On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Friday, December 20, 2019.

Police have begun upping their patrol in various parts of Manhattan over the past few days. They’ve done so to put an end to a recent uptick in robberies that have occurred in the city in the past few weeks. Many of these crimes remain unsolved at this time.

The stepped-up patrol began soon after the Dec. 12 murder of a Barnard College freshman in Morningside Park. It wasn’t long after that victim’s stabbing death that police announced that they were seeking to find out if anyone in the public had witnessed two other robberies that happened in the same park 10 days prior.

Detectives investigating these crimes determined that these offenses were all carried out similarly. This is when police set out to identify the criminal element operating in the area.

The first robbery that occurred happened near the dog park at around 4:40 p.m. A police spokesperson notes that at least one of two male suspects approached their victim and brandished a pocket knife. The individual who was accosted punched their would-be assailant and took off running to get away.

In the second instance moments later, two male suspects reportedly accosted a deliveryman and stole his scooter, phone and cash after first brandishing a knife much like a gun.

A New York Police Department (NYPD) spokesperson has noted that they have plans to install more lighting and to up their patrols in and around Columbia University in the Morningside Heights area of Manhattan. They hope that their increased presence will deter criminals from committing crimes and make residents feel safe once again.

The NYPD has an abundance of resources at its disposal to track down individuals who are suspected of committing crimes. They’re particularly keen on identifying and capturing those who have carried out violent criminal offenses such as battery, robbery, assault and murder.

If you’ve been charged when one of these criminal offenses, then you probably have a lot of questions about your future. An attorney can get the answers you need so that you can make the most informed decision about how to proceed in your New York case.

By : First Page Attorney | December 20, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

For years, legal professionals have used forensic science to prosecute criminals who have committed violent crimes. Sadly, the science used to prove suspects’ guilt has also been used to incriminate innocent people. Many cases are built around the results obtained from certain forensic testing methods of evidence found at the crime scene. The problem lies in the fact that some testing methods have not been scientifically validated to yield accurate or reliable results. These tests include the following:

Shoe print comparison

Hair follicle analyzing

Tire print analysis

Comparative bullet lead analysis

Reading of burn marks in arson cases

While some of these tests at one time were thought to provide accurate findings, newer research shows that they can provide wrong results in some cases.

According to the Innocence Project, misused forensic science was involved in 45% of cases that were overturned after DNA evidence proved the person convicted of committing the crime was actually innocent. In some cases, the way the scientific results were presented to the jury or judge were thought to be misleading. Lab technicians and scientists may make errors when conducting certain tests, leading to bad results as well. Yet, these results may be presented in court as accurate and reliable findings.

In addition to bad results obtained from the misuse of forensic tests, lab technicians and scientists may intentionally mess up the testing to alter results. All of the test results presented in court have a direct impact in the incrimination of the suspect on trial. When the person is innocent, it may contribute to their wrongful conviction.

By : First Page Attorney | October 15, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Friday, August 30, 2019.

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution entitles you to a speedy and public trial for any criminal charges you face. New York statutes of limitations are partly inspired by this idea.

The statutes of limitations are laws that limit the amount of time that a prosecutor has to file charges against you. However, certain situations might extend this time limit.

Your rights are of the utmost importance. That is why these laws are in place: to preserve your ability to gather the evidence necessary to defend yourself. However, the government has balanced the rights of defendants against the rights of victims. This results in longer time limits for more serious charges.

The time limit for a prosecutor to bring charges generally starts after the crime is discovered. As listed on FindLaw, here are some examples of legal time limits:

One year for many misdemeanors
Three years for violations committed against minors under fourteen
Three years for offenses they could carry prison sentences
Six years for charges they could have eight or more years in prison
Unlimited for murder, heinous crimes and embezzlement of public
The requirements for the prosecution to prove a case against you are relatively strict in New York courts. However, you would typically find that the quality and quantity of evidence available to support your defense decreases over time. Understanding the statute of limitations and the unique influence it has over a case’s outcome is often one of the key elements of a complete criminal defense strategy.

All crimes require a personalized and stringent defense, especially violent crimes with extreme penalties and long time limits for filing charges. Therefore, please do not use this as legal advice. It is only meant to inform you.

By : First Page Attorney | August 30, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Sunday, June 9, 2019.

If you have never heard of the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, but find yourself facing criminal charges in New York, you should educate yourself about this important legal doctrine that could play an important part in the defense you and your attorney mount. explains that the U.S. Supreme Court established the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine in Nardone v. United States, a 1939 case for which Justice Felix Frankfurtur wrote the majority opinion.

What the metaphor means

It likely will not surprise you to learn that the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine is a metaphor having nothing to do with actual fruit or trees. What this metaphor means is that law enforcement officers cannot benefit from any evidence (fruit) they collect from a poisonous tree (an unconstitutional search and seizure). The judge must throw out any such evidence they recover and neither they nor anyone else can use it against you in court.

Fourth Amendment

If you have not recently reviewed your American history, you need to know that the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantees your right to remain free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This Amendment constitutes the basis from which the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine flows.

Despite the fact that neither the Amendment nor any U.S. law or court case has ever precisely defined the meaning of “unreasonable,” courts have long since established that a warrantless search almost always falls squarely into this category. Additional criteria can also apply, such as a search procedure that contaminates the evidence gathered. Your criminal defense attorney undoubtedly has become well versed in making a fruit and tree challenge to evidence. If (s)he successfully challenges the evidence in your case, the State will lose its supposed evidence and the judge will have no choice other than to dismiss the charges against you.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

By : First Page Attorney | June 9, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Friday, May 24, 2019.

New York is being hailed as a progressive leader in justice system reform with the recent signing of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act. According to MEAWW, the law considers the abuse history of someone who is accused of committing a crime against their abuser. It allows judges to consider the history of abuse to provide more lenient sentences to the accused.

There are still strict sentencing guidelines and many judges may use the history to offer alternative to incarceration programs or shorter sentences. In the past, any crime committed was treated separately from who it was committed against. This means that a domestic violence victim who hurt or killed their abuser would still be charged with a harsh crime even though they were being abused. Judges could not formerly use the history of abuse when determining sentences.

Supporters of the act feel it will lead to more humane sentencing. It requires that the crime be committed during the period of abuse and the domestic violence must have been a large part of the defense. The judge will also consider whether former sentencing guidelines were extremely harsh for the situation when determining new sentences.

The law does not apply to those convicted of sex offenses, aggravated murder, terrorism offenses or murder in the first degree. Those who have already been sentenced but want to request re-sentencing must be facing an original sentence longer than eight years and they must be currently incarcerated because of the offense. As research suggests that domestic violence is a large factor in many crimes and that some would not have committed a crime if it were not for the abuse, supporters hope that the state can become an example for other states to provide more appropriate sentencing guidelines.

By : First Page Attorney | May 24, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Monday, May 13, 2019.

The perception amongst many in New York is that violent crimes are limited to those that involve actual physical confrontations between individuals. In reality, a violent crime can be one where no action was taken, yet great fear and intimidation was inferred. You are probably familiar with the age-old saying of “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” In the eyes of the law, that statement is most definitely untrue.

Per Section 490.20 of New York’s Penal Code, you can be prosecuted for making terroristic threats. These are threats intended to cause the reasonable fear or expectation that terrorist actions are imminent. In the context of this law, terrorist actions are defined as:

Intimidating or coercing a civilian population
Influencing the policy of a unit of government by intimidation or coercion
Affecting the action of a unit of government by murder, assassination or kidnapping
As you can see, these actions differ from the more commonly city offenses of inciting panic by yelling fire in a theater. Terroristic threats must be detailed in their description and targeted at a very specific audience. Such a charge could leave you facing a Class D felony.

The common defense to accusations of making threats is that you never intended to follow up on them. However, in the case of terroristic threats, you can be found guilty of making them even if you show that you never did intend on carrying them out. Instead, challenging such allegations will likely come down to you showing that any statement you are accused of making was not targeted at a particular individual or group and this was taken out of context.

By : First Page Attorney | May 13, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Sunday, April 21, 2019.

If you are facing criminal charges related to violent crime in New York, the judge and jury will take not only the facts of your case into consideration but also your state of mind as you allegedly performed the acts resulting in the charges. Intentional actions to harm someone else can result in more serious penalties, so the prosecution will be attempting to prove that you had a motive for allegedly acting in a way that could cause harm to one or more others. At the same time, you and your attorney will likely try to cast doubt upon the intent behind your actions. According to FindLaw, the legal term for one’s state of mind while allegedly committing a crime is mens rea, which translates from Latin to “guilty mind.”

The question of mens rea comes down to whether you intended to break the law and/or behave in a way that would cause harm to others. For example, if you injure or kill someone as a result of a motor vehicle accident but made attempts to avoid the collision, you are unlikely to face criminal charges, although you may be liable for monetary damages in civil court. It would, however, be a different matter if you actively sought out an individual to hit with your car and accelerated to hit him or her with the most force possible.

However, there are situations in which carelessness can reach criminal levels. For example, leaving flammable materials, sharp objects or weapons out in the open where a child may access them may constitute reckless negligence even if there was no intent to cause harm because a reasonable adult should understand that a child could do himself or herself an injury with access to such objects.

It is also important to note that ignorance of the fact that a particular action was illegal is unlikely to serve as an adequate defense against a charge of violent crime. In the first place, a jury is unlikely to believe it, and in the second place, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. If it were, it would undermine the effectiveness of the legal system because people could avoid any penalty simply by failing to learn the law.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

By : First Page Attorney | April 21, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Monday, March 4, 2019.

In many court trials across the United States, eyewitnesses are used to identify potential perpetrators of a crime. Suspects and fillers are made to stand in a lineup, while the eyewitness makes a physical identification. The problem lies in the fact that errors in the lineup identification process can lead to wrongful convictions and innocent people may be sent to prison for a crime they did not commit. According to the Innocence Project, 346 people were exonerated of their crimes after DNA evidence proved their innocence. Approximately 70 percent of those cases involved eyewitness identification and listed it as a contributing factor to the conviction error.

There are a myriad of things that can go wrong when witnesses are asked to choose a suspect from a lineup. First, the lineup administrator may inadvertently lead the witness to choose a specific person. Furthermore, the lineup may be organized in a way that promotes a person to stand out from the others. For example, if the suspect of a crime was said to have long hair and a tattoo, there should be more than one person in the lineup matching these characteristics. The witness should also be told that the suspect may or may not be present in the lineup, so he or she does not feel inclined to choose someone. Finally, all lineup procedures should be recorded so the judge and jury can review the process to ensure the procedures were handled correctly.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

By : First Page Attorney | March 4, 2019 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Monday, December 10, 2018.

If you allegedly steal something in New York, you could face criminal theft, robbery or burglary charges depending on what law enforcement officials allege you did and the way in which you allegedly did it. While all three of these white collar theft crimes are similar in nature, FindLaw explains that each one is a distinct separate crime.

If you face theft charges per se, you may discover that your ticket or charging document says larceny instead of theft. The two words are synonyms and mean that you allegedly stole someone’s personal property, intending to permanently deprive him or her of it.


A robbery charge means not only that you allegedly stole someone’s personal property with the intent to permanently deprive him or her of it, but also that you threatened your alleged victim with a weapon such as a gun or knife. Your alleged victim must have believed that you would do him or her bodily harm if (s)he did not relinquish the property to you.


Surprisingly, you need not steal anything at all to receive a burglary conviction. All the prosecutor must prove is that you entered a building illegally for the purpose of committing a crime once inside. It makes no different whether you intended to steal something. You could have intended to commit another crime instead. Nor does it make any difference if you actually carried out your intent. All the prosecutor must prove is your illegal entry and your intent.

This is general educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

By : First Page Attorney | December 10, 2018 | Violent Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in violent crimes on Friday, November 23, 2018.

If you are being charged for the accidental or unplanned death of someone, it is important to understand the charges you are facing. In New York, you might be charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, depending on the nature of the fatality.

As FindLaw explains, manslaughter pertains to the unlawful killing of another person without malice, meaning you did not plan the death of that person ahead of time. Involuntary manslaughter involves the fatality of someone during an either lawful act or an unlawful act without being a felony, that resulted in the death due to negligent or reckless actions. For example, you and your friends might have been drag racing on a deserted street late at night, and one car crashed, killing a passenger. Nobody planned for the friend to die, but everyone’s reckless actions could qualify as contributing to involuntary manslaughter.

On the other hand, voluntary manslaughter results from an intentional act of anger, or the “heat of passion,” in which an attack was intentional but not planned out. A man who immediately strikes out with a weapon at another man at a bar who insulted the first man’s sister could be charged with voluntary manslaughter. As you can see, the fatality resulted from an intentional violent act, despite the person not necessarily meaning to kill the other.

Any criminal charge resulting from a person’s death, whether voluntary or not, should be considered serious. Therefore, this post is not meant as legal advice and should not be substituted for experienced counsel.

By : First Page Attorney | November 23, 2018 | Violent Crimes

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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.

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