Navigating Theft Crime Charges: Why an Experienced Theft Crime Lawyer in Rochester is Essential

Navigating Theft Crime Charges: Why an Experienced Theft Crime Lawyer in Rochester is Essential

Regarding direct consequences, theft crime charges often don’t seem serious. Prosecutors, who often see retail theft as a civil matter, rarely aggressively pursue these matters. However, indirect consequences are different.

Theft is a crime involving moral turpitude.[1] For example, a CIMT conviction usually has immigration consequences. Such a conviction often also means ineligibility for a professional license, like a law or medical license. Social and other employment consequences are informal but just as real.

Theft crime charges adversely impact your life long after probation, and any other direct penalties are forgotten. Somewhat similarly, the criminal justice process is usually very long. An experienced criminal defense attorney doesn’t swoop in at the last moment to save the day. Instead, an attorney works hard for months to obtain a successful outcome in a theft case.

Jail Release

Legal advocacy begins before a theft case goes to court. Immediate jail release (or bail) sets the stage for a successful defense.

In Monroe County, OR (own recognizance), the release is usually available if the defendant faces nonviolent criminal charges and has an otherwise clean police record. The phrase “own recognizance” is a bit deceptive. These defendants must still follow some rules. But for the most part, defendants police themselves until their cases are resolved.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys informally advocate for defendants at this stage. For example, if Ben has a five-year-old drug possession conviction, the local Pretrial Release Board immediately puts his application in the “no” pile. An attorney often convinces the Board to put Ben’s application in the “maybe” pile.

Furthermore, the wheels of justice turn very slowly at this stage. Many defendants wait several days for PRB approval. An experienced criminal defense attorney works the system and hastens the approval process.

Most criminal defense lawyers don’t have these skills. For example, instead of taking a few cases on the side, a lawyer must be dedicated to criminal law. Only lawyers with this level of commitment know inside pathways and know how to build a defense. More on that below.

Incarcerated persons are in no position to look for attorneys. If you do that looking now, you’ll have an experienced theft crime lawyer with knowledge of criminal defense in your shopping cart when and if that lawyer is needed.

Theft Crime Defense Strategies

The criminal defense process begins in earnest once the defendant is out of jail. Procedural and substantive defenses are usually available in theft cases.

Mall cops and other private security officers have broad interrogation powers. But police interrogation powers are much more limited. If police officers ask Ben any questions, even something innocuous like “Why did you come to Macy’s today,” without informing Ben of his Constitutional rights, the judge could exclude any evidence, including a confession, that police officers subsequently obtain.

Substantive defenses, mainly a lack of evidence, are even more effective in theft crime cases. Usually, a qualified witness, typically a mall cop, must appear in court and testify that the defendant took property s/he didn’t own. This witness must be convincing enough to sway jurors.

For this reason, an experienced theft crime lawyer often delays the case as long as possible. The private security turnover rate is about 300 percent.[2] So, the prosecutor’s key witness is usually long gone after six or eight months.

Additionally, as mentioned, the witness must provide compelling testimony. Unlike police officers, mall cops aren’t professional witnesses. Many of these individuals have never testified in court before. If an attorney slightly erodes the witness’ credibility, the state probably won’t have enough proof to establish guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.

Resolving the Case With an Experienced Theft Crime Lawyer

Theft cases are very labor intensive. Prosecutors cannot simply pick up the phone and get a witness into court. They must locate the security guard or other witness, interview the person, coach the witness, subpoena the witness, and hope s/he appears.

Many prosecutors would much rather offer pretrial diversion than put forth all this effort. That’s especially true if the owner didn’t lose the property, insurance covered the loss, or the defendant voluntarily paid restitution.

Pretrial diversion programs vary in different courts. Usually, if the defendant stays out of trouble for a few months and jumps through some hoops, such as performing community service, prosecutors dismiss the case. A dismissal means no conviction record.

Everything works together in criminal defense. Prosecutors are likelier to offer pretrial diversion if an attorney has successfully delayed the case or built a solid defense.

Theft convictions have long-term, serious consequences. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester traffic violation attorney. Convenient payment plans are available.






Uncovering the Truth: How a White-Collar Crime Lawyer in Rochester Protects Your Reputation

Uncovering the Truth: How a White-Collar Crime Lawyer in Rochester Protects Your Reputation

A generation ago, to most prosecutors, embezzlement, bribery, and other white-collar crimes were enhanced theft crimes and crimes of opportunity. Most nonlawyers shared that viewpoint. Large financial crimes, like Enron and Bernie Madoff, changed the environment. Now, white-collar criminal sentences are twice as long as they were in 1996.[1] Furthermore, many nonlawyers believe that white-collar criminals are “bad eggs” who are likely to commit more crimes, even violent crimes, in the future.[2}

In other words, today’s white-collar criminal defendants often pay much stiffer penalties and lose the professional or personal reputation they spent years building.

So, in a white-collar criminal case, a Rochester white-collar crime defense lawyer often fights battles on two fronts: outside and inside the courtroom. Regardless of the battlefield, the will to win and the tools to win are always the keys to victory. A compassionate attorney understands the true consequences of a white-collar crime conviction and fights to reduce or eliminate those consequences. To make that vision a reality, attorneys must have strong advocacy and negotiation skills.

Broadcasting Your Side of the Story

Major fraud and other such cases usually receive considerable media attention. 24/7/365 news channels have lots of airspace to fill. Therefore, in many cases, they basically reprint social media posts. There’s no shortage of such posts from alleged “victims.”

Online reputation management lessens the impact of negative stories. If you have weeds in your yard and you work to fertilize and water the grass, the grass chokes out the weeds. So, these companies usually post as much positive content as possible.

Most online reputation management companies promise game-changing results, but they may or may not have the will and/or the tools to make good on these promises. A Rochester white-collar crime defense lawyer, who is plugged into the professional community, makes the right partnerships with the right companies.

Online reputation management not only addresses the collateral consequences of a white-collar crime charge. These efforts also address the direct consequences. Jurors do not have to wear blinders. They’re allowed to form their own opinions. They must simply be willing to reassess those attitudes based on the evidence presented in court.

Building a Strong Defense Strategy With a White-Collar Crime Lawyer

Large financial fraud investigations usually involve multiple agencies and have many moving parts. The more steps law enforcement officers must take, the more likely they are to make a procedural mistake, like seizing financial records without a valid warrant. Additionally, investigators in these situations often take shortcuts so they can make a major arrest and justify all the resources the government poured into the investigation.

Substantive defenses might be part of a defense strategy as well. Frequently, the mens rea (criminal state of mind) is a major issue in white-collar criminal cases.

Medical coding fraud is a good example. There’s a difference between submitting a false report with criminal intent and submitting a false report without thoroughly checking it. Furthermore, the coders who translate medical procedures into codes and submit reports to insurance companies usually rely on doctor-provided information. If that information is false, the reports are false as well.

If a substantive or procedural defense might apply, a Rochester white-collar crime defense lawyer conducts plea negotiations from a position of strength.

Delaying the Case

Usually, the faster we deal with a problem, the better the outcome. But criminal defense is different. Delay hurts the party with the burden of proof, which is the state. Long delays weaken the state’s case. For example, after several months, witnesses often forget important facts, lose interest in the case, and/or move out of state.

Delay also supports online reputation management. Because of the aforementioned 24/7/365 news cycle, media outlets quickly move on to the next big story. That said, a major event in the summer of 2023 is usually an obscure footnote a year later.

Embezzlement and other such cases have direct and collateral consequences. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester white-collar crime attorney, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. Convenient payment plans are available.





Affordable Criminal Defense Attorney Rochester: Quality Legal Representation on a Budget

Affordable Criminal Defense Attorney Rochester: Quality Legal Representation on a Budget

Many of us are familiar with the adage, “you get what you pay for.”[1] This axiom basically means that cheap things are, well, cheap things. A licensed contractor charges more than an unlicensed handyman, but a licensed contractor usually does a better job. This aphorism isn’t always true. In many cases, the same overseas company supplies plain hoodies to Target and designer hoodies to Hollister. Be advised that this logic often doesn’t sway teenagers during back-to-school shopping.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel for a reason. A Rochester criminal defense lawyer makes a huge difference in a criminal case. Most of us have bought vehicles at dealerships, so you know that the salesperson basically dictates the price. That’s the way plea negotiations, which resolve almost all criminal cases, usually go if the defendant doesn’t have a lawyer. But the reality is that many defendants spend so much on jail release that they don’t have much left over for legal fees. In this post, we’ll evaluate some low-cost criminal defense options.

What’s at Stake

Most judges do not allow cases to move forward unless the defendant has a lawyer. If the case doesn’t move forward, many defendants eventually violate a bail condition and wind up back in jail, usually until the case is resolved.

Jail time, court supervision, and fines are bad enough. An affordable criminal defense attorney in Rochester can evaluate your case, identify possible defenses, and reduce or eliminate these direct consequences.

Quite often, the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction are worse than the direct consequences. DUI conviction is a good example.

These convictions usually double auto insurance rates.[2] New York law usually requires these drivers to obtain high-risk SR22 insurance and maintain these policies for at least three years. Higher insurance rates usually make up most of the eye-popping costs of a first-time DUI. Legal fees usually make up most of the remainder.

Are Court-Appointed Attorneys Effective Legal Assistance for Budget-Conscious Clients?

Frequently, even experienced defense lawyers take appointed and private cases. If Mike hires his own lawyer and the judge appoints a lawyer for Jesse, these two miscreants might have the same lawyer.

Here’s the difference. Mike chose his lawyer based on that lawyer’s experience, dedication, and other qualities. Jesse took his chances and got lucky with quality legal representation—but he could have just as easily been unlucky.

Criminal defense shouldn’t be left to chance. When you go through a drive-through line, you might zip right through, or you might wait forever. Additionally, if the clerk messes up your order, you can get another cheeseburger. But if a court-appointed Rochester criminal defense lawyer messes up your case, real trouble ensues.

Furthermore, only indigent defendants are entitled to court-appointed lawyers. Different judges define indigent, or poor, in different ways. Most Monroe County judges assume that if the defendant had sufficient resources for bail, the defendant has sufficient resources to hire a lawyer.

Flat Fees and Hourly Fees

All court-appointed lawyers aren’t created equally, and all criminal defense fee structures aren’t created equally. The difference between a flat fee and an hourly fee could save a defendant a lot of money.

Flat fee lawyers typically charge stairstep fees, such as X for an agreed or open plea, X+Y for a bench trial, and X+Z for a jury trial. Bench trials and jury trials are much more time-consuming than pleas. The price is the same regardless of how much time the lawyer spends on the case.

As one of our colleagues once said, hourly fee lawyers typically charge the client every time they take a breath in his/her name. When considering all the work that goes into a criminal case, like investigations, court appearances, witness interviews, phone calls, emails, and so on, the bill gets very large, very fast.

The fee structure isn’t the only way to save money on an affordable criminal defense attorney in Rochester. Fees are negotiable. Furthermore, New York has more lawyers per capita than almost any other state. If one lawyer charges too much, a lower-priced alternative is probably down the street.

A good lawyer is also an affordable lawyer. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester traffic violation attorney, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. We routinely handle matters in Monroe County and nearby jurisdictions.






Vandalism Charges Explained: Can You Go to Jail for Smashing in Someone’s Car Window?

Vandalism Charges Explained: Can You Go to Jail for Smashing in Someone’s Car Window?

The simple answer is yes, you can go to jail for smashing a car window. Criminal mischief is a misdemeanor in New York. But as always, the issue is complicated. For example, assume Max sees a dog in a hot car. Many states have Good Samaritan laws that protect Max if he smashes the car’s window to rescue the dog. Unfortunately, New York isn’t one of these states. So what happens if you are facing vandalism charges in Rochester, NY?

The uncertainty in this area most likely goes back to the Eighth Commandment (thou shalt not steal for anyone who missed that particular Sunday School lesson). According to Jewish scholars, the Hebrew refers to stealing people as opposed to stealing property, so the Eighth Commandment may be better translated as “thou shalt not kidnap.” [1] Kidnapping a person is a lot different from smashing someone’s car window.

Usually, prosecutors don’t care about what the law should say, what’s right, or what’s fair. They usually just want to convict defendants of the most serious possible charges. Only an equally determined Rochester criminal defense lawyer levels the playing field. Our team works hard to ensure that a judge never convicts a defendant until the judge hears all the facts, not just the prosecutor’s version of events.

New York Vandalism Laws

First, second, third, and fourth-degree criminal mischief are the most common desecration of property charges in New York. The degree depends on the following:

  • The dollar amount of damage (the property owner determines this amount, as long as it’s a reasonable amount),
  • Mental state (accidentally, recklessly, or intentionally),
  • Kind of property damaged, and
  • The means the defendant used to damage the property.

The mental state might be the most critical factor. “Accidentally” is turning around and knocking over a glass of wine. “Recklessly” is throwing a glass of wine, perhaps at someone, and not caring where it lands. “Intentionally” is throwing a glass of wine on a Medieval tapestry.

First-degree criminal mischief is a Class B felony (up to 25 years in prison). All other criminal mischief levels are misdemeanors.

Criminal tampering, a related offense, is meddling or interfering with someone else’s property. This offense is basically the criminal law equivalent of a civil nuisance action. Essentially, nuisance is causing a disturbance that prevents reasonable people from using and enjoying their property. Loud, obscene, or violent protestors near private property could face criminal tampering charges, although such activity is probably disturbing the peace. Cutting off someone else’s utility services, like during a divorce proceeding, could also be criminal tampering.

New York law divides this offense into three degrees, which are defined by the defendant’s intent and the nature of the property tampered with. The most serious of the offenses, criminal tampering in the first degree, is the only such offense that is a felony and could mean seven years in prison.

Possible Defenses for Vandalism Charges in Monroe County

Vandalism, like most criminal offenses, could have procedural and substantive defenses. A Rochester criminal defense lawyer doesn’t have to “beat” the charges in court to resolve the case successfully. Instead, the defense must only be strong enough to make prosecutors think twice about their chances at trial.

Sometimes, criminal mischief is basically a publicity stunt. For example, climate change activists have recently and publicly defaced certain works of art.[2] Generally, however, people deface property when no one is looking. So, officers usually need arrest warrants before they put someone in handcuffs.

Judges issue these warrants if officers file valid probable cause affidavits. Security camera footage showing the defendant smashing a car’s windshield or otherwise defacing property is probable cause. Eyewitnesses who saw the defendant near the scene are most likely sufficient. The owner’s uncorroborated assertion is probably not sufficient.

Lack of intent is usually the most effective substantive defense in vandalism cases. Typically, prosecutors use conduct to prove intent. There’s a big difference between an open-handed slap and a closed-fist punch. But there may be no such evidence in the absence of a security video. Prosecutors could use the extent of damage to prove vandalism wasn’t accidental. But the amount of damage usually doesn’t prove if the conduct was intentional or reckless, at least beyond a reasonable doubt.

Possible Resolutions

We’ve mentioned the ties that vandalism has to religious and civil law. Because of these ties, prosecutors normally don’t pursue these cases too vigorously. Instead, they consider the matter a civil dispute between the two parties.

Lack of interest is really an issue if the defendant has an excuse, like smashing a car window to save an overheated pet. Legally, the defendant has no defense in this case. But the facts make the defendant look like the “good guy” and the property owner look like the “bad guy.”

Generally, pretrial diversion is an option in these cases, especially if a Rochester criminal defense lawyer convinces prosecutors to downgrade the charges. Program requirements vary in different courts. Typically, prosecutors dismiss the charges if the defendant pays restitution, stays out of trouble with the law for a few months, and jumps through a few other hoops.

Get Help with Vandalism Charges from a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney

There’s a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi forr a free consultation with an experienced Rochester traffic violation attornei. We routinely handle matters in Monroe County and nearby jurisdictions.





Related Offenses to Embezzlement Charges in Rochester NY

Related Offenses to Embezzlement Charges in Rochester NY

Like the other offenses listed below, embezzlement is basically a combination of theft and betrayal. As a result, even though embezzlement charges are nonviolent crimes, these offenses are quite serious.

Usually, an embezzlement lawyer near you resolves these charges like Albert McKenzie’s lawyer resolved embezzlement charges against his client in 1881. In a plea bargain agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop felony embezzlement charges if McKenzie pleaded guilty to misdemeanor embezzlement charges. The McKenzie plea bargain was one of the first ones in American courts.[1] Today, plea bargains resolve over 95 percent of criminal cases.[2]

Plea bargaining is not surrendering. Instead, negotiated plea bargains end cases earlier and give defendants much more control over the outcome.

So, an influential lawyer near you for embezzlement charges must be a good negotiator. Being a good negotiator means preparing a case as if it will go all the way to trial. Then, good negotiators know when to compromise and when to stand firm. Only lawyers with all these skills can favorably resolve embezzlement and other complex criminal cases.


In 2016, the Supreme Court refused to hear former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s final appeal of his bribery convictions, effectively leaving a broad definition of bribery in place.[3] Earlier, a court convicted Blagojevich on multiple counts after the former governor allegedly tried to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat when he was elected President.

Blagojevich pointed out that he didn’t ask for anything specific. Indeed, a court of appeals threw out a few convictions on that basis. But the bribery convictions remained in place. So, political horse-trading could be illegal bribery of a public official.

Credit Card Fraud

As credit and debit card use exploded, these cases were rampant in the 1980s and 1990s. Then, chip technology drastically reduced credit card fraud. Google/Apple Pay technology reduced credit card fraud cases even further.

Nevertheless, prosecutors still actively pursue CNP (card not present) fraud. Credit card fraud penalties are higher if the offense has some embezzlement similarities (e.g., the defendant stole a company credit card or used the card for unauthorized purposes).

That last point raises an interesting issue in credit card and other fraud matters. Consent is effective until revoked. If Alice’s boss lets her buy plane tickets with a company credit card once, she may keep doing sp until her boss tells Alice to stop.

Criminal Tax Fraud

Tax fraud has several layers. Nonpayment of taxes and civil tax fraud, which is usually omitting an income stream, don’t have embezzlement qualities. Criminal tax fraud is different. Prosecutors often file these charges if the taxpayer used an LLC shell, offshore account, or other such vehicle to hide money.

Criminal tax fraud also resembles embezzlement in terms of penalties. The taxing authority usually just wants the money in nonpayment and civil fraud claims. But if the taxpayer committed criminal fraud, the taxing authority usually wants the money and wants to see the taxpayer do some jail time.


Generally, forgery has the same betrayal/theft combination. Altering a prescription label is a good example.

If Frank gives Bill a few leftover sleeping pills, and Bill gets caught with these pills, Bill might face minor charges. But if Bill alters a prescription label, perhaps changing the name or number of allowed refills, he could face much more serious charges.

Incidentally, in the first part of that example, Frank could face drug trafficking charges even though no money changed hands.

Identity Theft

Of all similar crimes of embezzlement, identity theft might be the most unsettling one. Large-scale data breaches garner most of the headlines in this area. But most identity theft crimes are more personal.

Old-fashioned dumpster diving might be the most common form of identity theft. Unscrupulous restaurant workers often have unfettered access to credit card information. Careless people sometimes leave receipts or credit card statements lying around.

Online impersonation is another common form of identity theft. Frequently, anyone with a username and password can pretend to be anyone else.

Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud has several forms, like other kinds of fraud, and could involve anyone involved in a medical, car, or other insurance claim.

  • Providers: Higher-level professionals, like doctors, often delegate tasks to other professionals, like nurses, and then bill the insurance company for a doctor-provided service. Coding fraud (“accidentally” entering the wrong code for a medical service) is also common.
  • Claimants: The scoop-and-squat auto insurance fraud is widespread in no-fault auto insurance states like New York. Driver A cuts off Driver B in traffic, Driver A slams on his/her brakes, and Driver C pulls beside Driver B to ensure that s/he cannot change lanes.
  • Policyholders: Employer workers’ compensation fraud is a good example. Many employers lie on insurance forms, usually about payroll size or worker activities. Large payrolls and risky worker activities mean large premium payments.

All these kinds of insurance fraud involve theft, usually monetary theft and betrayal, generally lying on an official form.

Mortgage Fraud

In the previous fraud section, we looked at some specific examples. In this fraud section, we’ll examine some general fraud principles.

People commit fraud when they lie about a material fact, hoping for financial gain.

Fraud is like embezzlement in that there’s a combination of theft and betrayal. But fraud isn’t as cut and dried as embezzlement.

People make mistakes. Furthermore, not everyone lies in order to get something. A Rochester criminal defense lawyer often uses these gray areas to resolve fraud matters and other white-collar criminal cases successfully.

Frequently, as far as prosecutors are concerned, an arrest record and an unwanted trip through the criminal justice system are sufficient criminal punishments for fraud and other embezzlement-related cases. Therefore, the aforementioned plea bargains in these cases usually include deferred disposition. If defendants successfully complete deferred disposition probation, the judge wipes the conviction off their permanent records.

Get Help with Embezzlement Charges in Rochester NY

There’s a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester traffic violation attorney. We routinely handle matters in Monroe County and nearby jurisdictions.






Drug Crime Lawyer NY: What Should I Do After Becoming Involved in a Drug Crime

Drug Crime Lawyer NY: What Should I Do After Becoming Involved in a Drug Crime

Most people who ask us this question were arrested for drug possession. Simple possession accounts for about 80 percent of the drug crime arrests in Monroe County.[1] Specifically, this question usually involves collective possession cases. If officers find drugs in a car, they usually arrest everyone in the car. Legally, an occupant possesses everything in the passenger area, a designation that includes a car’s trunk and a pickup’s bed. As confusing as it sounds, possession is not the only element of a drug possession case. More on that below and everything you need to know about a good Drug Crime Lawyer in NY.

Other unsuspecting drug defendants include people on the edges of a drug manufacturing and/or distribution scheme. Under New York conspiracy law, a person who buys meth ingredients is just as guilty as a person who cooks meth in a bathtub. That being said, these peripheral participation cases often feature some extenuating circumstances. More on that below as well.

Back to the question at hand. In any event, if officers question you about a drug crime, don’t panic, don’t say anything, and call a Rochester criminal defense attorney. A lawyer probably cannot prevent an arrest. If anything, “lawyering up” increases the chances of an arrest. But a Rochester criminal defense attorney can prevent a bad situation from getting worse. Only good lawyers know how to use procedural and substantive defenses that deny prosecutors the evidence they need to obtain convictions.

Drug Crime Lawyer NY: What to Expect in a Criminal Case

Remember, our first rule is not to panic. Since people are less likely to panic if they know what’s coming next, we’ll start there first.

Jail release is usually the first priority. Drug crimes are normally felonies. Depending on several factors, mostly the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal record, authorities normally set bail at around $5,000.

A defendant could post the entire amount in cash. Posting cash bail is like paying a security deposit. Defendants who meet all bail conditions, like renters who meet all rental conditions, get most of that deposit back. The obvious risk is that if defendants and renters don’t toe the line, they could lose everything.

To many people, $5,000 might as well be $5,000,000. A bail bond, which is like an insurance policy, is usually an option. Most bail bond companies charge about a 15 percent premium. If a fire burns down your house, the fire insurance company bears the financial risk. Likewise, if a defendant skips bail, the bonding company bears the financial risk.

The court process usually starts a few weeks later. A few defendants are entitled to public defenders or court-appointed lawyers. Most must hire private Rochester criminal defense attorneys. A lawyer evaluates your case, as outlined below. Sooner or later, plea bargains resolve almost all criminal cases.

Drug Crime Lawyer NY: Group Possession

Drug possession, as mentioned above, really means drug proximity. This element is very difficult to beat in court if the drugs are admissible in court. That’s a pretty big “if.”

Physical evidence usually involves Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues. We used a vehicle possession example above, so let’s stay with it.

Officers must have reasonable suspicion to detain motorists. Basically, reasonable suspicion is an evidence-based hunch. It’s not a hunch by itself. Officers cannot detain motorists because they look wrong. It’s also not a hunch supported by evidence. The evidence, like a traffic violation, must come before the hunch.

Then, they must have probable cause to search the vehicle. If they don’t have a warrant, a narrow search warrant exception must apply. Owner consent is probably the most common one. Consent is a voluntary, affirmative, and specific act. Officers cannot coerce, expand, or assume consent.

Possession also includes knowledge and control. Assume Tim gives a few partygoers rides home. He runs a red light, and Officer Kathy pulls him over. Some passengers act nervous, so Officer Kathy asks Tim for consent to search. Thinking he has nothing to hide, he agrees. Officer Kathy finds drugs underneath the passenger side rear passenger’s seat.

Tim may go to jail, but the charges probably won’t hold up in court. Tim most likely didn’t know the drugs were there. He certainly didn’t control them.

Drug Crime Lawyer NY: Peripheral Participation

In most jurisdictions, including New York, every participant in a criminal enterprise is just as guilty as Mr. Big. The “I was just following orders” defense didn’t work for Nazi war criminal and alleged Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann,[2] and it doesn’t work in Monroe County criminal courts.

Apropos of nothing, Eichmann and other top Nazis fled to Argentina after World War II. Israeli spies kidnapped him off the streets of Buenos Arias in May 1960 and smuggled him aboard a return flight to Jerusalem. The harrowing story is definitely worth reading.

Back to the blog. In one noteworthy case, a defendant had a shopping list that included meth-making ingredients. That was the extent of his participation in the meth-making operation. Nevertheless, the court ruled that he was guilty of drug manufacturing.[3]

Many peripheral participation drug trafficking defendants are shoppers, like the one in that case, or drug mules who don’t know all the details.

Lack of knowledge or “just following orders” may not be a legal defense at trial, but it is a mitigating circumstance during sentencing. A strong undercurrent in the law holds that the punishment should fit the crime. So, a Rochester drug crime lawyer can often negotiate a shorter probation period that has fewer restrictions. Some judges even grant unsupervised probation. These probationers only have to stay out of trouble until their probation ends.

There’s a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. For a free consultation with an experienced Rochester underage drinking attorney, contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi. Virtual, home, and jail visits are available.