New York City Criminal Defense Lawyer

New York City Criminal Defense Lawyer

NYC Criminal Lawyer

New York City Criminal Defense Attorney

Whether you have been accused of a crime that you did not commit or have unwittingly broken the law, navigating the legal system can be overwhelming. Facing an arrest that is the result of a criminal charge makes the process that much more difficult, especially in a legal system as big as the one in New York City. The right NYC criminal lawyer can provide peace of mind and confidence as you deal with a criminal charge.

Understanding the rights you have when facing a criminal charge is essential to success in a criminal case. Knowing how your rights impact your journey through the legal system can be difficult, so working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help ease the process. Michael Vitaliano has years of extensive local experience to assist you.

Criminal Defense in New York City

When you are accused of a crime, you have the constitutional right to legal representation. It is important to invoke that right as soon as possible. Navigating the criminal justice system alone can be overwhelming, especially when so much of your future is on the line. The vastness of New York City is one of its greatest assets, but it is often a stumbling block where criminal justice is concerned. The various boroughs and counties throughout the NYC Metropolitan area can make understanding criminal proceedings in New York particularly difficult.

The entire team at The Vitaliano Law Firm provides the clients we represent with aggressive and diligent criminal defense. When you work with us for your criminal defense, we provide you with personalized and focused representation. Our firm gives you the guidance you need, looks into any potential violations of your rights, investigates the case against you, and builds the strongest defense available for your situation.

Process for a Criminal Case

Criminal cases must follow a specific order of events as they move through the justice system. If you are unfamiliar with how the legal system functions, you may find yourself feeling lost as this process unfolds. Below is a brief overview of how the proceedings of a criminal case may take place in New York City:

  • Arrest or ticketing. A formal accusation of a crime or crimes is the first step in the process. It either involves an arrest or a desk appearance ticket (DAT) and is based on evidence and statements gathered. Some cases bypass the arrest and simply serve the DAT.
  • Booking. The defendant, or person accused of the crime, is taken to central booking within 24 hours of their arrest. This is typically the time that the District Attorney is contacted. They will then file an official complaint in the appropriate court.
  • Interview. While the defendant is being held, they will likely be required to participate in an interview. The District Attorney’s office typically conducts the interview and will use it as an opportunity to gather information about the case. This is the time to contact a criminal defense lawyer to begin working on the case.
  • Arraignment. The arraignment refers to the first court appearance required of a defendant. It involves the defendant being brought before a judge with their attorney and a representative from the District Attorney present. The judge then informs the defendant of the charges being brought. The amount required for bail will also be set if necessary, and the defendant will either be kept in custody or released.

An NYC criminal defense lawyer will continue working in earnest on the individual’s case once the arraignment has ended. This time is essential for them to develop a strong defense and ensure their client’s rights are being upheld. Depending on the circumstances, a criminal case will either conclude with a dismissal of charges, a plea, or a trial.

Practice Areas

The practice of criminal law is wide-reaching and varied. Each case must be researched, developed, and presented differently to ensure the defendant receives the best possible outcome. When choosing a New York criminal defense law firm, research attorneys and firms that have experience with the type of charges you face. This way, your defense attorney will be even more capable of investigating and defending your case. Michael Vitaliano’s experience as a New York Assistant District Attorney and in criminal defense means he can offer seven practice areas to best serve clients.

White Collar Crime Defense

White-collar crimes may seem less severe because they are classified as non-violent, but the penalties they carry are significant. Individuals who are convicted of a white-collar crime may be penalized with the seizure and forfeiture of their assets, the loss of licensure in a certain profession, or even incarceration. In addition to criminal charges, many individuals also face civil claims from the individuals harmed by their crimes.

There is a wide range of infractions that can be classified as white-collar crime. Wage theft, money laundering, Ponzi or pyramid schemes, bribery, embezzlement, tax fraud, insider trading,  and forgery are all examples of commonly convicted white-collar crimes. The nature and severity of the punishment decided by the court are often influenced by the crime itself.

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Driving While Intoxicated/Driving Under the Influence Defense

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) can cause significant physical, emotional, and financial damage to the driver and others. This is extremely dangerous and illegal in New York state. The circumstances and substances involved in these cases may differ, but they are all classified as DWI cases in New York.

Under the umbrella of DWI cases in New York, there are several specific types of DWI. These cases may involve a raised blood alcohol level (BAC), typically anything over 0.08%, or any instance of ability being impaired due to drugs or alcohol. You can also be arrested for driving while ability impaired (DWAI), which is when your BAC is between 0.05% and 0.07%, but your driving is visibly impaired in some way. This means you can be charged without being over the legal limit.

A DWI conviction may carry penalties of license revocation, significant fines, or jail time. When a DWI causes an accident that results in severe injuries or death, the penalties for even a first-time DWI can result in up to a year in jail and thousands in fines. Repeated DWI offenses result in much more significant penalties.

Health Care Fraud Defense

Healthcare fraud is extremely serious. This type of fraud may be committed intentionally for personal gain, but it may also happen unintentionally if billing and record keeping are not maintained properly. Healthcare fraud is often committed against the state, an insurance company, a government agency, or an individual provider. Healthcare fraud can happen in several different ways.

Organizations or individuals who knowingly misuse resources for selfish gain are intentionally committing healthcare fraud. These cases often involve the invention of false healthcare information to receive more government funding or the illegal sale of prescription drugs.

Unintentional healthcare fraud, on the other hand, is often caused by mistakes or errors that are not caught. This type of fraud may be caused by billing a patient more than once, filing billing incorrectly, or overbilling for services. Regardless of intention, the penalties for unintentional healthcare fraud can be just as serious.

Racketeering Defense

To curb the impact of organized crime within the United States, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act was created in the 1970s. RICO law covers a wide range of very different offenses, so it can be difficult to understand. Schemes that involve kidnapping for ransom, protection rackets, extortion, money laundering, and drug or human trafficking operations are all examples of commonly convicted racketeering crimes.

Many RICO cases involve instances where all involved parties are given the same charges, regardless of whether they all had the same involvement with the crime in question. A criminal defense attorney works to prove that their client was not involved with any criminal operation in a significant way when dealing with a racketeering case. This could be accomplished by arguing a case of mistaken identity or arguing that their client has not participated in a pattern of racketeering.

Bribery Defense

Bribery can be classified as either offering a bribe to someone else or accepting a bribe. A criminal charge for either can carry significant consequences. Individuals who are charged and convicted of accepting or attempting to offer a bribe could face years of probation, tens of thousands of dollars in fines, or even months or years in jail. Many bribery cases often add additional charges that strengthen the case and add harsher penalties.

A criminal charge of bribery is difficult regardless of the circumstances, but the penalties for a bribery conviction are much harsher for individuals who hold public office. Accepting a bribe as a public official can be charged as a class B, C, or D felony. The same is true for individuals who attempt to bribe someone who holds public office. Public officials who are convicted of accepting a bribe are often stripped of any professional licenses they had, such as medical or law, and will likely lose their position.

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Tax Fraud Defense

Cases of tax fraud are often undertaken at the state or federal level and may involve both individuals and corporations. An individual or company can take part in tax fraud in a variety of ways. Examples of tax fraud may include tax evasion, failure to file tax returns, conspiracy, and aiding in the falsification of documents. When an individual or company is dealing with a criminal tax fraud case, the process is often long, involved, and stressful.

A criminal conviction for tax fraud can have a significant impact on the personal and professional life of anyone involved. In some cases, it may be true that an individual is not aware that they are participating in tax fraud until after the fact. Working with an experienced NYC criminal defense attorney can ensure a fair outcome in these cases.

Drug Crime Defense

High-level narcotics are often the central piece of the most significant drug-related cases. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has developed a system to classify and charge drug-related cases. New York follows this model. Drugs are placed in a certain schedule, the most severe being Schedule I, based on factors like potential for abuse. The state prosecutes and charges drug crimes very harshly.

The schedule of a certain drug helps to determine the penalty handed down by the courts in a drug-related criminal case. The amount of the substance involved in the crime and the purpose of the drug also influence the penalties of a drug crime.

Possession of a small amount of a drug will be prosecuted less harshly than drug manufacturing or trafficking of large amounts. Arguments such as a violation of due process or mistaken identity can be used by a criminal defense attorney to build a strong case for their client.

Why Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney in New York City?

Some individuals who are wrongfully accused of a crime believe they do not need a criminal defense attorney. This is not the case. When you are wrongfully accused of a crime, it is just as important that you retain legal counsel as if you committed the crime. When the prosecution presses charges against you, they do so believing they can convict you. You do not want to take a chance with your future.

Without effective legal defense, you are much more likely to face criminal charges, which have immediate criminal consequences in the form of fines, potential incarceration, and alternative sentencing. You may lose your professional licenses and your driver’s license or face other consequences. All of these immediate criminal and civil consequences can severely impact your life.

Even once you have served your sentence and/or paid your fine, you will be stuck with a criminal record. A criminal record can harm you for the rest of your life by impacting future job opportunities, barring you from certain fields of employment, limiting your approval for private housing, preventing you from certain types of public housing, and limiting your educational opportunities.

These are very serious and far-reaching consequences. When you work with an experienced New York City criminal defense attorney, you give yourself the greatest chance at avoiding conviction. An attorney can limit your stress and help you understand the reality of your situation so that you know what to expect from your case.

Your attorney can attempt to have the charges dismissed, have evidence dismissed from the case, and build a strong defense. Even if the charges cannot be dismissed, your attorney will work to mitigate the consequences and penalties you face through alternative sentencing and/or plea bargains.

You do not want to face the criminal justice system alone. At The Vitaliano Law Firm, we can fight for you and treat you with respect and compassion as we ensure your rights are protected.

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in New York City?

The cost of a criminal defense attorney relies on several factors that may vary based on your circumstances, and it is important to understand how you are being billed upfront. Influencing factors include:

  • The fee structure. Most criminal defense attorneys charge their cases on an hourly rate. In some cases, such as a simple defense case for a minor charge, an attorney may charge you a flat rate. However, an hourly rate is much more common, particularly if the attorney anticipates the case will take significant time and work. Attorneys track the time they spend representing you and working on your case in 10 or 15-minute intervals.
  • Your specific case. The rate you are charged may depend on how complex your case is. If an attorney believes your case can be settled outside of court, this rate may be lower than if the attorney expects the case to go to litigation. If your unique criminal defense case requires the use of expert witnesses or professional resources, this may increase the rate of your case. Cases that take longer will also cost you more if they are charged at an hourly rate.
  • The attorney’s experience and success. A successful attorney will likely charge a higher rate for their services than an attorney who is new to criminal defense. An experienced attorney, however, is also more likely to successfully navigate the criminal law system. They may also be able to reach a good outcome more quickly than a less experienced attorney, which could lower the overall costs when you are charged an hourly rate.
  • Your location. Criminal defense attorneys who operate out of a city typically have higher rates than those in less-populated areas. It is important to work with an attorney local to where you have been charged, as you want your attorney to have a deep understanding of the local laws and requirements for criminal cases. A local attorney will also have a better professional working relationship with the judges, prosecutors, and others on your criminal case.

It is always important to understand how an attorney will charge you before you begin working with them. Typically, an attorney will be upfront about their billing policies, and you should always ask if they are not. You’ll want to ensure you can afford their services throughout the entire length of your criminal defense case.

Criminal Defense Attorneys FAQs

Q: How Long Does a Criminal Case Take in Court?

A: The Sixth Amendment grants every United States citizen the right to a speedy trial, but that time frame may be different depending on the charges. Misdemeanor charges typically take anywhere from 60 to 90 days to be resolved in court. More serious or severe charges, such as a felony charge, may take six months or longer. The best way to ensure your criminal case is resolved quickly is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Q: How Many Criminal Cases Go to Trial?

A: Regardless of their frequency, very few criminal cases reach the trial stage. Only about 2% of criminal cases at the federal level go to trial. The percentage of criminal cases at the state level is similar to that at the federal level, though there is less information available. Most cases of a criminal nature end with a plea bargain as they tend to be easier to manage for all involved parties.

Q: How Do I Find a Good Lawyer in NYC?

A: Finding the best criminal defense attorney can be difficult, but it is also essential to a successful case. When you are looking for a lawyer, there are several things that you should consider and ask potential attorneys about. Some things to be aware of are where they were educated, how long they have practiced law, and how familiar they are with the laws and regulations of the county where you were charged. It may also be helpful to request testimonials from past clients.

Q: What Does a Criminal Attorney Do?

A: Criminal defense attorneys are responsible for helping their clients navigate the court system as their case progresses. They have many responsibilities. One of the primary duties of a criminal defense lawyer is to represent their client during various court appearances. These appearances might include hearings, arraignments, and trials when necessary. Criminal attorneys are also responsible for knowing the facts of each case, keeping their clients abreast of what is happening, and working to negotiate the best deal for their clients.

NYC Criminal Defense Attorney You Can Trust

Dealing with the personal and emotional stress of criminal charges while navigating the New York court system can be overwhelming. Having the knowledge and support of an experienced NYC criminal defense lawyer can give you the confidence you need as your case is finalized. At The Vitaliano Law Firm, our experience in the New York area gives us the local knowledge you need to help you successfully navigate your criminal case. Contact us at The Vitaliano Law Firm today.