Burglary Law in New York

For many people the word “burglar” is synonymous with thief. They recall memories of the Hamburglar sneaking behind trees and fences to take hamburgers. Burglary does not necessarily involve stealing and in-fact many times even if the Hamburglar was able to take the hamburgers, he would not have been convicted of burglary.

Burglary is defined by Article 140 of the New York State Penal Law as a trespass on property with the intent to commit a crime.  There are three degrees of burglary differentiated by the nature of aggravating factors but each degree contains the following two elements:

  1. Trespass and
  2. Specific intent to commit a crime within a building

A trespass is the unlawful entry or remaining on another person’s property longer than permitted by the owner or entering other areas of the property without the owner’s permission.  The vital element to burglary is entering someone’s property—not necessarily taking their things. However, what separates burglary from trespass is the requirement of the specific intent to commit a crime that may include, but is no way limited to, theft.

Specific intent means the burglar must have the desire to actually commit a crime. That desire occurs contemporaneously with the trespass. If a burglar enters a property without planning to commit a crime, but later decides to commit a crime, then either a lawful entry or a simple trespass can become a burglary at that moment. Similarly, if the person entered with the intent to commit a crime, but was unsuccessful in their execution of the crime, they still are guilty of having committed a burglary. Finally, if a person trespasses and simultaneously, but unknowingly, commits a crime, they have not committed burglary as there was no intent.

Third-Degree Burglary is the lowest level of burglary and only requires the two foregoing elements. The charge of burglary can be escalated to second-or first-degree burglary as a function various aggravating factors.

A burglary becomes a Burglary in the Second Degree when there is an added element to the building or dwelling, or while entering the building or in immediate flight from the building:  the defendant is armed with explosives or deadly weapons; or the defendant causes physical injury to a non-participant, or the  defendant displays what appears to be a firearm.

A burglary rises to the first degree when either the building is a dwelling, and while entering the building or in immediate flight from the building the defendant is either armed with explosives or deadly weapons or the defendant causes physical injury to a non-participant, or the defendant displays what appears to be a firearm.

Call a New York Criminal Attorney Today for a Free Consultation.

Being convicted of burglary, regardless of the degree, is considered a felony in New York with penalties of up to 30 years in prison or a fine equal to the greater of $5,000.00 or double the amount of the burglar’s gain from the burglary. A New York criminal attorney can properly evaluate your case and identify any possible defenses. Please call the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel at 718-575-3900 for more information today.  Stephan Jacob Siegel has tried more many burglary trials among the thousands of cases he has tried and will do everything possible to get you the best possible outcome.

Suspicious of Insurance Fraud?

Whether you are driving a vehicle on public roads or operating a business, insurance is often a requirement. Insurance can also be voluntary and provide a peace of mind to people on something as minor as booking travel arrangements. Insurance gives people peace of mind to know that in unforeseen events costs will be covered by a third party and not put you in a financial bind. Unfortunately, some people see insurance as easy money.

Insurance fraud happens when people try to take funds from insurance companies that they are not entitled to receive. Insurance fraud has a significant impact on its victims as well as all consumers of insurance. The impact of insurance fraud drives up insurance prices and consequently raises prices for goods and services. It is important to be able to recognize insurance fraud and some examples include:

  • A driver and a body shop worker agree to inflate the auto damage claim and either share the “profit” or have the deductible waived.
  • A homeowner falsely claims that their home was burglarized and that valuable items were stolen.
  • A doctor bills an insurer for services that were not provided.
  • A driver stages a fake accident, and unscrupulous doctors and lawyers help “handle” associated medical claims and lawsuits.
  • A worker collects worker’s compensation benefits while employed.

Even though you are not directly footing the bill, if you see one that is abnormally high or if you feel like people are inflating the facts of their story, you may be witnessing insurance fraud. While it may not seem to affect you directly, it is important to realize that when insurance companies pay out higher amounts, they must recoup that money through higher premium rates. Higher premium rates mean that people who are required to have insurance will automatically experience great costs to operate their business. With greater costs of operations comes the greater cost of goods.

Insurance Fraud, regardless of the degree, rarely is a stand-alone crime. For example, a person seeking to obtain money and who fills out paperwork fraudulently may face Grand Larceny charges and allegations of the falsification of certain records. If you have been accused of insurance fraud, you need a skilled white collar crime defense attorney on your side as soon as possible, as the consequences of a conviction may be serious.

Call a New York Insurance Attorney For a Free Consultation Today.

If you are under investigation or have been arrested on suspicion of insurance fraud, you should call a New York defense attorney for help. Please contact the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel at 718-575-3900 for a consultation today.

Cyber Crimes and Identity Theft

The internet has transformed society and has made everything from registering your car to shopping for groceries easier and more efficient than ever before. With the growth of benefits from the internet, however, has come the growth of cyber crime and identity theft. Identify theft is the fastest growing crime and involves stealing the information needed to access and exploit financial resources.

Lawmakers and prosecutors take cyber crime and identity theft very seriously and aggressively pursue charges and harsh sentences against alleged offenders. That being said, identity theft does occur on a regular basis and many people find themselves accused of various criminal acts related to cyber crime and identity theft.

Some accusations that may lead to identity theft charges include the following:

  • Using a phishing scheme to access personal information
  • Sending fraudulent emails or having fraudulent forms to collect information
  • Hacking into other computers or networks to get identifying information
  • Wrongfully obtaining usernames and passwords to access financial accounts
  • Selling wrongfully obtained information over the internet

White collar crime cases often involve much different evidence than cases alleging a physical or violent crime. Computers, internet history, external hard drives, and more may all be confiscated and reviewed by the authorities to build an identity theft case against you. Investigations can take a long time, so you may not be charged with a crime right away. As soon as you suspect you are under investigation, you should seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

In addition to identity theft charges, many cyber crime suspects also face accusations of conspiracy. Conspiracy occurs whenever two or more people agree to engage in unlawful activity. Many cyber criminals are part of a larger group of hackers or fraudsters and they work together to steal personal information. If you are convicted of conspiracy, it can substantially increase your sentence on top of your sentence for the underlying identity theft. Having an experienced defense lawyer on your side is critical in the face of such allegations.

Contact a New York Identity Theft Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been accused of identity theft or any other type of cyber crime, your first call should be to the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel. We are uniquely situated to understand and implement the best possible defense against charges of cyber crime, fraud, and other white collar offenses.  One of Mr. Siegel’s cousins and an excellent reference source always willing to give advice is the former chief of the Illinois State Police Computer Crime Bureau, a former Illinois State Assistant Attorney General, a federal law clerk and presently head of the cyber crime unit of a huge international business firm.  Please call our office today at 718-575-3900 for more information about how we can help with your case.