Rapping About Crimes in New York — Can You Be Arrested?
For better or for worse, gang culture has become inexorably linked to rap music. Not all rappers are criminals, and not all gang members rap about their crimes — but there’s no denying that rap music often includes violent, graphic descriptions of various offenses. But can a criminal court hold you accountable for your rap music in Westchester County? Could your rap music be used against you in a criminal trial — helping to put you behind bars for murder, assault, and gun crimes? This is one of the most interesting criminal justice debates of our generation, and the answer to these questions may surprise you.
Senate Bill S7527
Back in 2022, the New York State Senate passed legislation that would limit prosecutors’ ability to use rap lyrics as evidence in criminal cases. This came just after Young Thug’s trial, in which the prosecution heavily cited his lyrics to achieve an indictment. Senate Bill 27527 — otherwise known as the “Rap Music on Trial” bill — would completely change the way we view rap music in criminal cases. This is the first bill of its kind in the entire nation, and it has already been applauded by high-profile rappers like Jay-Z and Meek Mill.
The argument is that rappers are unfairly targeted while producers of other genres do not suffer the same treatment. After all, there are many instances of singers singing about shootings and violence in rock music, country music, and a range of other genres. But critics of the bill say that rap music should be viewed differently — especially when lyrics include specific details about shootings and murders that seem to suggest the defendant’s involvement.
Are raps literal statements of fact? Or are they a form of creative expression? The answer still hasn’t been completely resolved by courts in New York and across the United States.
The Bill Still Hasn’t Passed
With all that said, it’s important to note that as of this writing, the bill still hasn’t passed into law. It must go through the state assembly before rap music becomes inadmissible as evidence in court. This means that as it stands, rap music can be used against you in a criminal trial — and this may pose serious issues for your case. Because of this, it makes sense to work with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney who can push back, arguing that your lyrics are expressions of art rather than literal statements.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Criminal Defense Attorney in White Plains?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney in New York, look no further than Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law. Over the years, we have guided numerous defendants toward positive results in White Plains. One of the most effective steps you can take is to make sure that inadmissible evidence is not introduced in court. With our help, you can keep your rap lyrics and other potentially incriminating evidence out of the courtroom — ensuring fair results. Book your consultation today to get started with a solid defense strategy.
Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law
188 East Post Road, Suite 300
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 772-8614
If you have further questions about this article or legal concerns, call 800-672-3103
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