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New York’s Criminal Harassment Statute Declared Unconstitutional

long island divorce attorneyOn May 13, 2014, the New York State Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York State), declared New York’s criminal harassment statute, Penal Law section 240.30(1)(a) unconstitutionally vague and over broad. Under the statute it is a misdemeanor to “harass, annoy, threaten or alarm” another person either in writing or verbally if it was “likely to cause annoyance or harm.”

In writing for the state’s highest court, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam wrote a decision which stated this statute did not properly define what causing “annoyance or alarm” means and it did not specifically state what behaviors the law was referring to.

Domestic Violence Cases

This statute was primarily used in the prosecution of individuals in domestic violence cases. District Attorneys throughout the State of New York are now working to revise the aggravated harassment statute in light of this recent decision of the New York State Court of Appeals.

Kathleen Rice, the Nassau County District Attorney, who is currently the President of the State District Attorney’s Association said stopping harassment is one of the top priorities of the district attorneys looking into this statute. She stated “we ‘will work with the legislators to craft a new law that will help protect victims by filling the statutory gap left by the court’s decision.'”

No Statute to Protect Victims

Domestic violence advocates are concerned that without the aggravated harassment statute, victims of domestic violence will be at risk. Amy Schwartz, the senior staff attorney with the Empire Justice Center in Rochester, stated “one of the more commonly enumerated family offenses” with regard to those individuals seeking orders of protection from the family court deal with the aggravated harassment statute.

New York State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, the current chair of the Assembly’s Codes Committee, is working with his counterparts in the New York State Senate to help rewrite this statute. He stated “we are currently working with and awaiting input from domestic violence prosecutors across the state and how to legislatively address the issues that have arisen with regard to this case.”

Domestic Violence, Active and Inactive

There are two types of domestic violence, one physical and the other mental. Can emails and discussions between individuals that don’t contain threats, amount to aggravated harassment and be the basis for domestic violence allegations? Let’s see what the New York State Legislature does.criminal defense on Long Island

Nassau County’s Drug Treatment Court

criminal defense attorneyNassau County established a Drug Treatment Court in 2009. The purpose of the court is to allow individuals charged with drug related felony charges to rehabilitate themselves and avoid going to jail.

Recently eighteen graduates from the Nassau County Drug Treatment Court Program had a celebration. This was the thirtieth graduation from the Nassau County Felony Treatment Court. The court which combines therapy, random drug testing and court appearances provides an alternative to jail for alcoholics and drug offenders.

The Court’s Success Rate

More than 400 people have been involved in the program at the Nassau County Felony Drug Treatment Court since 2009. Of these 400 individuals, only 3 have committed crimes again. This is an outstanding achievement.

Cost Savings from the Court

The Nassau County Drug Treatment Court is saving the taxpayers of Nassau County millions of dollars. The treatment program costs far less than incarcerating the individuals charged with crimes. Individuals involved in the program have stated the program has “institutionalized compassion.” Instead of treating the people in the program as criminals they are treated with humility. The program lasts eighteen months. In addition, it is followed by a one year conditional release. Individuals who graduate from the program, who have been charged with felonies, can have their convictions dismissed or reduced to misdemeanors. In addition, they can have their record sealed in certain circumstances.

Judge Frank Gulotta who sits in the County Court in Nassau County stated with regard to the program that it is a “reclamation project.” He requested the program be expanded to include other individuals charged with felonies. Among those other individuals he would like to see included in the program are those charged with identity theft. He made this suggestion because many of the drug offenders are involved in identity theft too. He went on to state “instead of letting someone sit in prison for umpteen years, you are essentially producing people who can be productive members of society.”

help in handling criminal mattersElliot S. Schlissel Esq. and his associates provide aggressive legal representation for individuals charged with misdemeanors and felonies throughout the metropolitan New York area. In addition, they represent individuals being investigated for criminal activity.

Intoxication, Without More Evidence, Does Not Establish Reckless Driving

nassau county criminal defense attorneysIn October of 2012, the Appellate Division of the Third Department, an Appeals Court in the State of New York, found a jury should have been instructed intoxication, without further evidence, did not establish reckless driving. Upon making this ruling, the court set aside the conviction of a defendant named Goldblatt.

Goldblatt had been convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree (2 counts), assault in the third degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, driving while intoxicated (two counts) and reckless driving.

Goldblatt had been driving an SUV in a 40 mile an hour zone at 55 miles per hour. His car went off the road. He hit two people who died from their injuries.

An Appeal

Goldblatt’s lawyers argued on appeal he should not have been convicted on the top count of the indictment which was aggravated vehicular homicide. Their position was this conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence. They claimed the Court at the trial level did not properly instruct the jury regarding the criminal charge of aggravated vehicular homicide. The appeals court reversed the conviction on the aggravated vehicular homicide. The case was sent back for a new trial on this criminal charge. The reason for the Judge’s finding was he agreed with Goldblatt’s lawyers’ argument that the jury had not been properly instructed as to what they must find to convict him of this criminal charge.criminal attorney to assist

Permanent Revocation Of Driver’s Licenses – Part I

criminal defense lawyersAt the request of New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has issued new regulations that will require the permanent revocation of driving privileges in the State of New York. In addition, the Department of Motor Vehicles can also set up a re-licensing procedure that takes a very long time for an individual to receive his or her driver’s license back. The new re-licensing procedures may have restrictions relating to drug and alcohol driving convictions. New York’s re-licensing policy is among the strictest in the country.

Changes In The Law

In the past, an individual convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or driving under the influence of alcohol would lose his or her license from 90 days to six months. At the most, the loss of the license would be for one year. These individuals were eligible at the end of their sentence to reapply for their driving privileges from the DMV in the State of New York. In the past the DMV made a determination and, if they were eligible, their license privileges would be restored.

Lifetime Review By The Department Of Motor Vehicles

The new driving regulations give the Department of Motor Vehicles the authority to conduct a lifetime review of all drivers who want their licenses reinstated. After the review, the DMV will render a determination as to whether these drivers are eligible to have their driving privileges to reinstated.

The new regulations give the DMV the authority to conduct lifetime reviews anytime a driver seeks to have a driver’s license reinstated after a revocation. In the event the DMV denies the reinstatement, the driver will end up with either a lifetime revocation of his or her driver’s license or a delay in the reinstatement of driving privileges for a period of five more years beyond the original period of the revocation. Should the DMV find five or more drug or alcohol related driving convictions during the driver’s lifetime all applications for reinstatement of driving privileges can be forever denied. Should the DMV find three or more drug or alcohol related convictions during the last 25 years plus one other serious driving infraction during the same period, the DMV can also deny reinstatement of driving privileges for the individuals lifetime.assistance in criminal matters

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Charges Dismissed

nassau county criminal defense attorneysIn a case before Gerri Pickett in the criminal court of Kings County the Judge found the accusatory instrument charging an individual with driving while intoxicated was facially insufficient. Her conclusion was based upon the fact there were no actual allegations supporting the charges essential elements in the accusatory instrument filed by the Kings County District Attorney’s office.

The accusatory instrument alleged that a police officer observed an individual named Padmore standing with a non-party named More. The officer’s statement alleged Padmore stated “he hit and sideswiped another vehicle.” Damage was caused to the other vehicle. Other individuals then drove his car away from the scene of the accident. The officer further stated she observed Padmore to be intoxicated.

Evidence Of A Criminal Offense

The Court’s decision stated in New York Criminal Procedures Law Section 60.50 for an individual to be convicted, in addition to a confession, there had to be evidence the criminal offense was actually committed. The Court found the prosecution did not meet the minimum requirement of facial sufficiency. There is a question as to whether Padmore “operated the vehicle.” Since no one saw Padmore driving the vehicle his own statement was the only proof of the officer’s conclusions. Since there was no corroborating evidence of driving while intoxicated, the Judge dismissed the case.

About The Author – New York Criminal Defense Lawyer

criminal defense on Long IslandThe Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been representing men and women charged with misdemeanors and felonies throughout the metropolitan New York area for more than 34 years. Call the law office for a free consultation.

Nassau County Teenager Court

criminal defense attorneysNassau County, Long Island, now has a new pilot program designed to help 16 and 17 year olds charged with a crime avoid going to jail. Nassau County is one of nine counties throughout New York State to have a specific court designed to hear cases involving 16 and 17 year olds who previously have been treated as adults subject to criminal prosecution in the criminal courts in New York.

Jonathan Lipman, the Chief Judge in the State of New York, brought about this initiative because he feels teenagers charged with certain crimes should not be charged as adults within the criminal justice system in the State of New York.

Criminal Prosecution of Minors In New York

New York is the only state in the country that currently prosecutes non-violent 16 and 17 year old as adults within its criminal justice system. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice recently made the following statement with regard to this pilot court program “we’re prepared to show the rest of the state that this approach is the best way to rehabilitate young offenders, save tax payer money and protect the public.”

How This New Program Works

Sixteen and seventeen year olds who are charged with non-violent criminal offenses are initially screened by case workers from the Nassau County Department of Probation. If they are found to be at low risk of committing crimes in the future their case can be dismissed. If they are found to be high risk of committing crimes in the future, they are put through an extensive screening process and both the lawyers and the judge look for a solution that will solve the teenagers underlying problems and protect the public. The purpose of the teenager court is to find an alternative to sentencing teenagers to jail. Teenagers convicted as adults in the criminal courts receive permanent criminal records which can affect the rest of their lives.

Teenager Recidivism

A statistical analysis of the records of teenage boys and girls who have an initial contact with the criminal justice system finds that more than 80% of them will be rearrested by the time they are 28 years old. It is hoped teenagers who make bad judgment calls will be given the opportunity to have a second chance, a clean record and be able to get out of the criminal justice system.

Juvenile Defense and Criminal Defense Lawyers In New York

Juveniles charged with crimes in New York can be prosecuted in either Family Court, Criminal Court or now the Teenager Special Court. The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo and their dedicated attorneys, for more than 30 years, have represented men and women charged with large varieties of criminal offenses. Our office has extensive experience representing individuals charged with computer and internet crimes, traffic tickets, white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI), shoplifting, burglary, assault and battery, domestic violence, drug offenses and other misdemeanors and felonies. Contact us for a free consultation.criminal court assistance

Speed Racing on the Long Island Expressway

Darnel Anderson, 25 years of age, decided to have a race with Darrel Squiers. The race took place on the Long Island Expressway in Nassau County, New York. Both drivers were speeding in excess of 100 mph. Darnel Anderson had two children in the car with him while he was racing his friend. In court documents, he stated “I knew we were going way too fast.”
It was estimated that Darnel was proceeding at approximately 120 miles per hour when he was stopped by the police. He was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, being involved in a speed contest and numerous additional traffic violations. His racing buddy, Darrel Squiers of Bay Shore, was charged with driving while being intoxicated, being involved in a race on the Long Island Expressway, speeding and a variety of additional vehicle and traffic violations.
Individuals who want to see if they have the fastest car should race their cars on a race track. This can be done under conditions that are safe for everyone involved. In this situation two young children’s lives were in danger and only by the grace of God did they avoid serious injury. These racing buddies now face significant criminal prosecution.

Criminal Lawyer

Our law office represents individuals charged with the following criminal offenses: violent crimes; white collar crimes; sex crimes; weapons possession; driving while intoxicated (DWI); shoplifting; burglary; juvenile defense; assault and battery; drug offenses; domestic violence and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. If you, a friend or loved one is either being investigated for a crime or charged with a crime, call us for a free consultation, we can help you.

Go – kart DWI, A First

Kart-150x150Can you receive a driving while intoxicated (DWI) criminal charge for driving a go – kart? The answer to that question is yes. Lennon Safati, age 18, has been charged with a felony for driving while intoxicated, endangering the welfare of a child and other criminal charges. Lennon violated New York’s Leandra’s Law. He was driving a go – kart while he was allegedly intoxicated, while he was carrying an underage passenger.Lennon was riding his go – kart with two minors aboard. One was holding onto his back and the other was sitting on his lap.

Leandra’s Law

Leandra’s Law, in the State of New York, makes it a felony to drive while intoxicated with a minor under the age of 18 in the vehicle. Conviction under Leandra’s Law carries a penalty of up to four years imprisonment for first time offenders.

Lennon’s blood alcohol level, as tested by a breathalyzer, was .11. This is higher than the standard of .08 necessary to be charged with driving while intoxicated in the state of New York. Lennon is currently being held on $10,000.00 bail.

Criminal Lawyers

If you are charged with crime, it is extremely important to have the best possible legal representation. Conviction of a crime can land you in jail, give you a criminal record, and create difficulties in obtaining employment for the rest of your life. At the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo, our team of dedicated, experienced criminal attorneys have been representing New Yorkers for more than 30 years on a variety of criminal charges. Our firm has extensive experience in dealing with drug offenses, assault and battery, juvenile offenses, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated (DWI), weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes and all types of misdemeanors and felonies. We also have recently developed an expertise in handling computer and internet crimes. Should you, a friend or loved one be investigated or charged related to a crime, feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 for a free consultation.

NYC Child Welfare Workers Charged with Negligent Homicide

In March of 2011, two former New York City child care workers were charged with negligent homicide related to a girl’s death. The girl was four years old at the time of her death. The child care workers had a responsibility to monitor her family’s situation. Damon Adams was a child welfare worker who worked for the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). He had a responsibility to visit the home of Marchella Pierce. He was supposed to be conducting his visits during the three month period prior to Marchella’s death. Damon Adam’s supervisor was Chereece Bell. She was supposed to provide oversight for Mr. Adams. She has also been charged related to Marchella Pierce’s death. Damon Adams falsely reported that he had been visiting Marchella’s home to check up on her. His failure to follow up and supervise her home situation contributed to her death.

Carlotta Pierce caused Marchella’s Death

Marchella’s mother is named Carlotta Pierce. She had been beating Marchella with household items. She refused to provide Marchella with food and water. She force-fed Marchella antihistamines. Marchella weighed only eighteen pounds at the time of her death. Marchella was a premature baby. She had undeveloped lungs. She had a twin sister who died at birth. Marchella had been in and out of hospitals her entire life. At the time of her release from the hospital in February of 2010, she had a tracheal tube inserted to assist her in breathing.

Administration for Children’s Services had been monitoring the family since November of 2009. Her mother was found to be a drug abuser. Mr. Adams and Chereece Bell are the first two workers working for the Administration for Children Services to be charged with negligent homicide. Anthony Rells, a union representative for the accused child welfare workers, stated, “it is unprecedented and outrageous that workers doing their jobs are being blamed for the deaths of children.”

Mr. Adams faces a potential sentence of seven years in prison and Ms. Bell faces up to four years in prison if they are convicted. The mother, Ms. Brett, faces a term of twenty-five years to life in prison if she is convicted of second degree murder.

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Criminal Attorneys

Our law office represents individuals charged with juvenile defenses, assault and battery, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, drug offenses, driving while intoxicated (DWI), weapons possession, sex crimes, white collar crimes and violent crimes. We also help our clients obtain bail. We’ve been representing individuals charged in criminal matters throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 30 years. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Modification of Criminal Law

DWI’s

Generally driving while intoxicated convictions (DWI’s) are not subject to being expunged. Instead, in some circumstances these records can be sealed. We can also obtain for our clients waivers of civil disabilities for individuals convicted of DWI’s. This  allows them to obtain commercial licenses in the future or have their commercial drivers license reinstated.

The Expungement Process in New York

To expunge a criminal conviction in the State of New York it is necessary to bring an application to the court that rendered the original decision to convict the defendant. The court has discretion and on a case by case basis decides whether to allow the criminal conviction to be expunged. Generally speaking to have a criminal conviction expunged you must have been convicted as a juvenile, convicted of an allowable drug related offense, or have been arrested in a case and not convicted. Feel free to contact the expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo for a free consultation regarding the issue of expunging a criminal record.

Contact an Experienced New York DWI Attorney

Based in Lynbrook, New York, The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo represents clients throughout Long Island and New York City, including  Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens, as well as Westchester County, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island.  Call us at 800-344-6431.

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