George F. Hildebrandt
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Criminal Law Archives

What to Do if There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest

Being arrested on a warrant can be an unsettling event. Moreover, having the police knock urgently on your door and demand entry, often in the early morning hours, can not only be disturbing, but dangerous, to you and your family. The police are wary about who they may encounter and what danger they may face, and often come in force and heavily armed. People who wake up to yelling and commotion and the presence of heavily armed intruders may assume they are facing home invaders, not the police.

Intoxication as a Defense

When some people have had too much to drink or were under the influence of drugs, they say that they were "not themselves." That is, that any actions they took while in an intoxicated state were influenced by the drugs or alcohol, and were not something they would usually do. When criminal acts are involved, the intoxicated person may argue that there should be no criminal liability because he or she would not have committed the criminal acts if he or she was not under the influence. While intoxication may work as a defense to some elements of a criminal charge, it cannot be used as a complete defense to a criminal charge.

Immunity From Prosecution When Testifying

Cooperating with law enforcement officials during a criminal investigation can sometimes lead to an offer of immunity. If the person cooperating could also be charged with a crime based on the information provided to law enforcement officials, a grant of immunity can offer future protection and keep the person out of jail. However, not all grants of immunity ensure the government will not prosecute a cooperating witness for a crime related to the information given.

Constructive Possession Drug Charges

Drug possession charges can lead to many years in prison if a person is convicted under New York's drug laws. While this result may seem clear cut when the charged person is arrested in actual possession of the drugs, it may be more confusing to hear of a person's conviction when the person does not have the drugs in hand at the time of arrest. However, through constructive possession, the government can prosecute and secure a conviction for drug possession for a person who is not in physical possession of the drugs at the time of the arrest.

Murder By Extension: The Felony Murder Rule

It may seem unbelievable that a person can go to prison for murder when the authorities know that a different person killed the deceased and these facts are presented to the jury. However, it is possible for a person under certain circumstances to be legally charged with murder based on another person killing the victim, under what is commonly known as the felony murder rule. In some states, the felony murder rule has led to some outrageous convictions, including one case in which a man was convicted for a murder committed by others while he was asleep in bed at the time of the murder.

New York State and Revenge Porn

There have been many reports of people's intimate and explicit videos being shared online without their knowledge or consent. The videos and photographs have been of both celebrities and everyday people, and there are even websites dedicated to hosting these videos and images. Because in most cases these videos and photographs were originally taken with the consent of all parties, and only later released by one party after a relationship has gone sour, they are referred to as revenge porn.

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