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New York City Self Defense Lawyer

New York City can be a dangerous place, with hundreds of muggings, robberies, burglaries, and assaults happening every week. It behooves everyone to know the state laws regarding self-defense, particularly self-defense in situations involving deadly weapons

The New York penal code  (NYPL article 35) states that the use of physical force is justified in self-defense, in defense of another person, or in order to prevent theft or criminal damage to property.

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New York City Criminal Defense Attorney

When a disagreement gets out of hand, tempers flare and threats are often made. If the police are convinced that your threatening words or behaviors were sufficient to put the victim in fear for their safety, you could be charged with harassment or menacing. If you continue a pattern of harassing behavior over a period of time, you could be charged with stalking. These are three distinct crimes which are generally charged as misdemeanors but can be elevated to felonies if the behavior is severe enough.

Harassment Definition and Penalties in New York

You commit the crime of harassment when you act intentionally and with no legitimate purpose to cause another person to reasonably fear for their physical safety. Harassment is more of a verbal act than a physical act, and it may be anonymous or not. Harassing acts can include verbal threats to cause physical harm to a person, hang-up calls, or electronic communications. Harassment involves a one-time incident or a few incidents, while stalking involves a repeated pattern of behavior over a period of time. Harassment is generally a class A or B misdemeanor.

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New York City Criminal Defense Law Firm

In the past, the New York district attorneys who prosecute criminal cases have been able to withhold crucial evidence from defendants until just before a trial. This practice has heavily biased the criminal justice system against those accused of a crime. Only two percent of felony convictions happen in a trial; 98 percent of convictions are obtained through plea bargains. In other words, defendants could be forced to negotiate a plea bargain or prepare for trial without seeing all of the state’s evidence against them. This practice has led to New York being third in the nation in wrongful convictions.

Earlier Pretrial Discovery Benefits NYC Criminal Defense

In response to this unfairness, the New York legislature has enacted reforms that will go into effect statewide in January 2020. Prosecutors will now be required to complete pretrial discovery—the sharing of the state’s evidence—much sooner. Specific reforms include:

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Manhattan Criminal Defense Law Firm

Until recently, a person carrying a gravity knife in New York could be stopped on the street, arrested, and charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor. As of May 30, 2019, it is no longer a crime to simply be in possession of a gravity knife in the state of New York. Of course, using any knife to intentionally injure another person will still get you charged with the crime of assault, and using a knife to threaten another person can result in a charge of menacing.

What Type of Knife Can I Legally Carry in New York City?

In New York City, you may carry a concealed knife with a blade less than four inches long in most public places. Note, however, that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) broadly forbids possession of weapons including gravity knives and box cutters on NYC subways and buses (21 NYCRR 1050.8a).

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NY Police Officer Attorney

When a New York City corrections officer is accused of misconduct, you need a lawyer for two reasons: for defense in a civil service disciplinary hearing to protect your job and for defense against criminal charges to protect your freedom. You need to win both cases to return your life to normal, and because the outcome of one will affect the other, a coordinated defense strategy is strongly recommended.

Criminal Charges Affecting NYC Corrections Officers

As an example of criminal charges that NYC COs may face, we will use an actual case reported in May 2019. Six COs are accused of conducting illegal strip searches at the Manhattan Detention Complex. In their defense, more than 50 visitors were arrested in 2018 for bringing in prohibited items such as drugs and razors. However, a similar number of visitors have alleged that they were sexually abused by COs during unlawful strip searches. These searches violated Department of Correction policy which requires written consent prior to a search and then only allows “pat frisk” searches.

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