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How is Stalking Defined in New York?

What Does the Law Say About Stalking in New York?

Stalking charges in New York can be confusing for the accused, especially because the actions that resulted from the charge could have frightened the victim. Besides, what may have frightened the victim can vary, making a stalking case more confusing for the accused.

All the same, stalking is a severe crime in New York, and it would help to hire a skilled Long Island criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges. A lawyer with in-depth knowledge of the legal justice system can help you navigate the complex issues around the process.

Classifications of Stalking in New York

Stalking is one of the crimes where repeat offenders face more significant and harsher penalties. The law classifies stalking into the following four categories. Regardless of your offense category, hiring a skilled Long Island domestic violence lawyer is crucial to help you beat the charges.

Stalking in the First Degree

Stalking in the first degree occurs if you cause physical injury to the victim while stalking them.

You’ll also face a first-degree charge if you commit:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Forcible touching
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree
  • A criminal sexual act in the second or third degree
  • Rape in the second or third degree
  • Female genital mutilation

The Penal Code § 120.60 classifies stalking in the first degree as a Class D felony, and the penalties are:

  • Incarceration of up to 7 years
  • Fines of up $5,000

Stalking in the Second Degree

Stalking in the second degree involves engaging in conduct that creates fear in the victim. The behavior makes the victim believe you will physically harm them, commit a sex crime, or kidnap them. Using a weapon in the second-degree stalking offense aggravates the charges.

You will also be charged with stalking in the second degree if you commit the offense within five years of being convicted of a predicate sex offense. Alternatively, you will face second-degree stalking charges if you commit the crime against at least ten people under different circumstances. The crime is a Class E Felony, and the penalties are:

  • 4 years incarceration
  • Fines of up to $5,000

Stalking in the Third Degree

Stalking in the third degree is a crime perpetrated against three or more victims under different circumstances. It entails impacting reasonable fear in the victim or causing severe bodily injury.

You’ll also face third-degree stalking charges if you commit the offense within ten years of a previous conviction of the following predicate crimes:

  • Rape in the second or third degree
  • Sexual misconduct
  • A criminal sexual act in the second degree
  • First-degree aggravated sexual abuse
  • Second and third-degree sexual abuse
  • First and third-degree incest

You also must have intended to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim or engaged in conduct that likely caused fear to the victim. The crime is a Class A misdemeanor in New York, and the penalties are:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines of up to $1,000

Stalking in the Fourth Degree

A fourth-degree staling charge entails intentionally engaging in conduct directed towards the victim and which:

  • Is likely to cause reasonable fear of bodily harm to the victim, their family, or property
  • Causes harm to the victim’s mental or emotional health by following, initiating contact, or telephoning the victim of their acquaintance despite being asked to stop
  • It is likely to cause fear that the victim might lose their job, business, or career because of your stalking behavior

Fourth-degree stalking is a Class B Misdemeanor, and the penalties can be hefty and are as follows:

  • 3 months of jail time
  • Up to $500

An aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Long Island can fight to protect your rights by having the charges reduced. Depending on the evidence brought against you, a skilled domestic violence attorney in Long Island can challenge the evidence in your defense.

What is the Difference Between Stalking and Harassment

Stalking and harassment make it an offense for anyone to interact with another person in ways that threaten their peace or annoy them. Both crimes entail the same conduct, but the offender’s intention is the primary difference.

If you follow someone or persistently call them to annoy, frighten, or harass them, you can be charged with harassment. However, if you follow someone or repeatedly try to communicate with them for another reason, for example, trying to get your ex back, the offense can be classified as stalking.

Penalties for Stalking vs. Harassment

Stalking attracts harsher penalties than harassment, and the seriousness of the offense changes based on the following:

  • The stalker’s detailed behavior
  • The number of victims affected by the conduct
  • Whether the stalker used a weapon

It’s in your best interest to talk to a skilled domestic violence lawyer in New York to evaluate your conduct and the charges against you. That will ensure you don’t face charges for a crime you didn’t commit and suffer harsh penalties that could ruin your life and future.

A Legal Professional Helping You Fight Against Stalking Charges

Stalking in New York takes many forms, and the repercussions are severe. The laws in New York can be complex and intimidating, and the penalties can inhibit your rights and freedom while marring your future. Your best bet at fighting the charges and having them dropped or reduced is to hire a skilled and aggressive domestic violence attorney in Long Island.

Our law firm has top-rated and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers who understand how the criminal system works. They can help you create a solid defense strategy to navigate and fight the charges. We have many years of experience defending clients against domestic violence charges and can help you. Book a case evaluation with us today.

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What Are the Laws Around “Ghost Guns” in New York?

In 2021, lawmakers in the State of New York passed several new laws that took effect in 2022. The laws aim at helping consumers and workers in the state while improving public safety and caring for the environment. Among the most significant laws are the “ghost gun laws.”

If you’re facing charges for being in possession or distributing ghost guns, you need to know how the laws affect you. Contact a skilled Long Island criminal justice attorney to understand your risks and options. They can help you create a strong defense strategy against the charges.

What Are Ghost Guns?

Ghost guns refer to privately made or homemade guns. The firearms lack a serial number and are, therefore, not traceable. The guns can’t be registered with any law enforcement agency without a serial number.

It’s against the law to create, possess, or sell ghost guns in the United States. Gunsmiths and dealers must register firearms in their possession. Gun violence is a public health and safety issue, and the government is committed to dealing with it aggressively. Your chances of fighting ghost gun charges are better with an aggressive weapons crimes defense lawyer in Long Island on your side.

What Measures are in New York State to Curb the Prevalence of Ghost Guns?

New York State officials have taken steps to crack down on the proliferation of illegal guns. Lawmakers passed a new law that criminalizes the sale of anonymous ghost guns. Advocates of the legislation said that illegal firearms end up in the hands of buyers with criminal records or those that would not pass a compulsory background check at the federal level.

Enactment of Laws Prohibiting Ghost Guns and Parts Without Serial Numbers

In 2021, the Governor signed the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act and The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act into law. The legislations provide that:

  • It is unlawful to sell, exchange, give, or dispose of an unfinished or complete frame or receiver that doesn’t have a serial number while having that knowledge 
  • It’s illegal to possess a firearm, frame, or receiver, complete or unfinished, with the knowledge that it’s not serialized. 
  • People who are legally disqualified from possessing a shotgun or rifle according to federal or state law are also prohibited from possessing a significant component of a firearm, which includes a frame, receiver, slide or cylinder, or firearm’s barrel

The law also prohibits the manufacturing, sale, exchange, disposing of, giving, transporting, shipping, or possessing with the intent to sell an undetectable firearm. The provision applies to guns that:

  • Can’t be detected by metal detectors after the removal of stocks, grips, and magazines 
  • Comprise of a barrel, cylinder or slide, frame, or receiver and which cannot be imaged by security screening devices like those used at airports 

What is the Impact of the Ghost Gun Laws?

The legislation package bans possessing and selling ghost guns or firearms that comprise components without serial numbers. Consequently, dealers and gunsmiths must serialize any firearms, receivers, or frames in their possession without serial numbers.

New Yorkers Required to Surrender Ghost Guns and Parts or Register Them

The law also requires anyone possessing receivers, frames, or firearms without serial numbers to surrender them to law enforcement agencies. Alternatively, they can acquire serial numbers for the guns and have them registered. However, there’s a need for clear guidelines on the exact process of serialization and registration.

It’s also crucial to note that if anyone can’t pass a background check to get a gun, they shouldn’t be able to get a gun. This provision in the law serves to seal a dangerous loophole that has existed in the past. Consult a weapon crimes defense attorney in Long Island to help you understand how this statute applies to you and what you can do about it.

What Are the Penalties for Violating Ghost Gun Laws

If caught with a ghost gun without a license at home or a place of business, you could face charges for a class E felony. A conviction could result in a penalty of up to 4 years in prison. Other penalties are as follows:

  • Class C or violent felony: Possessing a loaded unlicensed handgun outside your home or business attracts a minimum sentence of 3½ years in state prison. The maximum is 15 years. It’s also a Class C felony to possess five or more firearms 
  • Class D felony: Possessing three or more firearms 

What Should I Do If Arrested for Being in Possession of a Ghost Gun?

Being arrested and charged with having a ghost gun can have serious and life-changing consequences. Once arrested, remaining calm and complying with instructions from the police is crucial. Most importantly, remember to exercise the right to remain silent, as anything you say could be used against you.

As soon as you can after the arrest, contact a Long Island criminal justice lawyer. The attorney will evaluate your case and help you understand the risks you face. They can provide legal representation to aggressively fight the charges and advise you on how to approach the issue.

Learn Your Legal Options Today with a Skilled Defense Team

With the new ghost gun laws in place, the last thing you want to do is be found on the wrong side of the law. An arrest for violating the legislation can attract hefty penalties, take away your freedom, and ruin your future. Your best chance at fighting the charges to have them reduced or dropped is to work with a skilled and aggressive Long Island weapon crimes defense attorney.

Our law firm hosts skilled and passionate lawyers who work hard to dismantle the prosecutor’s case. We can evaluate the charges against you and create a strong defense strategy by punching holes in the evidence brought against you. With us by your side, an arrest doesn’t have to lead to a conviction. Call us for skilled legal defense in Long Island.

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How Did New York’s Bail Laws Change in 2022?

In 2019, lawmakers in New York passed legislation eliminating the use of cash bail for non-violent felony charges and most misdemeanors. The move was in respect of the recognition that a person’s liberty should not be pegged on their wealth.

The State changed the laws once again in 2020 and has done again in 2022. How do the new bail laws affect you if you have been charged with a crime? A Long Island criminal justice attorney explains how New York changed its bail laws again.

How Do Defendants Pay Bail?

Cash bail is the amount of money an accused defendant pays to be released from custody as they await trial. It’s a deterrent that prevents the accused from running away and failing to show up at the pretrial and the trial itself. The bail money is refundable once the proceeding is complete and the accused is found innocent of the charges.

Defendants can pay bail in one of two ways:

  • Cash bail, where the total amount set by the judge is payable to the court
  • Commercial bonds where people associated with the defendant pay a profit-making bail bond firm a non-refundable fraction of the bail amount, and the company pays the total amount to the court

If a person can’t raise the bail amount through any of these methods, they must remain in jail until the end of their trial. You need a Long Island criminal defense attorney to represent you during your criminal case trial. They can negotiate a fair bail amount for you to secure your freedom.

What Was the Bail Reform of 2020?

The State passed sweeping bail reforms in 2020 and also made some updates to bail laws. Most of the reforms brought to an end cash bail provision for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. Many people faced with such charges were released.

For those facing charges for crimes with a possibility of getting bail, judges would release them with the least restraining circumstances imposed to ensure they return to court. When setting bail, judges would consider the individual’s ability to pay. The reforms extended bail options to include a partially secured bond option in addition to cash bail or bond.

Even with bail as an option, judges still need to use other means to ensure the accused returns to court. For example, they could retain their passport or impose electronic monitoring.

What Are the Bail Changes in 2022?

The new law allows judges to set bail for violent felony cases. The defendant must pay an assessed bail or face detention. In non-violent felony or misdemeanor cases, judges can release people on their recognizance or determine other conditions to ensure the accused returns to court, for example imposing travel restrictions or pretrial supervision.

The law requires judges to prioritize the conditions that will ensure a person returns to court and not consider a defendant’s subjective view of their being dangerous when deciding the release conditions. In other words, courts must preserve the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty. The attempt is to reduce racial bias against defendants.

Bail Eligibility

Judges retain the discretion to set bail in some high-risk cases. For example, defendants who have previously been released and re-arrested for another offense may get bail if both charges are felonies or Class A misdemeanors involving harm to a person or property.

Defendants may also be eligible for bail if they’re charged with a felony while on probation. Consult your bail and bonds attorney in Long Island to determine if you’re eligible for bail depending on the case circumstances.

What Has Been the Impact of New York’s bail Reform Laws?

Many factors come into play when determining the impact of the cash bail reform in New York. Some questions that arise are the following:

  • The number of people who remain jailed before a trial
  • The number of people who successfully return to court for the trial
  • The number of people re-arrested while awaiting trial

Getting enough data is tough, and implementing new policies may take a long time. However, a noticeable change is that the population in state jails has been significantly declining since the cash bail reforms took effect.

Impact on Racial Justice

The assumption that everyone is innocent until proven guilty benefits everyone in society. However, an attempt to roll back bail reforms will disproportionately impact Black people and other people of color. For example, White New Yorkers are twice as likely to be released on bail as Black New Yorkers.

Black people in New York are twice as likely as White people in New York to spend a night in jail and face collateral consequences. These include loss of housing, employment, and childcare after bail was set. A skilled Long Island bail and bonds attorney can help you fight for equal rights in your bail determination.

What is the Connection Between Bail and Crime?

The argument for cash bail reforms was based on increased crime rates over the last two years. The State has recorded an uptick in homicides and shootings since 2020, and within the same period, violent crimes have also increased across states that didn’t change their state bail laws.

In other words, the bail reform may not have contributed to increased crime rates. Those released did not get re-arrested; for those who did, it was for a non-violent crime.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Fighting to Protect Your Freedom

If you’re facing criminal charges, you deserve to get bail and not be jailed during the trial. You have the right to freedom depending on what the law stipulates on bail for various charges. If you feel like you or your loved one are unfairly being denied bail, consult a Long Island criminal justice lawyer to fight for your rights and freedom.

We have years of experience in criminal defense cases and can help you build a solid defense to avoid a conviction. We can fight to get you a bail amount you can afford so that you can have your freedom during trial. We know that your future is on the line, and we will work to protect your freedom. Contact us for a FREE case assessment.

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What Are Some Penalties for Sexual Assault?

One of the most atrocious types of assault in New York is sexual assault. Most people think of rape when they hear sexual assault, but there are many different forms of it. A good number of acts of sexual assault are considered felonies, which are punished severely.

Convicts spend years and years in prison and have to deal with many other consequences. A Long Island criminal justice attorney can acquaint you with what is at stake if you are convicted and help you find the best way out before it happens.

What are the Elements of Sexual Assault Crime in New York?

It is easier to figure out what is at stake once you understand the legal definition of sexual assault in New York. The prosecution needs to bring forth evidence showing that your actions met the required elements of the crime before you are penalized. It includes:

  • Subjecting another person to sexual contact
  • Touching the sexual and other intimate parts of another person
  • Touching directly or through clothing
  • The purpose was to fulfill a gratifying sexual desire
  • Forcible touching
  • Persistent sexual abuse
  • Inserting a foreign object into their sexual parts
  • Inserting foreign objects capable of causing physical injuries

You might be punished differently depending on the degree of those actions. Some acts are considered graver than others, but the burden of proof lies with your accuser and the prosecution.

How is Sexual Abuse Classified in New York?

The prosecution draws guidance on how to charge suspects from the New York Sexual Assault Statute. Sections 130.52 -1330.70 categorizes various acts into first, second, and third-degree sexual offenses.

Third-Degree Sexual Assault

Subjecting someone to any form of sexual contact without consent is an offense in the third degree. The charge would remain at that if there were no elevating factors regarding the victim’s age and other circumstances.

Second-Degree Sexual Assault

Subjecting a person to sexual contact when they are incapable of consenting is a second-degree sexual offense. A person 14 years and below is not legally able to give consent for sexual acts or activities.

First-Degree Sexual Assault

The sexual assault case could get more serious if the sexual contact happens in the following circumstances:

  • Through threats of kidnapping, physical injury, or death
  • Through the use of physical force
  • A victim aged less than 11 years
  • A defendant 21 years or older and a victim aged less than 13 years old
  • A victim unable to consent for being physically helpless

What Other Charges Fall Under Sexual Assault?

Apart from sexual abuse, sexual assault can come in several other forms. The terms used can be confusing, but a sexual assault defense attorney in Long Island can explain things to you. You might have been charged with:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Rape
  • Using a controlled substance in a sex offense – Class D Felony
  • A course of sexual conduct (sexual intercourse, oral, anal, or aggravated sexual conduct) against a child in the first degree – Class B Felony
  • A course of sexual conduct against a minor under 11 years two or more times in the last three months/ you are above 18 years, and the child is under 13 years – Class D felony.
  • First-degree sexual abuse – Class B violent felony
  • Second-degree sexual abuse and persistent sexual abuse – Class E violent felony
  • Third-degree sexual abuse – Class B misdemeanor
  • Forcible touching – Class A Misdemeanor

How are Sexual Assault Offenders Punished in New York?

While sexual assault is broken down into different names, it is primarily classified either as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you are charged and successfully convicted of any form of sexual assault, you are likely to be punished through:

  • Several years in prison
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Restitution of up to $15,000 or more to cover the victim’s medical expenses
  • The requirement to register as a sex offender for at least 20 years or for life
  • Wage garnishment
  • A judgment against you by the state of New York

A seasoned criminal defense attorney can tell you what to expect and equip you with ways of fighting a conviction.

What Does the Judge Consider While Sentencing Sexual Assault Offenders?

Generally, felony offenders are punished more severely than those convicted with misdemeanors. The judge can give you the highest possible or the least possible penalty after looking at the following factors:

  • If you are a persistent felony offender with two or more prior convictions
  • If you have had a violent felony conviction in the last ten years
  • If you have had a non-violent felony conviction in the past ten years
  • If you have had any felony convictions in the last ten years

Basically, your criminal history is a significant determinant in sexual assault sentencing. A favorable criminal record can make it easier for your Long Island sexual assault defense attorney to negotiate for probation instead of prison.

Can I Solve Deal with the Charges on My Own, or Do I Need an Attorney?

Sexual assault cases come with very long prison terms and other life-long consequences. And being a complex case, accused persons might need a lawyer to represent them. An experienced Long Island sexual assault defense attorney can seek to reduce or eliminate your criminal charges.

Most lawyers won’t charge any fees for the first consultation where they evaluate your case and give an overview of the possibilities. They will look at the charges against you and compare them with your narration of the incident. After that, they will use their legal knowledge to advise you on the best approach to a defense or negotiations.

An Attorney Providing Experienced Representation in New York

The laws on sexual assault are very harsh because of the nature of this crime. Additionally, a conviction of this nature can taint your reputation among your family members and your peers.

But all this is avoidable if a legal expert fights for you in the corridors of justice. They can explore the most strategic defenses and give your case better outcomes. The Mirsky Law Firm lawyers have been doing this for years. Speak to us today to get expert legal advice.

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How Can I Help My Child Facing a Juvenile Crime on Long Island?

If your child is under 16 years old and is arrested in Long Island and alleged to have committed a crime, he or she will usually be charged with committing a “delinquent act” and may be charged as a “juvenile delinquent” in Family Court.

Although there are important legal implications of being identified as a legal juvenile that your Long Island juvenile defense attorney will explain, as a person over seven and less than sixteen years of age may commit a crime, due to their age they may not be criminally responsible by reason of infancy.

The first, and possibly most important thing you can do for your child is to understand the difference between these two outcomes: Whether they are being adjudicated a “juvenile offender” or convicted of a crime as an adult. This is extremely significant.

A “juvenile offender” is usually defined as being a person thirteen to fifteen years old who is criminally responsible for acts constituting certain very serious felonies. While a juvenile offender adjudication will not give the child a criminal record (this is the critical point), it does allow a prosecutor to treat a serious case against a child in essentially the same way as an adult charged with the same offense.

How and where your child’s case is handled, and how the child is treated depends on several factors including the child’s age, intent, and past criminal record. Children who are accused of committing crimes usually fall into three categories: Juvenile Delinquent, Juvenile Offender, and Adolescent Offender.

Due to the vague nature of these charges, and their complexity the best way for you to help them is to consult with a Long Island juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible. Making sure your child’s case is handled correctly starts there, and how they are charged, and in what court can make all the difference.

What Are the Three Categories That My Accused Child Can Fall Into?

Your child, who is accused of committing a crime, can fall into one of three categories, they are:

Juvenile Delinquent – A Juvenile Delinquent is a child over 7, but under 18 years of age, who commits an act that would be a crime if it had been committed by an adult. Juvenile offenders, who are 13, 14, and 15 years of age, are not considered Juvenile Delinquents. Juvenile Delinquents are handled in Family Court. Juvenile Delinquents do not go to adult jails. Instead, the court decides where they need to be placed. Juvenile Delinquents do not have criminal records. Most cases fall under Family Court proceedings and are confidential and in some instances, the cases can be sealed.

Juvenile Offender – A child who is 13, 14, or 15-years-old and charged with committing a serious or violent felony offense is considered a Juvenile Offender. These cases are heard in the Youth Part of the Supreme or County Court. Juvenile Offenders who are convicted are usually subject to less severe sentences than adults. Juvenile Offenders who are convicted will have a permanent criminal record unless the Court grants Youth Offender status.

Adolescent Offender – Your 16 or 17-year-old who commits a felony is considered an adolescent offender. This means that the case is originally heard in the Youth Part of the Supreme or County Court. However, the case may be transferred to the Family Court, where the youth will be considered a juvenile delinquent and will be eligible to receive all the services and programs available to all juvenile delinquents.

How, and where your child is charged and will appear is vital to how they will be treated and possibly sentenced. These laws change all the time, and your juvenile defense lawyer will be invaluable in getting your child placed where the consequences may be the least severe. Consult with your juvenile defense lawyer immediately and get ahead of your child’s case. as this is an area where you and your experienced juvenile defense lawyer can be of dynamic help to your child’s future.

What is the Age Of “Criminal Responsibility” in New York?

New York’s justice system has tried to improve the way it treats younger people in the courts. Legislation has been introduced to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years of age. Before that New York was previously one of only two states that automatically prosecuted 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. This, of course, still may depend on the crime itself and if violence were involved. It still can be a vague legal area though, and only by having a professional juvenile defense lawyer, can you protect your child and have the best chance of a good outcome.

For example, if your child is convicted for a very serious offense, this could mean that your 13-year-old in New York City, Long Island, and throughout New York State can potentially be given a life sentence.

How Does Juvenile Offending differ from Adult Offending?

It is a widely accepted truth that crime is committed disproportionately by young people. Persons aged 15 to 19 years are more likely to be processed by police for the commission of a crime than are members of any other population group.

However, this does not necessarily mean that juveniles are responsible for most of the recorded crimes. On the contrary, police data indicate that juveniles comprise a minority of all offenders who encounter the police. This is primarily because offending “peaks” in late adolescence when young people are aged 18 to 19 years old and are no longer legally defined as juveniles.

For several reasons, juveniles are more likely than adults to come to the attention of police, such as:

  • They are less experienced at committing offenses.
  • They usually commit offenses in groups.
  • They commit offenses in public areas such as on public transport, malls, etc.
  • They usually commit offenses close to where they live.

It is exceptionally important to note, and even more, the reason to not let this situation get out of control legally. Act immediately and consult with a Long Island defense lawyer that will work for you and your child’s best interests.

My Child is Facing Juvenile Court on Long Island, What Should I Do First?

With all the vagaries in the Long Island juvenile justice system, the best way to help is to not let this situation get out of hand. Nothing is more important than your child, and their future. The Mirsky Law Firm has regularly, routinely, and successfully helped juvenile’s overt serious consequences with the best legal representation possible. Consult with them first, and get the help you, and your child needs.

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How Have Marijuana Laws Changed in New York?

For years, New York has tried to legalize marijuana in vain. However, on March 31, 2021, the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) became law. It legalizes the adult use of cannabis in the state, and a new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was created through the legislation. The office comprehensively regulates adult use, medical, and hemp cannabis.

However, some cannabis-use offenses could get you arrested despite the legalization laws. A Long Island criminal justice attorney explains what this legalization means and what to expect with the new law.

What Are the New York State Cannabis Laws?

Under state laws, it’s no longer a criminal offense to smoke cannabis. It’s also legal to possess limited amounts of marijuana. Article 221, which previously made the possession, use, and sale of marijuana illegal, is no longer effective. In its place is the NYS Penal Law Article 222.

Cannabis Adult Use Regulations

The law allows adults 21 years and older to:

  • Possess a maximum of three ounces of marijuana and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use
  • Smoke or vape marijuana where tobacco smoking is allowed, depending on the laws and rules private establishments like hotels and residences or businesses have made. 
  • Purchase cannabis products at only licensed retailers 
  • Grow three cannabis plants at home, and a maximum of six plants in a house with more than one adult 
  • Store up to five pounds of cannabis at home 

Limitations to Cannabis Adult Use

Adults may not:

  • Smoke or vape tobacco or cannabis in public spaces like beaches, parks, boardwalks, pedestrian plazas, and playgrounds 
  • Smoke or vape anywhere smoking is prohibited 
  • Possess or sell more than the amount allowed by law 
  • Drive while under impairment after using marijuana 
  • Smoke marijuana in workplaces, cars, or schools

However, a law enforcement officer isn’t allowed to use the smell of cannabis in public spaces to stop and search a pedestrian. If you’re arrested and charged for the above, it would be in your best interest to contact a Long Island drug possession attorney. A skilled can create a strong defense to protect you from hefty fines and consequences. 

What Are the Penalties for Smoking Marijuana in Public in New York?

The new cannabis laws in New York prohibit a person who smokes cannabis in a public place where it’s not permitted from facing civil penalties. However, they can get the following:

  • A fine of up to $25 
  • 20 hours of community service under a court order 

Having a criminal defense attorney in Long Island represent you during your trial can be in your best interest. They can create a solid defense to have the charges reduced or dropped. 

Can I Expunge My Previous Cannabis Criminal Record?

Under the new cannabis laws in New York, some marijuana possession records can be automatically expunged. The new regulations have expanded the list of cannabis crimes eligible for expungement, but some may require a motion of application for submission to the court. 

Once a previous cannabis conviction record has been expunged, your arrest, the trial, and the sentencing will become a thing of the past, like they never happened. Charges that have successfully been expunged:

  • Won’t appear in your criminal history background check 
  • Can’t be used against you when you apply for a student loan, housing, or employment 
  • Won’t be available to law enforcers unless when making an application for a gun license or a law enforcement job 
  • Won’t be listed on a school or job application that asks about your previous arrests or convictions 

Automatic Expunctions

Certain marijuana convictions and related offenses are now eligible for automatic expungement. That means you don’t need to file a motion or pay any fees for the process. They include:

  • Unlawful possession of Marihuana in the First and Second Degree 
  • Criminal possession of cannabis in the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Degree 
  • Unlawful cannabis sale 
  • Unlawful possession of marihuana 
  • Personal cultivation and home possession of marihuana
  • Criminal sale of marijuana in the Fifth Degree 

If your cannabis convictions were only related to concentrated cannabis, then these offenses can be automatically expunged:

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the Fifth and Seventh Degree
  • Loitering in the First Degree 

However, the court won’t send notices about expunged cases, but this information will be available at the District Attorney’s office, Division of Criminal Justice Services, and other law enforcement agencies. Your Long Island drug possession attorney can guide you on how to check if your conviction was expunged. 

What About Medical Cannabis in New York?

The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), on January 24, 2022, approved an expansion of the medical cannabis program. The move would allow doctors to use medical cannabis in treating various conditions. Before the program’s implementation, doctors could only use medical marijuana for a limited number of medical conditions as allowed by statute. 

The move by OCM was part of the agency’s certification and registration system. The Cannabis Control Board made regulations to allow medical cannabis users to grow up to six plants for personal use. These changes were made possible by the new cannabis legalization law. 

However, only certified patients and caregivers registered with the OCM can grow medical cannabis securely within a private location. They also must not sell the cannabis they grow. The provision would help medical cannabis users have access to affordable medicine. 

An Experienced Drug Defense Attorney Representing You in Your Drug Crime Case

New York has new cannabis laws protecting cannabis users more than the previous law. Much of what was illegal in the past is now legal, and violations under the new law cannot earn your civil penalties. If you had been convicted of a cannabis-related crime under the previous cannabis laws, a marijuana crimes defense lawyer could help you check if you’re eligible for expungement. 

Our law firm has skilled and dedicated criminal defense attorneys who can help you in your case. We lend our clients a compassionate ear and allow them to tell their side of the story to help them create the best defense strategy. Our ultimate goal is to help them have their charges dismissed to protect their freedom and future. Talk to us today. 

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What Defines “Reckless Driving”?

The police may charge you with reckless driving if they think you’re putting your safety and other road users at risk. Reckless driving is a leading cause of accidents in the country and a serious traffic offense. A driver can be issued with a ticket even if there’s no wreck.

If you’ve been charged with reckless driving, you can contact a Long Island criminal justice attorney to help you fight the charges. They can investigate the case, create a strong defense, and provide legal representation for you in court.

What Are Some Examples of Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is using a vehicle or driving unreasonably while interfering with the proper and free use of roads. The act endangers the life of the driver and others on the road. While this is a broad definition, here are specific examples of reckless driving:

Driving Under the Influence or While Intoxicated

According to the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192.3, drunk driving is one of the most severe forms of reckless driving. When charged with drunk driving, a Long Island reckless driving defense lawyer may attempt to reduce the charges to reckless driving.

However, the plea will still earn you a criminal conviction. Moreover, you may also be faced with reckless driving and driving while intoxicated charges.


Speeding is one of the most common reasons drivers earn a traffic ticket in the United States. A driver can get ticketed for violating laws restricting the speed at which vehicles travel.

Generally, three types of laws related to speed restrictions exist:

  • Drivers should drive at a speed that is reasonable under the circumstance
  • Local governments and related regulatory authorities must establish maximum speed limits
  • Specific maximum speed limits must exist for particular settings

Regardless of the speed limits defined by the law, any person who drives recklessly or at a speed that endangers the life or property of another person shall be guilty of reckless driving.

Other Forms of Reckless Driving

These traffic violations also amount to reckless driving

  • Driving a vehicle without headlights at night
  • Driving a car that isn’t under control, for example, one that has faulty breaks
  • Passing on or at the crest of a grade or on a curve
  • Driving while the view is obstructed
  • Driving abreast in a single lane
  • Passing at a railroad-grade crossing
  • Parking in a fire lane
  • Turning into the wrong lane
  • Running a stop sign or red light
  • Not giving proper signals on the road

When charged with the offense and taken to court, you need the help of a criminal justice lawyer in Long Island to defend you. They can argue your case to minimize the penalties for reckless driving. They can also provide legal counsel to ensure you’re aware of the risks and options while updating you on the case’s progress.

How Does the Prosecution Prove Reckless Driving in New York?

The burden of proof lies with the prosecutor to show that you’re guilty of the offense of reckless driving. Their task depends on the part of the statute of reckless driving you’ve been charged under.

For example, if you were charged with driving in a way that endangered the life or the property of others, the prosecution may use the record of the arresting officer and other witnesses to get you a conviction. The statements you made to the arresting officer and testimony regarding your misdemeanor at the time of the arrest can be used as evidence.

Regardless of your type of reckless driving, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of the offense. If the evidence the prosecution presents leaves room for interpretation, the jury might reduce or drop the charge. That would be based on the prosecution’s inability to fulfill its obligation to meet the required burden of proof.

What Are the Penalties for Reckless Driving in New York?

Reckless driving comes with severe consequences, which vary from state to state. In New York, the penalties can include the following:

  • Fines: The fines for reckless driving increase with each subsequent offense. The first offense attracts a minimum fine of $100, while a third offense attracts a maximum fine of $1,125. 
  • Potential license suspension: One reckless driving charge and two red light tickets earn you 11 points; beyond that, you will suffer a license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles. 
  • Jail time: Reckless driving, more than other traffic offenses, is likely to include jail time. A first-time offense can earn you up to 30 days in jail, while a third offense can potentially see you spend up to six months in jail. 
  • Criminal record: Reckless driving can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It leaves you with a criminal record for the rest of your life. With a criminal record, it becomes hard to get into college, get a job, or access housing. 
  • Higher insurance premiums: When the offense is reported to your insurance company, you may have to pay higher vehicle insurance premiums. The increase can be as high as 76%. 

These penalties can be tough on you, but a New York reckless driving defense lawyer can fight for you and defend your rights, future, and freedom. 

What Are the Possible Defenses for Reckless Driving in NY?

You only earn a conviction for reckless driving if the prosecutor can prove that you were reckless about the consequences of your actions while operating a vehicle. In most cases, the requirement is higher than simply proving your negligence. For example, not stopping at a stop sign may not pass as negligence, but running a red light and speeding may be.

A reckless driving defense lawyer in Mineola, NY, can aggressively fight to show that your actions were not reckless. Then, you’d have a valid defense against the charge.

Legal Guidance from a Skilled Defense Attorney in New York

Reckless driving is a criminal offense that attracts hefty fines and, potentially, jail time. It’s in your best interest to engage an experienced reckless driving attorney in New York to build a solid defense and protect your rights.

Our law firm is ready to help you. While we can do our best to change the course of your life, you need to act fast so we can start a case assessment. Contact us today to schedule a FREE consultation with our team.

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Can You Be Charged With Indecent Exposure on Your Own Property?

It may not be the world’s most serious crime, but if you are accused of indecent exposure, it can be genuinely embarrassing and shameful. You will need to be advised and represented by a Long Island criminal defense lawyer, and you will need to contact that lawyer as quickly as possible.

An indecent exposure charge can apply when someone is accused of “flashing,” urinating, or masturbating in public or when people engage in sexual behavior in a public setting. But in New York, can you be charged with indecent exposure for your behavior on your own property?

If you will keep reading this brief discussion of New York’s indecent exposure laws and your rights, you will learn the answers you may need, and you will also learn how a Long Island indecent exposure attorney can help if you are charged with indecent exposure.

What New York Laws Address Indecent Exposure?

Under New York state law, three different charges address indecent exposure:

  1.  Exposure of a person (Penal Law Section 245.01)
  2.  Public lewdness (Penal Law Section 245.00)
  3.  Public lewdness in the first degree (Penal Law Section 245.03)

The most common reason why people are arrested for indecent exposure is answering the call of nature after too many drinks. A person may be guilty of indecent exposure if he or she can be seen publicly in a way that the person’s “private or intimate parts” are exposed.

The law doesn’t define intimate or private parts, with this exception: For women, intimate or private parts include the “portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola.” The law doesn’t apply to breastfeeding an infant or to plays, exhibitions, shows, or other entertainments.

How Are Indecent Exposure Charges Handled?

Exposure is a “violation” rather than a misdemeanor or felony in New York. This means the charge cannot lead to a criminal conviction or create a criminal record. Violations are penalized with a brief jail sentence or a fine, and in many cases, offenders are sentenced to time served.

That is the state law, although local jurisdictions in New York have the discretion to adopt and enforce stricter indecent exposure laws.

What is the Definition of Public Lewdness?

How is public lewdness defined? Public lewdness in New York happens in these three situations:

  1.  When someone exposes the intimate or private parts of his or her body in a lewd manner, or commits another lewd act, intentionally and in public.
  2.  When someone exposes the intimate or private parts of his or her body in a lewd manner, or commits another lewd act, on private premises but intentionally and in a way that the person may be seen from a public location or another private location.
  3.  When someone exposes the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner while trespassing, or commits another lewd act while trespassing, and that person may be observed by the property owner, a tenant, or anyone else who is lawfully on the property.

How Do Public Lewdness Laws Define “Public” Places?

No definition of the phrase “public place” is found in the text of New York’s public lewdness laws, but the courts in this state have determined that “public places,” for the purposes of New York’s public lewdness laws, include but are not limited to:

  1.  arenas, theaters, and stadiums
  2.  bars and nightclubs
  3.  parks
  4.  public restrooms
  5.  schools
  6.  the interior of a person’s vehicle

What if You Were in Your Home?

In New York, any exposure or lewdness in a public place may constitute a violation of the law, but the question “Can you be charged with exposure or public lewdness on your own property?” is more complicated than you may think and can only be answered on a case-by-case basis.

Charges for exposure or lewdness depend on where the “perpetrator” is and the intent of his or her behavior or nudity. Generally speaking, even in our homes, everyone is obligated to refrain from exposure or lewd behavior that may easily be seen from outdoors or from the street.

Intentional exposure or lewd behavior, even in your own home or on your own property, is unlawful if your intention is to be seen by and to shock or offend neighbors or strangers. If others can easily see you exposed or behaving lewdly, you may be charged.

Public lewdness in New York is usually charged as a Class B misdemeanor that may be penalized upon conviction with jail or probation. In some public lewdness cases, the court may also order the offender to attend counseling, receive treatment, or perform community service.

What is First-Degree Public Lewdness?

Public lewdness in the first degree is the charge when the perpetrator of the public lewdness is age nineteen or older and intends to be seen by a person who is under sixteen years old.

Public lewdness in the first degree is a Class A misdemeanor that may be penalized upon conviction with jail or probation. Again, in some cases, the court may also require counseling, treatment, or community service.

A conviction for exposure, public lewdness, or first-degree public lewdness does not require registration as a sex offender under New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act.

How Can You Fight Exposure or Lewdness Charges?

In public lewdness and indecent exposure cases, sometimes mental illness or intoxication may be offered as a defense or offered as a mitigating circumstance. In many cases, an offender with no previous convictions may be sent for treatment or ordered to perform community service.

If you are charged with exposure or public lewdness and you are innocent, make your innocence clear from the start to your Long Island indecent exposure attorney. Your lawyer will fight for your acquittal and will ensure that your case is brought to its best possible outcome.

If you have been charged with public lewdness or indecent exposure on Long Island or in New York City, put a Long Island criminal defense lawyer to work for you as quickly as possible after you’ve been charged with one of these crimes.

After reviewing the charge, your lawyer will explain how the law applies in your own case, outline your options, and develop the most effective possible defense strategy on your behalf. If you are charged with any of these crimes, seek a defense attorney’s advice and services at once.

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What Is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in New York?

DUI and DWI are used interchangeably in New York outside the courtrooms and everyday language. However, New York laws distinguish the various types of DUI-related charges. These include DUI, DWI, and DWAI.

Knowing the differences and the penalties they attract can better equip you to defend yourself in court. A Long Island criminal lawyer can help you understand the differences and the risks you face if facing a DUI or DWI charge.

What is Drunk Driving in New York?

Driving under the influence is one of the most common causes of auto accidents in New York. According to statistics from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there’s an annual average of:

  • 4,288 non-fatal injuries
  • 8,384 collisions
  • 322 fatalities related to drunk driving

If you receive a DUI or DWI conviction in New York, you risk getting harsh penalties. A criminal lawyer in Long Island can help you create a strong defense to protect your right, freedom, and future.

How Are DUI and DWI Different in New York?

Despite the interchangeable use of DUI and DWI in New York, the two have distinct differences.

What is DWI

DWI refers to driving while intoxicated. It mostly relates to cases of people who drive while legally intoxicated or drunk with alcohol. The driver’s breath alcohol content (BAC) must be at least 0.08%. That’s the legal limit in New York for driving while intoxicated.

What is DUI

DUI stands for driving under the influence and broadly encompasses intoxication by other substances and alcohol. Any mind-altering substance like heroin, marijuana, and some prescription drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone fall under this category.

DWI can be classified as a form of DUI, hence the interchangeable use of the two terms. New York laws consider DUI an umbrella term that includes different types of impaired driving.

You can get any type of DUI without driving your vehicle. For example, if you turn on your car’s engine while under the influence without the intention of diving, you can be liable for DUI. A Long Island DWI and DUI defense lawyer provides legal representation and presents a strong defense to prevent your case from going this way.

What is DWAI

Another type of impaired driving worth mentioning is DWAI. DWAI refers to driving while ability impaired and applies to cases where the driver’s BAC is less than the legal limit of 0.08%. However, the driver is still found to be impaired by substances like drugs or alcohol to any extent.

DWAI charges are often less severe than DWI charges unless the driver used a combination of drugs and alcohol, causing severe impairment. The offense becomes worse if the driver causes an accident, injuring or killing someone. Any damages to a property due to the driver’s impairment also contribute to harsher penalties.

What Are the Penalties for DUI and DWI Charges in New York?

New York imposes various penalties for people with DUI and DWI cases based on how severe the crime is and the frequency of crime commission.

Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated

DUI penalties in New York for driving while intoxicated are as follows:

  • First violation: An automatic fine of between $500 and $1,000, license revocation for at least six months, and no jail time necessary
  • Second violation: Five days in jail or 30 days of community service if the first DWI happened within the past five years.
  • Third violation: 10 days in jail o 60 days of community service if the two previous violations happened within the last five years.

Penalties for DWAI Charges

A DWAI charge is typically less severe than a DWI or DUI. If convicted of a DWAI for the first time, the possible penalties include:

  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Probation of up to three years
  • Jail time of up to one years
  • Automatic revocation of your driver’s license for at least six months

The penalties can increase with subsequent violations, up to being charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. A DWI and DUI defense lawyer in Long Island can come to your defense to have the charge reduced or dropped altogether.

How Long Does a DUI or DWI Stay on Your Insurance Record?

A DUI conviction in New York can affect your insurance for up to 10 years. That depends on how far back the insurance company checks your driver’s motor vehicle record. Most car insurers will check your record for the past 3-5 years when calculating your premiums. Others can move further back to check for major violations.

Can You Seal a DUI or DWI Record in New York?

A DUI or DWI conviction can have severe adverse consequences that make them worse than some other felonies or misdemeanors. You risk jail time, fines, and having your license revoked. The costs to retrieve your vehicle from police impound, get your license back, pay court charges, and obtain SR-22 insurance make the conviction more expensive than other crimes in the same category.

Fortunately, you can have your DWI or DUI record in New York sealed. The law allows you to apply to have one felony and one misdemeanor or up to two misdemeanors sealed. The offenses must be at least ten years old and meet other recording sealing requirements as stipulated by the law. Talk to a DWI and DUI defense lawyer in Long Island to help you get a second chance by sealing your DWI or DUI conviction record.

A Professional Defense Lawyer Helping You Understand Your Rights

A DUI or DWI record can adversely affect your life, affecting your chances at employment and diminishing your reputation. Luckily, a DWI and DUI defense lawyer in Long Island can help you understand the risk you face in each charge and the available legal options.

Our Long Island criminal defense firm is ready to help you with the process. Depending on the circumstances of the case, we can help you get lesser penalties or have the charges dropped. We want to help protect your rights and future. Contact us today to schedule a FREE case evaluation.

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What is the Difference Between Record Sealing & Expungement?

When someone is convicted of a crime, they can be left with the shadow of a criminal record looming over them. A criminal record can make the everyday life of a person difficult. It depicts the person as dangerous, sneaky, untrustworthy, reckless, and careless.

Luckily, you can take advantage of record sealing and expungement in New York to help you hide your criminal record. A Long Island criminal lawyer with experience in record sealing and expungement can prevent a credit agency, prospective employer, government official, or landlord from seeing your criminal record when doing background checks on you.

Record sealing and expungement are different processes but available in many states in the U.S. If you want a fresh start, learn more about the two processes and seek answers to any of your questions.

How Is Record Sealing Different from Expungement?

The difference between record sealing and expungement is mainly technical, but the two are basically the same. When a record is sealed, the criminal record still exists but cannot be accessed by individuals. Only certain government agencies like law enforcement and courts can see the record.

In an expungement, however, the records are entirely eliminated as if the crime never happened. In New York State, you can only get your criminal record sealed. Expungements are not offered in the state.

Do I Qualify for Criminal Record Sealing?

Not anyone can have their records sealed in New York. A person must first be eligible to apply for sealing. In addition, being eligible for sealing doesn’t mean you will automatically succeed in sealing your records. It just means that the judge will consider your application.

With the help of a Long Island sealing attorney, you can determine whether you are eligible to apply for record sealing or not. However, the criteria are listed below:

  • Absence of current or pending criminal charges
  • 10 years have passed since your sentence or release from prison
  • You have not exhausted the maximum number of convictions you can seal in New York
  • You don’t have more than two convictions on your record
  • You don’t have recent criminal convictions

What Type of Cases Can Be Automatically Sealed in Long Island, NY?

If a case is concluded in favor of the defendant, it may be sealed without further steps from them. A case is concluded in favor of the defendant if:

  • The defendant was acquitted
  • The case was dismissed
  • The prosecutor declined to prosecute
  • Conviction was vacated

For children and youthful defendants, their records may be sealed automatically. Certain traffic violations and infractions may also be sealed.

What Type of Cases Can Be Sealed in Long Island, NY?

You can seal only 2 convictions in New York, with only 1 being a felony. All misdemeanors are eligible for sealing except where one is required to register as a sex offender.

Others include:

  • Non-criminal violations, e.g., Trespassing
  • Charge with no conviction
  • Drug possession of less than 7/8 of an ounce of marijuana, three years after being convicted
  • Certain felonies where no additional pending charges exist and have satisfied any court-mandated program

Anyone in Long Island who wants to have their record sealed must seek the help of a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help file a motion in court on their behalf and petition to seal their records. Because this is not easy, you need a qualified Long Island record-sealing attorney who understands the process.

What Type of Crimes Cannot Be Sealed in NY?

Some crimes are viewed as having substantial risk to the public and therefore don’t qualify for sealing. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Most sex offenses
  • Class A felonies, which are the most serious crimes in New York
  • Certain offenses categorized as “violent crimes
  • Certain felonies defined in the statute

Offenses like simple assault, drug possession, vandalism, theft, and public intoxication are all eligible for sealing. It’s best to speak to a skilled attorney handling criminal cases in Suffolk County who can inform you whether your crime is eligible for sealing or not.

Who Can See a Sealed Record?

The main difference between a sealed record and expungement is that criminal records that are sealed still exist and can be seen by certain individuals, like:

  • You
  • An employer, if your job requires you to carry a gun
  • Any person you authorize to access your records
  • Your parole officer, if you are arrested while on probation or parole
  • Prosecutor or law enforcement through a court order signed by the judge. It occurs mostly if you are arrested for a crime related to your sealed crime.

How Do I Seal a Record In New York?

It may take approximately 90 days to have a criminal record sealed in New York.

The procedure will involve the following:

  • Filing an application while providing any supporting documents
  • Submitting the application to the court which presides over the criminal offense. You can address the judge who presided over the case if s/he is still in the same court.
  • Submitting a copy of the application to the District Attorney (DA) where the conviction happened. The DA has 45 days to respond to the court if there’s an objection.
  • If the judge doesn’t deny the application after the objection of the DA, a hearing may be requested. Your skilled Long Island criminal lawyer will then present additional evidence and arguments in your favor.
  • Judge issues a ruling

A Professional Defense Lawyer Helping You Get a Fresh Start

A criminal record can make your life difficult. Luckily, our experienced record sealing lawyer in Long Island understands the processes and laws involved. We can help you determine your eligibility for criminal record sealing in New York.

Our Mineola criminal defense law firm is ready to help you with the process. Once your records are sealed, you don’t have to worry about missed opportunities like a job, housing, or loan. Schedule a FREE consultation with us, and we will give you the advice and guidance to help you move forward.

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