On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Friday, January 24, 2020.

If you get behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol, taking prescription medication or trying recreational drugs, you have a substantially higher than average risk for causing a major collision. A crash related to impairment will likely mean that you face criminal charges brought by the state of New York. The exact scenario will impact what charges you face.

You can face specific charges related to the act of impaired driving, as well as charges related to the impact of your driving decisions. In addition to an impaired driving charge, for example, a driver who causes a crash that produces serious injury could face vehicular assault charges, as well as reckless driving charges.

You may feel fortunate if the crash you caused initially seemed to have only caused serious injuries. However, the medical condition of the other people involved in the crash could change. If someone succumbs to injuries that were not initially fatal after the crash, the state could decide to charge you with vehicular homicide despite the death not occurring at the scene of the crash.

The death does not need to be instant to be the result of impaired driving

People often find the idea that they could be held responsible for delayed consequences from a drunk driving crash very confusing. They might feel like they should only be responsible for charges related to injuries or property damage if someone died weeks or months after the initial collision. However, your criminal and financial liability related to the crash does not stem from the immediate aftermath but the full effect of your decisions.

Just like the surviving family members of the now-deceased injured party could bring a wrongful death claim against you related to the delayed loss of life, so too could the state of New York choose to bring charges against you, even if they formerly declined to do so.

The greater your impairment, the greater the potential risk

The way that New York charges vehicular homicide depends on the scenario. The vehicle and the degree of impairment in the driver will influence what kind of charges the state brings against someone.

An impaired driver over the limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% could face second-degree vehicular homicide charges. However, those who fall into the so-called super drunk category with a BAC of 0.18% or higher could face first-degree vehicular homicide charges.

Anyone who causes injury or death to other people in a crash that law enforcement officers allege involved alcohol or drugs could face serious penalties, including jail time. Delayed-onset conditions and worsening symptoms could mean that a situation that originally did not result in criminal charges later does.

By : First Page Attorney | January 24, 2020 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Monday, December 2, 2019.

You get into a car accident. You panic. It happens so fast. Maybe there is another complication, like the fact that your license got suspended and you should never have been driving anyway. You decide to flee the scene of the crash.

This is illegal under New York law. In fact, leaving the scene of a deadly crash is a Class D felony. Leaving the scene of a crash with a serious injury is a Class E felony. You need to stay at the scene, exchange information with the other driver and talk to the authorities.

What are the penalties?

The penalties for leaving the scene of the crash do depend on the outcome. With an injury-related accident, you get a fine that runs from $1,000 to $5,000. With a fatal crash, the minimum goes up to $2,000, but the maximum fine stays at $5,000.

However, the law states that those fines are “in addition to any other penalties provided by law.” This means that things could get far more serious. Did you cause the accident? You may end up facing vehicular manslaughter charges for the death. If you had nothing to do with causing the crash and you simply ran from the scene in confusion, you could still face the fines alone, but your role determines what the penalties look like.

Why do people flee the scene?

You know that fleeing the scene of any crash is illegal. You know it’s not a good idea and it is only going to make things worse. Why did you do it?

One reason is simple: You panicked. You stopped thinking rationally. You made poor decisions.

To some degree, that’s not your fault. It’s just the way your brain is wired. Scientists have discovered that “anxiety disengages brain cells” and hampers your ability to make good choices. You literally cannot think as well when facing severe stress. Your brain is not working at its full capacity.

This is why people often express regret or even confusion after the fact. Someone may ask you why you did it, and you may say that you have no idea. You cannot comprehend the reason yourself. In retrospect, you wish you had not run, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Your legal options

You may know that the blame for your actions lies in brain functionality and the deactivation of brain cells, but the authorities still blame you for your part in the crash. You could find yourself facing serious charges, and you need to know what legal defense options you have.

By : First Page Attorney | December 2, 2019 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Monday, October 7, 2019.

When is a drug not really a drug? That question arises when agencies convene to criminalize possession of substances like kratom around the nation.

Many people may have no idea what kratom is. But for many more others, kratom is the substance that allows them to live their lives without an addiction to illegal opioid-based drugs. Read on to learn how New York classifies kratom use.

Still legal, but under fire

Under present laws in the state of New York, kratom use remains legal. However, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to buy some in your local bodega or head shop.

A series of raids on smoke shops and other retail outlets that sold kratom has had a chilling effect on some merchants who would rather cease selling the popular product than face a police raid. The problem stems from the illegality of other products like bath salts being sold in these shops. Sometimes, the police also seize the kratom products that are ostensibly being legally sold in the retail outlets.

By the time the dust settles, the inventory has been seized, opened, tested and is unsuitable for resale once it’s determined to be a legally-sold herbal supplement not under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s that agency that has been hard at work to criminalize the use of kratom (and thus, make criminals out of those who legitimately use the substance to keep their chronic pain at manageable levels).

What about the users?

If you get arrested for possessing kratom, that’s a charge that can definitely be dismissed. The problem may lie in the officers alleging that the substance is something other than what it really is. By the time it is correctly identified through testing, you may already have been placed under arrest.

The good news is that a competent New York City criminal defense attorney can facilitate the charges being dropped in such a case, thus freeing you to go on living your life. As in many arrests, having a dedicated and diligent attorney working on your behalf can expedite the release process.

By : First Page Attorney | October 7, 2019 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Friday, August 9, 2019.

On July 29, Gov. Andrew Cuomo decriminalized statewide simple possession for pot to a mere violation punishable by only fines. The law is set to take effect 30 days from the day the governor signed the bill into law.

Once in effect, charges of criminal possession of marijuana of less than an ounce will result in a $50 fine. For amounts less than two ounces, the fine is capped at $200.

Records can get wiped

The door is now open for retroactive expungement of misdemeanor marijuana convictions for those who have been busted for pot in the state of New York.

As stated by Gov. Cuomo, “Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all.”

Cuomo added that it was important to offer those “who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged.”

Close, but no cigar

Citywide, more than one district attorney ceased prosecution of those arrested for possession of small amounts of pot. Such was also the case in many other legal jurisdictions in the state prior to the passage of the legislation.

State legislators strived to fully legalize recreational marijuana. But their attempts fell too far short of the mark after negotiations between the New York Senate, Assembly and Gov. Cuomo.

Marshaled forces beat back legalization

Lawmakers in some of the more suburban and rural counties opposed legalization, citing concerns of pot users driving under the influence.

There are some unresigned matters surrounding how marijuana will be regulated and subsequently taxed. Opposition was also very strong from some medical groups, law enforcement personnel and parent-teacher associations.

What that means for you

If you got caught up in a minor pot bust in the past, you should learn how your record can get cleared of the charge. If you find yourself getting shaken down by the cops on the streets here in Brooklyn, you should be reassured that being caught with a small amount of marijuana just got a lot less serious.

Of course, it’s always better to avoid any arrests and convictions than it is to defend them and have them expunged. A hard-hitting criminal defense attorney can challenge evidence the prosecution has against you and mount a credible defense to the charges.

By : First Page Attorney | July 9, 2019 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

Vehicular manslaughter is an interesting charge, because it can be used against those who are negligent or who had criminal intentions. The individual may or may not have been intoxicated at the time of a crash.

With any vehicular manslaughter case, there are a number of penalties that can be used against those who killed someone with their vehicle. Penalties may be as little as fines and minor jail time for involuntary manslaughter, while criminal cases may land people in prison for life. It all depends on the situation and what led to the victim’s death.

What should you do if you hit someone while you’re driving?

In any case, even if you intentionally hit someone, the reality is that you need to stay at the scene. Leaving can make everything worse and result in hit-and-run charges. Fleeing can also make it appear as if the crash was intentional, even if it wasn’t. You don’t want to make the situation worse for yourself, so you should always stay and attempt to help the victim by calling 911.

There are cases where you can defend against charges, too, even if you intentionally hit someone. For example, if someone is pointing a weapon at you in your vehicle while blocking your exit and you choose to hit them to escape, there’s a chance that you could argue that you had to do that to defend yourself.

It’s best to talk to your New York attorney right away if you hit someone with your vehicle, whether it’s intentional or not. Your attorney will begin taking steps to protect you and your interests immediately. Your attorney will find out which charges you’re facing and what they can do to mitigate them. They’ll talk to you about possible plea deals and discuss if you’ll face criminal charges or only claims from the family.

Every case is different, so it’s essential that your attorney is on board early enough to help. The type of charge you’ll face depends solely on the facts that surround your case. The way you act will have an impact on the claims people make against you, and it’s essential that your attorney is there to help you defend your name and character.

There is a high potential for a long prison sentence with any conviction for killing another person. Protect yourself by making sure you don’t speak to the police without your attorney present.

By : First Page Attorney | June 18, 2019 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Monday, April 22, 2019.

Any adult who is going to head out to an event with alcohol should make sure that they plan for getting home. Trying to make it home after a few drinks can be a dangerous proposition, not only because of the risk of criminal charges if you are stopped by the police, but due to the chance of being involved in an accident.

Many people don’t realize what a large problem drunk driving is. There is gruesome news when it comes to the number of people who die in alcohol-related crashes. This number has decreased by around 48 percent since 1982. When you consider only people under 21, the number of drunk driving fatalities has decreased by around 80 percent.

Scope of the issue

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that there were an estimated 10,874 people who died in drunk driving crashes in which a driver had a blood alcohol concentration of at least .08 percent. Around 7,368 of those were associated with a driver who had a BAC of at least .15 percent.

The only way that these crashes can be prevented is if people drinking alcohol find a designated driver, use ridesharing or take public transit home. These deaths are one of the reasons why police officers take such a harsh stance against drunk drivers.

Legal actions

A person who is driving while they are impaired by alcohol, drugs or any substance can face criminal charges for their actions. While a drunk driving charge is difficult to cope with, it is also possible that they will face other criminal charges if they are in an accident. These are possible if there is a serious injury or fatality caused by the wreck.

In the case of a fatal wreck, the driver could be charged with vehicular manslaughter. This can lead to considerable time in prison, as well as other possible sentences. This also comes with the knowledge that your decision to drive drunk led to someone losing their life.

Some drunk driving fatalities result in the driver being the defendant in not only a criminal case, but also a civil case. This occurs if the family members seek compensation for the loss of their loved one.

Anyone who is accused of drunk driving that leads to a fatal accident shouldn’t waste time before starting on their defense strategy. They need to review the evidence against them and work on finding ways to call the New York prosecutor’s claims into question.

By : First Page Attorney | April 22, 2019 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Monday, February 25, 2019.

The only surefire way to avoid a criminal charge for DUI is to avoid drinking and driving. Unfortunately, since many people make the mistake of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, you never know when you could find yourself in serious trouble with the law.

Although every type of DUI charge is serious, as it can impact your life in many ways, a misdemeanor is the lowest level. With this type of charge, you’re less likely to face a serious penalty, such as jail time.

However, there are times when a misdemeanor DUI can turn into a felony. Here are three circumstances when this could happen:

Your DUI causes injury or death: For example, if you cause an accident that injures another person, such as a pedestrian, prosecutors may seek to elevate your misdemeanor charge to a felony.
Previous DUI conviction: Most first-time DUIs are charged as a misdemeanor, but things change if you already have a conviction (or more than one) on your record. The legal system is not nearly as kind to habitual drunk drivers, as it shows that you didn’t learn your lesson the first time.
Issues with your driver’s license: This can include things such as driving on a revoked or suspended license, regardless of the original cause of the punishment.
If you’re charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, it’s better to face misdemeanor charges than a felony. In New York, for example, a misdemeanor DUI is most likely to result in a license suspension and/or fine, although you could face up to one year in jail.

Conversely, if your misdemeanor charge turns into a felony, you could face up to four years in prison.

What should you do after a DUI arrest?

Once the dust begins to settle, collect all of the information pertaining to your arrest and subsequent processing. This will provide you with a clear idea of where things stand and what comes next.

This is also a good time to learn more about common DUI defense strategies, as the right one can help you avoid a conviction and the punishment that follows.

Knowledge of your legal rights is a must, as it’s up to you to take steps to protect yourself.

Browse our website and blog for more information on DUI charges, defense strategies and other details pertaining to your legal rights.

By : First Page Attorney | February 25, 2019 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

When you receive drunk driving charges, it may seem like you don’t have any options, especially if you failed a Breathalyzer test. it is certainly understandable to feel this way, but you may find that you have more opportunities to fight your charges than you realize. In most instances, a strong legal defense can help you keep your rights secure while fighting to reduce your charges or dismiss them altogether.

You may even have grounds to challenge the results of a Breathalyzer test, depending on the circumstances surrounding your charges and the evidence you can gather. It is always wise to learn as much as you can about the evidence the prosecution has against you, but you must act quickly. Otherwise, you may run out of time to review it and build a strong legal strategy. Without a strong defense, it is very difficult to avoid harsh punishment for drunk driving charges.

The reliability of the testing device

Even when Breathalyzer devices are properly calibrated, they do not produce flawless results. There are some examples of defendants seeing their cases thrown out because they challenged the reliability of the results in their calibrated form. This is not at all common, but it is good to understand the limits of a Breathalyzer’s accuracy.

Many different factors may affect the Breathalyzer’s accuracy and give you opportunities to challenge your results. Often, the device is poorly maintained or calibrated, which can produce unreliable readings.

If you have any reason to believe that the device used in your stop was not properly calibrated or maintained, be sure to consider this as you build your defense. You might also allege that the arresting officer did not properly operate the device if you can justify it.

Questioning the arresting officer’s conduct

In some cases, your arresting officer may not follow the law during your arrest. This could mean that they violate your rights in some way, or that they do not follow protocol while assessing your sobriety and making the arrest.

Always be sure to review each detail of your arrest, gathering as much documentation and evidence as you can to build your defense. The more energy and attention you pay to your defense, the more likely you are to find strong legal tools to protect your rights.

By : First Page Attorney | January 2, 2019 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Friday, November 2, 2018.

When it comes to how they affect your life, criminal charges are an extremely serious matter. Even a low level conviction can have some unexpected consequences.

Higher level charges, such as a felony, will often include penalties such as prison time and probation. In addition, you might find that you have trouble getting a job, renting an apartment and various other activities that used to be normal and easy.

The financial consequences of a criminal conviction can devastate your pocketbook and affect you for years. Here are a few ways a criminal record is financially damaging.

Court fees

In many areas, even New York, criminal convictions carry a financial cost. For instance, even a speeding ticket comes with a minimum fine that you will have to pay. And, the more serious the offense, the higher the fines. A simple case can cost several hundred dollars and more serious cases can cost the offender thousands.


As mentioned above, employment can become an issue if you are facing criminal charges or already have a conviction on your record. For example, if you have to take time off of work to go to court, your employer might decide to fire you due to your absences.

If you have a conviction, it could be difficult to find a job where the boss is willing to hire someone with a criminal record. You could suffer a loss of income and become unable to comply with the conditions of your probation, such as having a job. As a result, you could face more jail time due to a probation violation.

Other financial issues

Having to pay high court fines, legal fees and possibly losing your job, could have a domino effect on your finances. For example, if you have a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction, you could lose your license which could keep you from driving to work and result in the loss of your job.

If you lose your job, you may not be able to make the required payments toward your court fees. This could cause the court to charge you with additional offenses and impose more penalties which will further damage your ability to earn income.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to remember that you still have rights. With a proper defense, you might be able to win your case and avoid the long-lasting financial consequences of having a criminal record.

By : First Page Attorney | November 2, 2018 | Uncategorized


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC on Monday, September 10, 2018.

In Harlem recently, a 37-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic who worked as a delivery person for Papa John’s was shot and killed as he rode his bicycle to the pizza shop.

The deliveryman was killed on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at approximately 10:30 p.m. His alleged attacker, 29, was arrested on Sept. 1 and charged with murder, assault, weapons charges and menacing. The Harlem man’s arraignment was scheduled for later that same day.

Nabbed with a warrant

New York Police Department (NYPD) officers with the Warrants squad picked up the defendant after someone identified him from the video. Although it remains unclear what directed police attention to the suspect, the two individuals had previously had an acrimonious relationship, it was reported.

Caught on tape

The video of the attack indicates that the deliveryman did not anticipate the shooter’s violence. He leisurely rides his bicycle up to the Papa John’s restaurant on Amsterdam Ave. at West 145th St. at about 10:30 p.m. He never sees the alleged shooter behind him as he dismounts from the bike. Police believe the shooter had been following his target on the street.

The video shows a couple of men confront him in the street as his leg swings off his bike. Then, a shadowy figure seems to extend an arm towards him right before he collapses onto the sidewalk underneath of the bicycle.

Emergency responders transported the mortally wounded man to Harlem Hospital. According to police, he succumbed to his injuries after arrival.

Clarity of evidence a factor in defense

Anyone who has ever viewed grainy surveillance video footage knows that it is often impossible to make out the action in the frame, let alone identify the alleged suspect in an attack. This is especially true when the recording takes place outside at night, with figures who are partially shrouded in shadows.

Without being privy to all of the evidence in this particular case, it’s impossible to judge the strength or weakness of the prosecution’s case against this specific defendant. However, it’s a good example of evidence that can definitely be challenged in court.

As evidence, eyewitness testimony is also notoriously unreliable and subjective. Police and prosecutors can “lead” a witness to “remember” things they supposedly saw that coincidentally dovetails with the details of the suspect they have already arrested.

Stalwart defense can lead to acquittal

It’s never possible to predict with any degree of accuracy how a jury will rule on any given case. But mounting evidentiary challenges and casting doubt on eyewitness recollections can plant the necessary seeds of doubt that may cause juries to find defendants not guilty of serious charges.

By : First Page Attorney | September 10, 2018 | Uncategorized

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I am attorney Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., and my firm is located in downtown Brooklyn near the Borough Hall and Jay Street stops. The Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, offers free initial consultations to individuals living within all five New York City boroughs. You can reach me at any hour of the day or night, regardless of the complexity of your issue.

To schedule your initial consultation or to learn more about my firm, call 718-596-1829 or complete the lawyer contact form below.