Defining Illegal Behavior: Felonies Vs. Misdemeanors Vs. Infractions

The common criminal law abolished by most states is defining illegal behavior depending on the severity of the crime. A criminal offense may be a felony, misdemeanor or an infraction.  Let’s try to explain each type of the offense and make difference between them.


Felonies are considered to be the most serious class of offense throughout the United States because they typically violate the moral standards of the community. Felonies are usually punishable by fines, imprisonment in a state prison lasting more that one year or both. Felonies include:

  • terrorism
  • murder
  • arson
  • kidnapping
  • rape
  • treason and others.

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Easy way to get rich – easy way to jail. Larceny Or Theft Is Not A Solution!

rrrrrrrrrrrrThe modern media popularizes the life of reach and beautiful. Everyone would like to have a better live and sometimes the desire of having more money or goods may lead to unlawful criminal actions. Some people think that stealing is the easiest way to get richer and that is the reason why larceny or theft are committed so often.

Criminal law basically categorizes larceny as a form of theft that means taking of someone else’s property without using force from the location different from their home.


Larceny consists of unlawful taking of person’s property and carrying it away. In this case someone else’s property means that the larceny occurs when the property belongs to someone else. If the property is co-owned and it was stolen from the co-owners by another one, it is also larceny. Larceny occurs without the owner’s consent, what means that the owner didn’t give his approval to remove the property, and the taker’s intent is to permanently deprive the owner of use of his or her property.

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DNA test without a warrant

The Court has decided the police can sample your DNA without a warrant. Thus, anyone arrested for a felony, even the individuals who were never convicted, can now be tested. The tests’ results are uploaded to state and federal crime database.

Pros and cons

Some law agencies hope DNA testing can be a reliable identification tool rather than names, appearance and fingerprints. Proponents say it is a valuable tool which can investigate unsolved crimes. It can also help separate violent offenders from other people. For example, a Maryland study shows that 20 crimes could have been prevented if just 3 arrested were sampled.

Opponents claim it violates the Fourth Amendment which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. As a result, in a number of state and federal courts there were cases when the law faced conflicting results. The case by the Maryland Court of Appeals held the practice unconstitutional. It happened earlier this year. A DNA sample was taken from a man who was arrested in 2009 on assault. It matched evidence from an unsolved rape. Later on, he was convicted and charged by the state based on the match.

Removing your DNA data

If you have been arrested for a felony you did not commit, you can have your records removed from the database. Only eight states offer automatic deletion of these records. In the remaining 17 states arrestees must contact authorities to ask that their records be removed.

More information here:

Former Goldman Programmer Sues for Recovery of Legal Fees in Criminal Case


In a very interesting turn of events, a former Goldman Sachs Programmer has sued his former employer for the recovery of legal expended in the defense of criminal charges that had been brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for theft of trade secrets and transportation of stolen propert.

Sergey Aleynikov, a 42 year old man from West Orange, New Jersey had been charged with two felony counts of theft of the investment bank’s confidential computer code for its high speed trading system.  He had been convicted n the federal charges and had served nearly one year of an eight year prison sentence before the case was overturned by a federal appeals court in February.

On Tuesday, September 25th, Mr. Aleynikov filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Federal Court against Goldman Sachs seeking attorney fees and expenses for his prior criminal case and advancement of legal fees for the current case that had been recently brought against him by the State of New York.  As part of the lawsuit, Mr. Aleynikov is seeking $2.38 million in fees and expenses he said he incurred in defending the first criminal case.

In the lawsuit, Kevin Marino, Mr. Aleynikov’s lawyer, said his client is entitled to have his legal fees paid by Goldman because he was an officer of the company at the time of the alleged incident. He was vice president in Goldman’s Global Equities Division when he left the company at the end of June 2009.

For further information, please refer to the Wall Street Journal BlogPosting written by Chad Bray entitled: Ex-Goldman Programmer Seeks Legal Fees from Investment Bank.  We find this to be a very interesting case and will continue to follow its progress.