If you are arrested and charged with any crime, it’s vital to understand the Constitutional rights that come into play for you in this situation. The first is your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. This Amendment prevents those accused of crimes from having to effectively act as witnesses against themselves. You are under no legal obligation to answer any questions from the police during arrest and booking, no matter what they may say otherwise.
The second Constitutional right that comes into play after arrest is the Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel. Every American citizen has the right to defense representation when they are charged with any criminal offense. If they cannot afford to hire a private defense attorney or do not wish to incur private attorneys’ fees, they can secure legal representation free of charge by allowing the court to assign a public defender to represent them.
The majority of public defenders working in New York are very talented and hardworking attorneys, but their jobs require them to handle multiple cases at a time. This provides very little flexibility to provide any one client with much individual attention. If you are able to do so, hiring a private criminal defense attorney can offer a higher degree of legal representation.
Before agreeing to any attorney’s representation, you should take time to do some research into your options, if possible. Time is often a critical factor after an arrest, so you may not have the luxury of spending much time researching your options. However you manage to narrow down your list of options, it’s important to know how to find a good criminal attorney in New York who is capable of handling the complexities of your case.
As you review a potential defense lawyer, there are a few key characteristics that require consideration:
You may need to ask a potential defense attorney several questions over the phone after your arrest. Some individuals may be booked and released on their own recognizance, required to return to court at a specified time. If you have this flexibility, take the time to find an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible who can represent you through your criminal case.
The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your case. If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime you did not commit, it’s vital to work closely with your attorney to gather exculpatory evidence and/or establish an alibi that helps you clear your name. If you did break the law, your attorney will likely focus on citing procedural missteps made by the police and prosecutors that may cause your case to be dismissed. Otherwise, they will likely focus on plea bargaining and other methods of reducing your sentence.
Criminal penalties for conviction in New York range in severity based on the nature of the offense, the scope of the defendant’s behavior regarding the offense in question, and their prior criminal history. A good criminal defense attorney will help their client determine the best ways to minimize their penalties or to have their charges dropped if at all possible. Ultimately, every criminal case is unique, and you need a criminal defense lawyer who is flexible, experienced, and ready to handle whatever variables happen to be in play in your case.
A: Ask questions that help you determine the attorney’s experience level, availability to handle your case, and the defense strategy they intend to employ on your behalf. You should also find out how to stay in touch with the attorney as your case unfolds and how they bill their services.
A: Jail time may be unavoidable in some cases. If a defendant is charged with a particularly heinous or violent crime, they will likely be required to remain in lockup until their court date, especially if they have prior convictions. Jail time may also be an element of sentencing if they are convicted. Your defense attorney can potentially minimize the time you spend in jail during the preliminary stages of your case in various ways, and they will also help you avoid incarceration as a term of sentencing if it is possible for them to do so.
A: Most criminal defense attorneys will charge their clients by the hour, and they will log their time in ten or fifteen-minute increments. Depending on the attorney’s hourly rate, the cost of their defense representation may be quite expensive for a very time-consuming case. Ultimately, the more time your attorney must spend working on your case, the more expensive your legal fees are likely to be.
A: The time required to complete a criminal case depends on many factors, and the court system of New York is one of the busiest in the country. Your defense attorney can provide a reasonable estimate as to the amount of time your case is likely to require before reaching a conclusion. Some criminal cases, typically those pertaining to very minor offenses, may wrap up within a few weeks or a month or two, while others can take much longer.
If you face any criminal charge in New York and need an experienced defense attorney to represent you, contact the Vitaliano Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule a consultation with our team.