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Mineola Criminal Defense Law Blog

Shoplifting in new york is not always what it seems

New York is easily known as one of the biggest shopping meccas in the world. Tourists and locals alike flock to its diverse and alluring shopping centers, but with this popularity comes the occasional shoplifting incident. While state laws work to deter shoppers from pocketing products, those found guilty of this crime can sometimes deal with the repercussions to exhausting lengths. Below are some accessible facts about shoplifting, including state laws and common defenses for theft charges.

Findlaw lists the basics when it comes to shoplifting charges in the state, pointing out that multiple sides of an incident can often exist. Although theft accusations are serious, prosecutors must prove the crime took place. Otherwise known as larceny in New York, shoplifting can also result in a commercial burglary charge -- devices used to disarm security tags, for example, could constitute as evidence of planned theft before entering the store. Penalties range from petit larceny to grand larceny, with fines of up to $5,000 or more depending on incident specifics. The penalties may be steep, but there are a number of options when it comes to making a defense to a shoplifting charge.

Traffic tickets, fines and other punishments

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in our stomachs when driving down the road and we see police lights in our rearview mirrors. If this happens, it's safe to assume that you begin to get quite anxious.

A traffic ticket is not the most serious crime, but it can definitely have a negative impact on your life. For example, the cost of a fine may be a financial burden that you can't take on at this time.

When is the use of force justified?

You may think that so many people in Mineola cite self-defense in response to criminal accusations that such an assertion has lost all validity (and thus no one will believe you when you rightfully claim it). However, the law does indeed recognize that there are situations where conduct that would otherwise be deemed to be assault is justified. Section 35.05 of the New York Penal Code describes such situations as when you need to act to avoid an imminent injury that may come through no fault of your own that is serious enough that, "according to ordinary standards of intelligence and morality, the desirability and urgency of avoiding such injury clearly outweigh the desirability of avoiding the injury sought to be prevented by the statute defining the offense in issue."

While that seems straightforward, you may wonder exactly what situations the law defines as warranting such action. These are stated to include: 

  • Defending yourself
  • Defending a third person
  • Defending your home 
  • Preventing the theft of your property 
  • Preventing criminal mischief to your property 

Field sobriety test accuracy not foolproof

If you or someone you know has been arrested for and charged with a drunk driving offense in New York, you will want to become educated about the legal process involved in a drunk driving arrest and the subsequent defense process. One important thing to know and remember is that like any criminal charge, you are not guilty until proven so. An arrest simply indicates that law enforcement officers believe you might be guilty of a crime.

At the scene of a stop, you most likely were asked to perform several tests even before you were asked to provide a blood or breath sample. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, these tests in no way are designed to or even able to prove that you are drunk. Chemical tests are required to provide proof of any intoxication. Instead field sobriety tests are used to support an arrest by providing enough evidence to show that you might be drunk.

Detailing the duty to remain at the scene of an accident

Many in Mineola may not even consider leaving the scene of accident in which injuries are involved. Yet what about those single-car crashes that only result in property damage? The temptation may be there (especially in accidents where there were no witnesses and that do not render vehicles inoperable) to simply drive away and leave the property owner to guess as to what caused the damage. Given that no one else was hurt by a driver's actions in such cases, he or she may not classify leaving the scene as a hit-and-run. Unfortunately, that is not how the law sees it. 

Section 600.1 of the New York's Vehicle and Traffic Law states that when one is involved in a motor vehicle accident that involves damage to property, he or she must show his or her driver's license and insurance verification card to the property owner before leaving. On top of that, he or she must also provide the property owner with the following information: 

  • Name
  • Address
  • Insurance carrier name 
  • Insurance policy number and effective dates

What actions are considered to be stalking?

Stalking in New York and across the nation can be a dangerous behavior that is not limited to ex-spouses or former boyfriends and girlfriends. However, the behavior does not always seem dangerous. You may intend to be sweet or romantic by continuing to send gifts or letters to an ex-partner; however, these actions can get you into trouble.

New York’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence explains that stalking includes unwelcome interest from someone. The saving grace may be that you do not intend to threaten or harass your ex, which must be part of the formula in determining whether your actions fall under the heading of stalking. You should realize, however, that your ex may find your continued interest creepy, to say the least.

What is Leandra's Law?

The holiday season is upon us in New York, with all of its yuletide merriment and festive events. For anyone tempted to drive after imbibing a bit too much at a holiday party, a reminder about Leandra’s Law is in order.

According to New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the statue carries the name of an 11-year-old girl killed in a drunk-driving accident in 2009. She was a passenger in a car driven by the inebriated mother of a friend.

A DUI can seriously damage your career

It's Friday and you have had a long week at work. As usual, you drive over to your favorite Mineola watering hole to consume some adult beverages. When happy hour ends, you decide to drive home instead of moving to the next bar with your friends.

Unfortunately, your weekend takes a turn when you suddenly see red and blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror. After a field sobriety test, you end up in the back of a squad car and on your way to the police station. You are now facing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. This was not how you had imagined your weekend going.

Does a breathalyzer count as chemical testing?

Implied consent laws may be a new concept to many Mineola, yet they may be worth understanding in case you are ever in a position where a law enforcement officer asks you to take a sobriety test. Essentially, such laws state that by applying for the privilege of driving, you agree to submit to chemical testing in order to determine whether or not you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. New York does indeed have such a law, and a refusal of such testing could result in your license automatically being suspended for one year. Such a suspension may still be enforced by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles even if you are acquitted of the criminal charges leveled against you. 

Yet what exactly qualifies as chemical testing? Such testing refers to an actual chemical analysis of your blood, breath, urine or saliva. The most common test that you and others may associate with sobriety testing, however, does not fall into this category. Breathalyzer tests are actually referred to as "field tests" or "preliminary alcohol screenings." They are less reliable at accurately measuring your blood alcohol content, which makes their results inadmissible in court. 

I accidentally wrote a bad check! What will happen?

What may happen by issuing a bad check in New York can depend on a lot of factors. Issuing a bad check can result in you charges of violating New York Penal Law 109.05. That is a class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you can receive a sentence of up to 90 days of incarceration and have to pay a fine.

You can also lose a professional license which can implicate your livelihood even if your employer would not choose to terminate you. As such, although “just” a misdemeanor, you will want to address it immediately if you receive notice of charges against you.

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