Criminal Law
2024 What to Do If You Are Facing Criminal Charges in New York?

2024 What to Do If You Are Facing Criminal Charges in New York?

On Behalf of vitalianolaw | Dec 12, 2023 |

Facing any type of criminal charges can be overwhelming. From the potential penalties that you could face to the impacts on your reputation in the community, an accusation alone can leave you feeling isolated. However, an accusation is not the same as a conviction. If you are charged with a criminal offense, a New York criminal defense lawyer can make a difference in the outcome of your case.

At The Vitaliano Law Firm, we want to help you beat your charges. Knowing a few critical steps to take after an arrest could keep you out of jail and prove your innocence.

Immediately Contact an Attorney

Immediately upon arrest, you should be Mirandized, which is the process by which you are informed of your arrest and the rights granted to you by the Constitution. Among these rights is the right to legal representation. This is one of your most important rights, and you should use it right away. When you have an attorney by your side from the beginning of your case, they are able to investigate it from the onset.

Attorneys can help keep track of evidence, examine witness statements, and prevent you from taking a bad deal from the prosecution. Prosecutors seek to convict those they charge, and that can sometimes mean convincing criminal defendants to take unnecessary or unfair deals.

Keep a Calm Demeanor

It is human instinct to defend oneself. Whether you committed the crime or not, becoming agitated or aggressive with police or prosecutors will not help your case. Often, it is these entities that are aggressive with their questioning tactics. They do this to put pressure on you, hoping that you will slip up and say something that may be damaging or self-incriminating. In addition, when you are agitated, you may appear to be guilty if you resist.

The Right to Remain Silent

Another right that you have through the Mirandizing process is the right to remain silent. As granted by the Fifth Amendment, this means that you do not have to answer any questions or make any statements to prosecutors or law enforcement without the presence of your attorney. Speaking to your attorney first should be a priority. Some people think that refusing to answer questions makes you appear guilty. In fact, it is one of the ways in which you can prove your innocence.

By calmly asking for your attorney before questioning, you can have someone examine the details of the case. Ensure that your attorney has all the relevant information. They can then advise you on how to answer the questions and which ones should be answered.

Understand the Accusation Against You

First, make sure that you understand the crime you are charged with. The specific charge or charges you face could mean the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. Both types of charges have significantly different outcomes, though they both will impact your criminal record. Misdemeanors, however, will result in lower penalties. Fines will be minimal, and you may or may not face any jail time.

If your crime is considered a felony and you are convicted, it could impact your ability to own a weapon, employ with certain companies, and more.

Meet Your Court Dates

If your charges are considered a misdemeanor, your attorney may be able to represent you in court. However, if you face a felony charge, then your presence in court is required. Missing court dates can be costly, as you could face a warrant that requires you to be located and brought before a judge because you were not present upon your initial request. This can add to the appearance that you may be guilty.

Remain Honest With Your Attorney

This may be the most important part of preparing for a criminal prosecution. You may not want to admit guilt to your attorney. However, your attorney is on your side and cannot defend you if they don’t know all the details. By remaining honest with your attorney, they can anticipate any complications in your case and prepare for them. It is also important to remember that you and your attorney share confidentiality agreements.


Q: How Do You Drop Charges in NY?

A: The circumstances of any case will determine the course of action your attorney can take. However, in many cases, your attorney may first seek to have your charges dropped. This can be done by proving that:

  • Your rights were violated.
  • It is a case of mistaken identity.
  • You could not have reasonably committed the crime.

This can be proven through an alibi, witness statements, or other evidence.

Q: How Long Does It Take for a Case to Go to Trial in New York?

A: The type of criminal charge that you are facing could have a determination in how quickly the case is tried. Felony charges average around 13 months after an arrest for the trial to take place, whereas a misdemeanor will move forward within about 90 days. The discrepancy often revolves around the necessary time it takes for an attorney to prepare for the trial.

Q: What Is the 45-Day Indictment Rule in NY?

A: A judge may hold a preliminary trial, at which both the prosecution and the defense present their case. If there is a determination that sufficient evidence exists to move forward with the criminal trial, the prosecution has an additional 45 days to file charges. After that, a presentation to the grand jury must occur. Most prosecutors seek to avoid this and go straight to a grand jury hearing.

Q: What Are the Levels of Crime in NY?

A: New York classifies crimes by either misdemeanor or felony. Felony crimes are classified by letters A through E. Class A felonies are the most serious and could result in life imprisonment. Class E felonies are the least serious, but they could still carry significant prison time. Misdemeanors are classified as A, B, or unclassified. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, and unclassified misdemeanors apply to crimes such as DUI.

Contact Our New York Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of a crime, it is important that you understand how to appropriately navigate the legal system. Without such precautions, you could be facing significant penalties that you otherwise shouldn’t have to. If you have questions about any criminal charges that you may be facing, contact the defense team at The Vitaliano Law Firm today.