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The Hamster Killer

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Monique Smith was recently arrested at her home in Bushwick. The arrest was conducted by law enforcement officers of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The criminal charges against Ms. Smith are that she killed the family’s hamster and threw it violently against a wall. Theresa Smith’s mother had stated she watched her daughter kill the hamster in cold blood. She stated that Theresa “took Sweetie (the hamster) out of the cage and slammed the hamster on the floor.” The impact with the floor killed the hamster.

Criminal Charge: Aggravated Cruelty to Animals

Monique was charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal. This is a felony charge that carries with it a sentence of up to two years in jail. She accused her older brother of causing her to kill Sweetie. However, she did state, “if I saw a hamster in this filthy place, I’d kill it.”

The spokesperson for the ASPCA stated “their organization’s investigation was thorough and it was corroborated by eyewitnesses.” Monique’s family have changed their mind about putting her in jail for up to two years. They are no longer supporting the story of her murdering the hamster. The hamster murderer will go free! The Brooklyn District Attorneys office doesn’t have the stomach to prosecute her for this crime!

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New York Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our office represents individuals charged with various criminal offenses including, but not limited to, violent crimes, white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, drunk driving (DWI), shoplifting, burglary, juvenile defenses, assault and battery, felonies, misdemeanors, domestic violence and drug offenses. We also assist our clients with traffic tickets and arranging for bail. Call us our phones are monitored 24/7.

Gun Laws Are Not Being Enforced

States are required under existing gun laws to maintain a registry of mentally ill people who are subject to background checks before they can purchase guns. According to the Associated Press, more than half of the states in this country are in violation of this Federal law. The deadline for complying with this law, which was enacted three years ago, was January of 2011. As of this date there are nine states that haven’t supplied even a single name to this Federal database. Seventeen other states have supplied less then twenty-five names to the Federal database. Gun dealers are still selling guns to mentally incompetent individuals due to the failure of states to comply with this statute.

The Federal database law for mentally ill people who seek to purchase guns was passed after the tragedy that took place at Virginia Tech. Gun control groups estimate that there should be more than one million people listed in this Federal database.

Sean Byrne, who is the current acting commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services in New York, stated, “if the mental health records are not current from our sister states, the quality of our background check is going to be compromised.” New York State has submitted more than one hundred thousand names to this Federal database of mentally ill individuals who should not be sold guns. Congress has allocated $1.3 billion to develop this federal database. Only a very small portion of these funds have been utilized.

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Representative Gabriel Gifford

House of Representatives member Gabriel Gifford was an up and coming congress woman. On January 8, 2011, she was shot in the head in Tucson, Arizona. The gunman also killed six other individuals. They were shot by a mentally ill man. Had the federal gun laws mental illness database been appropriately maintained he would not have been able to purchase a gun. Jared Loughner was so mentally unstable that he was kicked out of the community college he attended.

Gun Safety Laws

In 2007, the United States Congress passed a law that prevented people with some mental illnesses from purchasing guns. This group of mentally ill individuals included those who had been considered dangerous to themselves and others. It also included individuals who had been involuntarily committed to mental institutions or judged not guilty by reason of incompetency or insanity relating to criminal prosecutions.

A national background check system was instituted under the Brady Law in 1993. In 2007, there was a massacre at Virginia Tech. A student by the name of Seung- Hui Cho shot thirty-two people to death and thereafter committed suicide. As a result of this incident, a statute was passed by Congress in 2007 that required states to submit records of mentally ill individuals or risk losing up to five-percent of the federal funding they receive to fight crime. Although Seung-Hui Cho was considered to be a danger to himself as a result of court hearings undertaken in 2005 and ordered to undergo out-patient mental health treatments, he was still capable of purchasing two handguns. Mr. Cho should have been barred from buying these weapons, but his records had never been forwarded to the federally sponsored gun background check system.

The following states have failed to submit any records of mentally deficient individuals to the mental health system: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota. The enabling statute creating the mental health database has penalty provisions, but these penalty provisions do not come into effect unto 2018.

Privacy Laws

In some states there are privacy laws that prevent the states from turning over individuals names to the mental health database. In these states, legislation must be passed by the state legislature to amend the states privacy laws to allow this information to be transmitted to the federal agency.

Representative Carolyn McCarthy

Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York (my congress woman) ran for Congress after her husband was murdered and her son paralyzed by a shooting that took place on the Long Island railroad in 1993. She has been a major advocate of gun control legislation in the United States. Guns should only be in the hands of responsible individuals. Carolyn McCarthy and other members of Congress have been fighting against the National Rifle Association which is a pro-gun lobby, to bring sensible gun laws to the United States of America.

handcuff-150x150Criminal Lawyers

Every individual charged with a crime in the United States is presumed innocent until proven guilty. At our law office, we represent individuals charged with violent crimes, white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession and drunk driving (DWI). We also provide legal assistance to our clients charged with shoplifting, domestic violence cases, and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Call us should you need a dedicated criminal attorney. Our phones are monitored 24/7. We can be reached for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344-6431 or 718-350-2802.

Tougher Drunk Driving Laws in New York

interlock-system-150x150Governor David A. Patterson recently signed a new statute into law that affects individuals convicted of drunk driving. The new “Driving While Intoxicated” statute requires individuals convicted of drunk driving to install interlock devices in their cars.

The new law is referred to as “Leandra’s law”, named after Leandra Rosado, an eleven-year-old who was killed in a car crash in New York City when she was hit by a drunk driver.

A vehicle with an ignition interlock system cannot be driven unless the driver first blows into the device, which checks his or her blood alcohol level. The law also requires individuals convicted of driving while intoxicated to install global positioning systems in their vehicles at their own expense, and to keep them their for a minimum of six months.

Some lawyers argue that the new law requiring the interlock devices will cause more offenders to take their cases to trial, since installing such a device in a vehicle can be very costly. However, Marie McCormick, who heads the Nassau District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, stated in a Newsday article that the higher cost associated with going to trial would most likely dissuade many alleged offenders from taking this action.

New Felony Statute:

In December of this year, a law went into effect in New York which makes it a felony for an individual to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when there are children in the car.

Being charged with driving while intoxicated at one time was a minor offense. This is no longer true. Today, being convicted of a “DWI” can cause an individual to lose his or her license, pay a large fine, be incarcerated and now have to install an interlocking and global positioning device in his or her car.

Should you or a friend be faced with being charged for driving while intoxicated, it is crucial for you to have effective representation. Contact the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo 1-800-344-6431, or by email.

New York DWI Law Tightened

ar119715440171314-150x150In January of 2002 Jack Shay, a Lake Placid resident, was hit by a drunk driver.

Jack had been a world class speed skater. He had won the 500 and 1500 meter races at the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid. He was killed in an accident by a drunk driver. At the time of the accident both drivers were taken to a local hospital. At the hospital a medical technician drew the blood from the drunk driver.

The blood was not taken by a doctor. There is a loophole in the New York Drunk Driving Laws. Blood has to taken by a doctor. The attorney for he drunk driver was successful in keeping the driver’s blood alcohol level excluded from the trial.

Under the new law, advanced emergency personnel such as certified nurse practitioners and medical technicians can draw blood at the scene of the accident when the driver consents. This will aid in the prosecution of driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases. It closes the loophole that has enabled criminal defense lawyers from keeping blood alcohol tests from being admitted into evidence.

It has been suggested that the original law in 1988 was impacted on by a physicians’ lobby in Albany. In 1988 their position allegedly was that personnel other than physicians were not qualified to draw blood from accident victims.

In the event you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or other criminal matters, it is important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you. Feel free to email or call criminal DWI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo should you have any questions at 1-800-344-6431.

DWI–Without Driving Your Car!

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Here we go again. As we explained back in April of last year, it’s quite possible to get a DWI just for being in or near your car, even if you’re not driving.

One evening in Minnesota, Daryl Fleck, had about a dozen beers. He felt intoxicated and he decided to sleep it off in his car which was parked outside of his house. When the police arrived, he was sleeping in his car with the driver’s side door in an open position.

Daryl had left his keys in the center console of his car. The car keys were nowhere near the ignition. At the time the police arrived the engine was cold and there was no indication the car had been started. The police officers determined that Mr. Fleck was intoxicated. His explanation as to why he was sleeping in the car made no sense to the police.

Minnesota has a legal blood alcohol limit of .08. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Fleck’s blood alcohol level was .18.?

Mr. Fleck was convicted of driving while intoxicated in Minnesota because he had access to the vehicle while intoxicated. He received 48 months in jail plus 5 years probation. He appealed his case all the way up to the Minnesota Supreme Court which affirmed his conviction.

His attorneys were able to show the court that even if Mr. Fleck had put his keys into the ignition and tried to start the car it would not have started. This is because the car was not in running condition.

There have been case in New York that our office has been involved with involving individuals charged with driving while intoxicated who had never started their car. I have repeatedly told clients that in the event they are intoxicated, do not go near your car. The courts have given very liberal interpretations in the State of New York as well as in the State of Minnesota as to when the crime of driving while intoxicated occurs. In New York you simply need to be in your car in the driver’s seat in an intoxicated state with access to the ignition key.

Should you be charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol, it is important that you consult a law firm experienced in handling these matters. For more than 30 years, the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have represented individuals on DWI and DUI matters. We have provided excellent representation to hundreds of individuals who have been charged with drinking while driving offenses. Should you or a loved one be faced with a criminal charge of driving while intoxicated, e-mail or call us at 800-344-6431. We can help you.

Picture courtesy of wcco.com.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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