Friday, July 4, 2014

The Black Box

Today every newer car has a manufacturer “black box” installed in the vehicle which a driver/owner has no control over. It is pretty much impossible for the owner to remove. Warning lights come on in the vehicle to let the owner know when the vehicle needs service or whether there are other operational problems. Other vehicle tracking devices such as a telemetric Progressives Snapshop device may also be used to monitor your driving habits or patterns and even go so far as to identify whether someone else is driving your vehicle, can tell third parties how you drive, including how you break, turn, whether you are wearing a seat belt or how many miles your drive. 

Insurance companies may use the information to offer you premium discounts on your insurance. Car rental companies install these tracking devices in many rental cars to determine your location and how you are driving.  The GPS (global positioning systems) or On-Star and Locjack can locate you if you are in an accident or your vehicle is stolen. Other devices just monitor information about your vehicle such as a your license place and vehicle I.d. number so that a police officer can run your plate information and check the data base to determine if you have any outstanding tickets or warrants or whether you are suspected of engaging in criminal activity.   

How is the Information Accessed?

The information contained in the black box remains in the vehicle, but can be accessed when the device is plugged into a computer at the time your vehicle is serviced or a third party installs a device to read the information. Devices such as Lojack sends a coded Radio Frequency signal to police so that they can pick up the signal that is coming from your stolen car. LoJack works in places that GPS does not such as concrete building and steel.  GPS tracking signals works off of global navigation satellites which are operated by the U.S. government which in automotive tracking may be imposed onto a map to locate your vehicle and you.

While many vehicle owners like these devices because it warns them before their vehicle breaks down and offers other valuable protections if your vehicle is stolen or insurance premium discounts, others say it is an invasion of their privacy.   In this digital and technology age, private information is becoming much more public.
Who May Use the Information 

Besides the mechanic or dealership servicing your vehicle, your insurance company, law enforcement and investigators could use the information in connection with criminal activity or accidents to track your driving patterns, location or driving habits. 

Let’s say you are involved in an automobile accident which another driver caused, and you are injured. The tracking device could establish whether you were partially at fault or negligent and contributed to your injuries, especially if you sustain injuries because you were not wearing your seat belt.    

Or let’s say you are suspected or a crime and law enforcement wants to know where you are going or where you have been to place you at the scene of a crime. However, law enforcement must obtain a warrant first before installing a GPS tracking device on your vehicle before they can gather information which may be admissible in court. 

While we still have choices about whether we wish to have GPS, LoJack or insurance tracking devices installed in our cars, other devices such as the black box are here to stay. Some argue that these devices keep us safer, while others say they can be used against us and invade our privacy. One thing is certain-the debate over privacy and safety is expected to continue.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Brooklyn Brothers Receive No Jail Time for Bullying Sex Abuse Victim's Boyfriend

Brooklyn Brothers Receive No Jail Time for Bullying Sex Abuse Victim's Boyfriend

Three Brooklyn brothers, Jacob, Joseph and Hertzka Berger admitted that they tried to bully a restaurant owner, Hershey Deutsch last year, by ripping the kosher certificate off the wall at a restaurant. Deutsch is now the husband of former sex abuse victim and star witness against the influential Hasidic counselor Nechemya Weberman. in Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic Community. Although the three Berger brothers had nothing to do with the Weberman case, the incident at the restaurant owned by Deutsch revolved around a fundraiser that was being held at the time for Weberman. 

Nechemya Weberman was convicted last year of 59 counts, including sustained sexual abuse of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual abuse and is serving a 50 year sentence in prison for molesting a young girl who came to him with questions about her faith. The victim, who is now 18, went to authorities in February 2011 and told them in detail about the abuse. According to a report in The Daily News, Weberman may have violated at least 10 other victims, some of whom were married woman, who came to him for counseling.

The three brothers were facing misdemeanor coercion. Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge, Danny Chun, allowed the three to plead guilty and receive conditional discharge, as long as they agree to stay out of trouble for one year over the objections of prosecutors. Jacob Berger also plead guilty to felony mischief and was required to pay a $500 fine. Mr. Deutsch shut down his restaurant after the incident. There is another case pending against the fourth suspect in the harassment and bullying case, who allegedly offered Mr. Deutsch $500,000 to drop the charges.

Mr. Deutch said:

“He was happy it’s over, even though they deserve a bigger punishment in my and the entire world's eyes,... The judge has his rules, and he made them pay what he thinks is fair...." the case has still sent a message to those who harass or intimidate victims and their family. This should be a lesson to the entire community that we won't stay quiet anymore, we will raise our voice and make sure every person involved will get the punishment they deserve..."

New York Bullying, Harassment Crimes and Criminal Mischief Property Damage Crimes
Bullying and harassment and are illegal in New York. Under Penal Code Sections 240.26 and 145, hharassment, criminal mischief property crimes, discrimination and hate crimes are all considered part of bullying behavior.

Bullying is when one person displays behavior that intends to harm or cause harm against someone including repetitious behaviors against the same person. Bullying can be verbal, social or physical. New York schools have a zero tolerance for bullying, and the State has enacted legislation protecting students against bullying.

Harassment in the second degree is when a person acts with the “intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:
                1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other
  person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or

                 2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or

                 3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts
  which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose.”

Harassment in the second degree is considered a violation.

Harassment in the first degree is when  a person “intentionally and repeatedly harasses another person by following such person in or about a public place or places or by engaging in a course of conduct or by repeatedly committing acts which places such person in reasonable fear of physical injury.”
Harassment in the first degree is considered a class B misdemeanor.

Criminal mischief and criminal tampering are two classes of property damage crimes in New York.

New York Penal Code 145 separates the property damage offense of criminal mischief into four separate classifications of felony and misdemeanor charges. The determining factors are the cost of the damage and the means of destruction in determining the severity of the charge.

Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree

Criminal mischief in the 4th degree consists of the following acts of intentionally damaging someone else’s property without permission to do so:
“1. Intentionally participated in the destruction of an abandoned building.
  2.  Recklessly damaged property of someone else’s where the damage is valued at more than $250.
  3. Intentionally disabling a communication device when someone is attempting to seek emergency assistance from someone else in order to protect themselves or someone else from imminent physical injury.”
Criminal mischief in the 4th degree is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence up to one year and a $1,000 fine.

Criminal Mischief in the 3rd Degree

Criminal mischief in the 3rd degree consists of the following acts of intent to damage someone’s property without having the right to do so:
“1.  Having 3 or more prior criminal mischief convictions, you break into a locked vehicle with the intent of stealing property,
  2.  Damage someone else’s property where the damage is valued at more than $250.”
Criminal mischief in the 3rd degree is considered a Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree

Criminal mischief in the 2nd degree occurs when you act with intent to damage someone else’s property and the damages are valued in excess of $1,500.
Criminal mischief in the 2nd degree is considered a Class D felony, which carries a prison sentence up to 7 years.

Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree

Criminal mischief in the 1st degree criminal mischief occurs when, acting with intent, you damage someone else’s property using an explosive device.
This is the most serious of all criminal mischief offenses and is considered a Class B felony charge, which carries a prison sentence up to 25 years.

NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with misdemeanor or felony relating to bullying or related offense in New York or the surrounding areas, a good criminal defense attorney will be able to help you fight your charges. The criminal defense attorneys at our firm represent minors and adults charged with bullying, harassment, hate crimes and other related crimes. Our NYC criminal defense attorneys will protect your rights and negotiate a reasonable disposition of your case, including trying to get the charges dropped for lack of evidence.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New York Speeding Laws

Statistics show that 30% of traffic fatalities in New York are the result of driver speeding. Vehicles that are speeding require more time to stop and produce a more violent crash. Reducing driving speeds can save lives, including your own.

A speeding fine could cost you over a $1,000 dollars, and you could receive violation points on your driving record ranging from 3 to 11. Keep in mind that in New York your license will be suspended with 11 violations points. Speeds of 65 mph are permitted on the highways and where limits are specially posted. There are no plans in the State of New York to raise the speed limit.

You are required to drive at speeds less than the maximum speed limit in hazardous weather conditions as well. Drivers should drive with the flow of traffic and use the right lanes when possible to help avoid congestion and other aggressive drivers.


The New York State police, sheriff departments and local municipal police departments routinely conduct speed enforcements on a daily basis and identify traffic corridors where speeding contributes to unsafe driving. They may set up check points during holidays looking for drivers who are excessively speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Fines and Penalties

• For speeding up to 10 miles over the limit, you may receive a minimum $90 to maximum $150 fine and not more than 15 days in jail
• For speeding 10 to 30 mph over the limit, you may receive a minimum fine up to $180 and a maximum of $300 and not more than 30 days in jail
• For speeding more than 30 mph over the limit, you may receive a minimum fine of $360 to a maximum of $600 and not more than 30 days in jail
• For an excessive and inappropriate speed, you can receive a minimum fine of $45 to a maximum of $150 and not more than 15 days in jail.

If you have 3 speeding violations or more in an 18 month period, your license will be revoked and fines will increase. Keep in mind that fines are doubled in work zones. You will also receive 3 driver points for driving upon to 10 mph over the limit, 4 driver points for driving between 11-20 mph over the limit, 6 points for driving 21-30 mph over the limit, 8 points for driving 31-40 over the limit and 11 points for driving over 40 mph over the limit.

Friday, May 31, 2013

New York DJ Arrested third time in Three Years for Prostitution Related Charges

On May 3, 2013, popular radio DJ and producer Mr. Cee was arrested for the third time on a prostitution related charge in the last three years. According to the New York Daily News, 46 year old Calvin Lebrun (Mr. Cee) was arrested in Brooklyn after trying to solicit an undercover police officer posing as a male prostitute.  In March of 2011, Mr. Cee was caught by police receiving fellatio from a male prostitute in car and pled guilty to the charge of loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense three months later. He completed three months of counseling. In October 8, 2010, he was caught on the same charge in Lower Manhattan and pled guilty a month later.

New York Penal Code Section 230.00 - Prostitution

Under New York Penal Code Section 230.00, a person is guilty of the crime of prostitution when such person “engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.” A prostitution crime is considered a class B misdemeanor offense no matter your sexual orientation or gender. You could face up to three months in jail and a fine up to $500 if convicted.

Other Related Prostitution Offenses include:

Patronizing someone in a school zone, which is considered a class A misdemeanor

Patronizing a prostitute in the third degree, which is considered a class A misdemeanor,
when the person being patronized is under 17 years of age

Patronizing a prostitute in second degree, which is a class E felony, when the person being patronized is under 14 years of age

Patronizing a prostitute in the first degree, which is a class D felony, when the person being patronized is under 11 years of age  

Hiring a New York Criminal Defense Lawyer to Fight Your Charges

The New York prostitution laws classify are complex. If you are arrested for a prostitution charge, you should hire an experienced New York criminal defense attorney to represent you. A skilled and knowledgeable New York criminal defense attorney can argue such defenses on your behalf as entrapment or invasion of privacy and other defenses depending on the circumstances of the case.

Our firm routinely defends clients charged with prostitution crimes. We have established relationships with prosecutors in the Manhattan and surrounding areas. Our team of lawyers will investigate the charges against you, talk to witnesses and negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges dismissed or arrange for a plea bargain so you can avoid jail time or other penalties.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Terrorism Laws 101

Crime of Terrorism

The crime of terrorism in New York is considered a class A-I felony offense and a serious violent felony crime. New York Statute 490.25 states that a person may be found guilty of the crime of terrorism when they intend to intimidate or coerce civilians or influence government policy or affect the conduct of government by murder, assassination or kidnapping. If convicted, a person could face loss of constitutional rights such as the right to vote, serve life in prison without parole or a death sentence when the terrorist offense is considered murder in the first degree, and other consequences.

Terrorist acts cause emotional, physical and economic harm to the victims, their families and society at large. Ever since 911, the laws have become stricter and law enforcement and prosecutors are vigilant about stopping, catching and making convictions. Fighting a terrorism charge in New York requires the expertise and assistance of an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer.

Other Related Charges

There are other related charges you could be convicted of even if you did not commit a terrorist act. You could be convicted of hindering prosecution of a terrorist in the second degree under New York Statute Section 490.30 or hindering prosecution of a terrorist in the first degree if someone was killed during a terrorist act, under Section 490.35, if you give aid to a person who you know has engaged in such terrorist act.
In addition, you could also face a charge of criminal possession of a chemical weapon or biological weapon in the first degree, second degree or third degree if there was intent to use it to cause serious injury or death to someone under New York Statute Sections 490.37, 490.40 or 490.45. Criminal possession of a chemical weapon or biological weapon in the first degree is a considered a class A-I felony, in the second degree a class A-II felony and in the third degree a class B felony.

The consequences of being accused of making a terrorist threat, participating in a terrorist act or being accused of hindering the prosecution of a terrorist can have long lasting implications on your life. If convicted, you face serious penalties and jail time or even the death penalty. A New City criminal defense attorney is trained and skilled at helping clients facing terrorist charges. Our experienced NY criminal defense attorneys will investigate the evidence, talk to witnesses, and above all make sure that your rights are protected. We will help you fight the charges by building strong defenses on your behalf. Being falsely accused of such a serious crime can be quite frightening to someone who has never been arrested before. That is why we will be with you every step of the way until your case has been resolved in a fair, equitable and just manner.

Friday, October 19, 2012

People Stealing More Apples in NYC

Yes, it is true Apple theft is up more than 40 percent this year in the Big Apple that is products made by Apple such as iPhones, iPads, etc.  In the time period between January 1 and September 23, 2012, a total of 11,447 of stolen mobile Apple products were reported to NYPD which is a rise of over 3,000 from the same time period in 2011.

Oddly though, CBS news reports, that right before the release of the release of the iPhone 5, these thefts suddenly stopped.  Could it be that thieves don't want the old stuff when the new technology will be ripe for theft in a day or two?  An NYPD Official was quoted as saying "what we are seeing on the part of the crooks is that they follow the trends of the buying public".  Well, it is sort of good to know that our iPhone 4's are safer than the iPhone 5's of those rich enough and lucky enough to get them.  

What is an Apple customer to do about all this?  Well the NYPD has started a new project called "Operation ID".  Apple users can bring their mobile devices to any NY City Apple store in addition to several Verizon and AT&T stores.  A police officer stationed at the store will register the serial number of your device with your name and contact information.  You can also get these devices engraved with a unique serial number that's makes them easier to identify if lost or stolen.  As of October 5, 2012, NYPD registered 1,500 iPhone 5 phones and various other versions of the iPhone.  Apple also has a "find my iPhone" app that will track down missing phones and as part of the "Operation ID" program NYPD has been giving out information as to how to install this.  Our tech savvy NYPD has had iCloud enabled iPhones in use to track down stolen phones and make arrests.
If you are reading this and feel that your iPhone is safe because you are not in NYC, don't because it has been reported that "Just about every major city across the country has the same exact crime dynamic.  Those gadgets are valuable, as a result drive crime trend" said Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.  

We are not just a law firm that does excellent criminal defense work, we also are anxious to report good crime prevention information to our readers.  If you own one of these Apple devices here in NYC, it might be wise to take the NYPD and Apple up on their offer.  Also get the app, it's free.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Shooter unlikely to avoid Death Penalty

James Holmes appearance in Arapahoe County Justice Center
Everyone seems to have an opinion about James Holmes, the now infamous Dark Night Rises gunman. Speculations made by “expert psychologists” are airing incessantly on nearly every news channel in the US. The general consensus is that Holmes is indeed suffering from some sort of mental health issue and will almost undoubtedly be pleading insanity. However, legal experts are saying James Holmes will probably get the death penalty of his crimes. 

In The State of Colorado v. James Holmes (12CR1522) charges are yet to be filed in court. Prosecutors are expected to bring formal charges at the July 30 hearing. The prosecution’s case is extraordinarily strong, with a veritable mountain of evidence stacked up against Holmes. 

The State of Colorado uses a verified version of the M’Naghten Rule with the Irresistible Impulse Test. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, but it’s clear they’ve got that covered. With the severity of crimes and multiple instances of extreme aggravating factors, avoiding the death penalty is going to be a difficult feat for his attorney. 

It’s certain that Holmes will be charged with at least 12 counts of 1st Degree Murder. In 1st degree murder cases, the prosecution must prove that the murders were pre-meditated and that they were committed in cold blood. Proving both is no problem, as Holmes purchased thousands of rounds of ammo and dressed in riot gear before he entered the theater. It’s clear he intended to murder innocent people. 

In New York State, capital punishment guidelines are set forth in the Model Penal Code, and the defendant has the burden of proof. This means the lawyer’s first duty in a capital punishment case where the defense is insanity is to have multiple expert witnesses evaluate Holmes and form professional opinions that will stand up in court. 

In order for an insanity defense to work, Holmes must not have been able to tell the difference between right and wrong at the time he committed the crimes and he must not be able to comprehend the charges against him. But, the evidence is so strong against him; an insanity defense may be of no use. It can easily be proven that this was an especially heinous crime and extreme sentences can and will be imposed.