeowner cleared up the confusion.

Public intoxication is no longer a crime in NYC

Neither is public urination. But . . . don't do either.

On Tuesday, June 13, New York City lessened some of the penalties associated with public drinking and public urination. The measures are intended to reduce the backlog of criminal cases that are crowding NYC courtrooms.

It may also help immigrants in the U.S. without documentation or who are here on DACA status to avoid being targeted for removal. 

Domestic violence charges can impact your freedom and family

Things might have gone too far with your spouse during an argument and now you are looking at domestic violence charges. These charges can have a big impact on your life because they involve a violent crime. A conviction can impact your life in a host of ways. One thing that you have to remember if you find yourself in the unbelievable position of facing these charges is that you have the right to defend yourself against the charges.

We know that you are probably very concerned right now. You might be wondering exactly how it came to this. One mistake might cost you your freedom and your family. These are the factors that you can use to help you stay motivated to fight the charges.

Interpreter rules to aid domestic violence defendants

Can a language barrier in criminal cases prevent defendants from exercising their legal rights? That question is arising more often in New York domestic violence cases, as more victims are being considered as perpetrators because police cannot understand their stories. Imagine calling the police for help to protect you from an abuser - only to find yourself being hauled off, facing arrest and domestic assault charges because you sought assistance. It is not unfathomable - and it has happened to people in our city.

Consider the case of a woman who called Staten Island police for help after finding her niece lying at the bottom of the stairs. The woman attempted to tell officers that the younger woman had been pushed by her husband. Instead, the reporting party found herself under arrest. She was then charged with additional crimes including obstruction of governmental administration - all because she could not tell her story in English. After she was threatened with having her child removed by authorities, the woman pleaded guilty to a crime that she did not commit.

Failing to install an ignition interlock after a DWI is a crime

Under New York state law (“Leandra’s Law”), all people convicted of a driving while intoxicated charge must install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles they own or operate. It is a crime to drive without an ignition interlock device when your license is restricted in such a way. Doing so is a misdemeanor.

There has been a recent rise of prosecutable cases in this area, with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles reporting an increase from only 817 in 2011 to 3,726 in 2016. In some cases, the devices were removed. In others, the individual charged never installed them.

Multiple DWI convictions can lead to a lifetime driving ban

Multiple DWIs may continue to lead to a lifetime driver’s licenses revocation, according to a new decision by New York’s highest court.

The New York Court of Appeals recently heard a case about the Department of Motor Vehicle’s policy of refusing to reinstate the driver’s licenses for drivers convicted of multiple DWIs. In a unanimous decision, the state’s highest court upheld the policy. The DMV will continue to deny relicensing for drivers who have five or more DWI convictions on their record in almost all circumstances.

Times Square driver had previous drunk driving conviction

The driver who crashed into a group of people in Times Square has a history of drunk driving, according to official reports. The New York driver apparently had a past that was troubled with more than just a DWI, indicating that perhaps he was not getting the help he needed before he caused the fatal crash. The defendant has been charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the incident. An 18-year-old woman died when the defendant allegedly plowed into a group of visitors in the Big Apple.

Friends say that the man's vehicle was outfitted with a mandated speed limiter after he was previously arrested for drunk driving in April 2015. The man's license was suspended for three months, and he was subject to a fine of $500 in the case. The man had previous drunk driving arrests in New York, and he also faced a DWI charge while serving in the U.S. military.

New York seizes millions in criminal defense assets annually

Did you know that the state of New York can seize your personal assets even if you have not been convicted of a crime? Criminal defense attorneys know this practice as "civil asset forfeiture," and it happens more than you might think. Defendants often suffer serious setbacks when officers seize vehicles, bank accounts, cash and other assets simply because they are thought to be connected with criminal activity. You do not even have to be charged with a crime for this seizure to occur! In all, reports show that annual revenues from civil asset forfeiture pad the state's coffers with an additional $28 million per year.

As a result of this policy, police officers are more likely to target potential defendants' forfeitable assets. This can lead to an unfair application of justice - and the only solution may be fighting back against the criminal charge with the help of a robust attorney. Many of the victims of civil asset forfeiture are entirely innocent New Yorkers who are unable to reclaim their property after it is taken. Law enforcement agencies are allowed to keep up to 80 percent of the property recovered in these legal proceedings.

Domestic violence rate rise spurs task force into action

A new report out of New York City's mayor's office indicates that intimate partner homicides are on the rise in the municipality. Authorities say that domestic violence homicides rose by a dramatic 20 percent in 2016, jumping to 59 cases from their 2015 level of 49 cases. Also, the city saw an overall rise in the number of reported domestic assault charges, with an increase of about 1.3 percent. During that same span, other violent crimes such as rape and murder dropped by about 3.6 percent.

As a result, the mayor's office has announced a $7 million investment in new initiatives designed to prevent and prosecute domestic violence incidents. The mayor has said that domestic violence is endemic to every neighborhood in the city, and he and his wife are dedicated to stemming the tide of family violence. A dedicated task force has developed recommendations surrounding early intervention at home for traumatized children, along with additional support to prevent recidivism through the city's Probation Department.

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Law Office Of Luke Scardigno
123-60 83rd Avenue Suite 1T
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Phone: 718-414-6186
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