7 Steps You Need to Know
Vigorously Defending You from Start to Finish
According to New York state law, the police can only arrest a person if they have “probable cause” or “reasonable suspicion” that a person has committed a crime. Remember that a police officer cannot enter your home to arrest you unless he has obtained consent to enter your home, is in “hot pursuit” in the course of a chase or has an arrest warrant authorized from a Judge.
After an arrest, a person has the absolute right to remain silent and refuse to make any statements. It is a common, yet usually wrong, belief, that it would be beneficial to tell your side of the story to the police. If the police department is questioning you or asks you to come to the precinct to talk, chances are, you will be arrested. This is problematic since it unnecessarily gives the police and prosecutor a preview of your defense and a source of information, which can be used against you in court.
This refers to your first court appearance after the arrest. You are advised of the charges that the District Attorney has filed against you and the Judge decides whether and how much bail will be set or whether you will be released on your own recognizance.
In deciding the issue of bail, a Court will take into consideration whether the person is likely to return to Court during the case. The Judge will be looking at the persons “rap sheet”, which contains the criminal history and prior dealing with the court system. The stronger connections you have to the New York community, such as family residing in New York, a job in New York, etc…the greater likelihood that lower bail will be set or that you will be released without any bail. If bail is set, a Judge can set bail to be paid in cash or by a bond, through a bail bondsman. Although a Court is permitted to take into consideration the nature of the crime, bail should not be used as a form of punishment since a person, by law, is always presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
You have the absolute right to discover, from the District Attorney, the evidence against you. Discovery includes 911 tapes, photographs, statements of witnesses , statements of the all persons arrested, police reports and relevant background information about witnesses. Different items of discovery material are available at different stages of the case. Your attorney should obtain anything that points to your guilt or innocence.
Depending upon the facts and circumstances, your criminal defense attorney will make the following motions on your behalf, when appropriate: motions to dismiss or reduce the charges, motions to dismiss the grand jury indictment, motions to suppress evidence of statements, property or identification, motions to exclude evidence, motions to exclude evidence of prior convictions or prior bad acts of the accused, motions to compel discovery, etc.
Pre-trial court appearances will address issues of discovery, motions and pre-trial hearings to suppress evidence. Pre-trial court appearances will also typically involve plea negotiations with your defense attorney, the assistant district attorney and the Judge assigned to your case.
General speedy trial time limitations: (NOTE: These time periods are not measured by the calendar alone. There are other factors which are utilized to calculate the time periods.)
Felony cases: A person has the right to a trial by jury within 180 days of the initial court appearance.
Misdemeanor cases: For class “A” misdemeanor crimes, a person has the right to a trial by jury within 90 days of the initial court appearance. For class “B” misdemeanor crimes, a person has the right to a trial within 60 days of the initial court appearance.
Violation cases: For violations, a person has the right to a trial within 30 days of the initial court appearance.
The most important ingredients in securing a successful outcome at trial are : (a) diligent preparation and (b) effective courtroom skills by the attorney.