As criminal defense lawyers most of the time we represent the rights of the accused but sometimes we are called upon to represents the right of a victim. In the typical case, the victim report a crime to the police, the police investigate, make an arrest and the case is referred to the District Attorney’s Office. The victim needs no lawyer because the prosecutor will prosecute the case and often assist the victim in getting compensation from the perpetrator or the Crime Victim’s Assistance Fund.
However, all too often, especially in New York City, criminal cases are not handled in the typical way leaving victim’s to fend for themselves. In a recent case handled by this office and as reported in the New York Post yesterday, an individual who was ripped off by a car dealership and whose signature was forged on loan documents for a car was repeatedly denied the right to make a police report by the New York City Police Department. With no police report, no investigation and no arrest its as if the crime did not occur and the victim must deal with the consequences, in this case a monthly car loan bill that he didn’t bargain for, by himself.
By getting an experience criminal defense lawyer involved we were able to file complaints, with the Bank that issued the loan, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, credit reporting agencies such as TRW, Experian and Equifax and the United States Federal Trade Commission. In addition, we are working on getting the loan rescinded. As a result of our work the Bank has already terminated its relationship with the car dealership which has more than 40 complaints against it to the New York Department of Consumer Affairs.
The practice of not taking police reports is unfortunate but also wide spread as has been reported on several occasions by the New York Post and other Newspapers. It appears to be a result of a combination of laziness, sometimes ignorance and is also a symptom of how the Police Department tracks crime statistics. Simply put, if there is no police report the crime didn’t happen so crime must be going down. But the practice endangers the public and causes inconvenience and expense for the victims.
Here is a dealership that has over 40 complaints against it and rather than investigating what is happening, the police allow this dealership to continue to rip people off. Sometimes, the consequences of not taking a report or investigating a crime can be even more severe. Its at those times that an experienced New York Criminal defense lawyer can help.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a crime, you may have important legal rights that need to be protected. You might be able to recover money from the perpetrator, a third party or from the crime victim’s assistance fund. But in order to be able to get compensated, first and foremost you will need to file a police report. In many cases, you can file the report and you will not need representation but if you feel that you are getting the run around or that you are not being taken seriously, contact this office and speak to one of our attorney’s about your rights.