DEFENDING THE ACCUSED SINCE 1996
DEFENDING THE ACCUSED SINCE 1996
CRIMINAL DEFENSE REPRESENTATION
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
You are here because you or someone you care for got arrested. You have questions. You need answers. You are worried and anxious about what is going to happen. You don’t know any criminal defense lawyers and wish you did at this moment. Cold calling someone you don’t know you found on the internet just doesn’t seem that appealing. You are experiencing a whole range of emotions right now. You want to know what to do.
If any of this sounds familiar, it is because I have been doing this for a very long time (since 1996) and I have helped thousands of clients over the years. While each client and each case is unique, the anxiety about what to do when you or a loved one is arrested remains a constant. It is natural to be worried. I understand that and part of my job will be to help you get through this so you can focus on your life, your job, your family. After I am retained, I always tell clients to focus on their work, school, family, etc. and let me handle the case. The burden is on me as your lawyer to figure out how to get you out of this with the best possible outcome. My clients know how much I care and how much I put into getting results. It is perhaps why years later, many clients still think of me and send me well wishes on the holidays.
So you or someone you know was arrested. Whether it is for a violation, a misdemeanor, or a felony, it is scary and you have many questions. Call me! (212)-268-7777. I mean it. I take calls at all hours of the day and night, on weekdays and weekends, and on holidays. My office number forwards to my cell when I am out of office, so I always get the calls. Give it a try. You really have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.
Why should you call? You should call me because I won’t charge you for the call and will do my best to answer all of your questions. You probably have a lot of them. Here are some of the most common:
1. Am I going to jail?
It has been a very long time since I had a client who was sentenced to any prison time. A very long time. And I handle some very serious cases with not very nice allegations. While no lawyer can promise you what will happen or make any guarantees (it is unethical and impermissible for a lawyer to do so) I will do everything I can to ensure jail is not an outcome. If you do not have a significant criminal history and are not charged with a violent felony, jail is not usually something we have to discuss.
2. Will I have a criminal record?
The goal is always the same- no jail and no criminal record. Again, it is not ethical to make guarantees or promises, but I have a very good track record of keeping my clients’ record clean. Your criminal history and the severity of the charges are the two most significant factors in determining whether the case ends in a conviction. I will always do my best to ensure it does not.
3. Will my employer find out?
That depends. If you are employed or licensed by NYS or NYC government- e.g. teacher, security guard, firefighter, etc.- they will often be automatically notified. Same if you are a federal employee. Some professions- medical, law, finance- require the professional to report the arrest. These are issues I deal with all the time and can help you to navigate them. Remember: Anyone can be accused of anything. An arrest does not mean you did anything wrong. Innocent people get arrested. What matters is the outcome. If were the charges were ultimately dismissed, the arrest itself should carry no weight. NY Criminal Procedure Law 160.50 governs what happens when a criminal case is dismissed. You can find the statute here: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/CPL/160.50
4. How long will it take?
This is case specific. Some cases can be favorably resolved with one court appearance. (Sometimes we can get it taken care of without a court appearance at all!) Sometimes cases can take many months and sometimes years. The more severe the charges the longer it usually takes to resolve the matter, especially if you want a very favorable outcome.
5. Where can I get information about my case?
The most informative website for NY State criminal cases is Webcrims NY. Just google it. You can also check: https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/ Be advised that Webcrims is only going to show results for current open cases. Once a case is resolved, it no longer appears in Webcrims. For Federal criminal cases, check https://pacer.uscourts.gov/. You will need to create an account to use PACER.
6. How can I get information on my past cases or my rap sheet?
When you get arrested, your criminal history is generated and a copy is given to your lawyer at your arraignment. If you want to get a copy of it from the state, this site will show you how: https://ww2.nycourts.gov/apps/chrs/index.shtml
7. Will bail be set at my arraignment?
NY passed legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2020 making many criminal charges non-bail eligible. (See https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/CPL/530.40). Even for offenses where bail is permissible, it is up the judge to decide. A good lawyer will make an effective argument why bail should not be set. Retaining a lawyer is usually a good sign to a judge that you will come back to court as it demonstrates that you take the matter seriously and are more likely to return to court to fight the charges.
8. How will this effect my Immigration status? Can I still travel if I am not a citizen?
Your immigration status may be affected. It is something we criminal defense lawyers understand and develop our case strategies around. I work with another very seasoned immigration lawyer who I call when I need answers on how a client’s status might be affected. If you are not a citizen, having a criminal conviction can result in removal proceedings or affect your ability to re-enter the US. There are many free immigration legal services in NY. A google search will show many results. This organization provides training to criminal defense lawyers like me: https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/
9. Should I retain an attorney or just use my public defender?
As a former Legal Aid lawyer myself, I have great respect for the public defender bar in NY. It is a really tough job and there are many great, dedicated lawyers who work there. That being said, they typically have very high caseloads and may not be able to give your case the individualized attention it needs to get the best result. Experienced, personalized advocacy goes a long way. If you are getting a significant medical procedure and can afford it, it is usually better to go with a specialist than any random surgeon at a city hospital. Spend the money, you will be glad you did.
10. How much will it cost?
It depends. The two most significant factors are the severity of the charges and the criminal history of the accused. We lawyers don’t sell widgets. We sell our time and expertise. The longer a case will take and the more complicated it is, the more expensive it will be. I don’t like to discuss fees on the phone. I prefer to meet with you in person (or virtually) and really understand who you are and what happened to get a sense of what it will take to get the best outcome. That is what determines the fees. I will usually work with a retainer up front and then you will get billed if the case takes longer than we hoped. I will often agree to payment plans. Don’t worry about the money yet. Let’s first figure out if I am the right criminal defense lawyer for your case.
11. Why should I hire you?
Because I have a really good track record of getting exceptional results. I even surprise myself sometimes. And beyond just the results, most of my clients really like working with me and tend to write really nice things about me on the internet. In 27 years of practice I have never received less than a 5 star review. That is something I aim to ensure never changes. When the case is resolved, I want you to think that hiring me was one of the better decisions you have ever made.
Criminal Defense Lawyers – Choosing the Right One for your Case
Like any other occupation, there are some criminal lawyers who are more talented than others, some who work harder than others, and some who have the talent, drive, and experience necessary to get the best results for someone facing criminal charges. Criminal defense is an art form. Every client is different and each case has its own unique facts and circumstances. Understanding the broad tapestry of the case is necessary to developing and executing the appropriate defense strategy. Working the case the right way can be the difference between a dismissal and a criminal conviction.
Experience, while not everything, is a significant factor. In New York City and the greater Metropolitan area, each jurisdiction has its own way of doing things. Each jurisdiction has its own District Attorney’s Office and its own courts. Defending a criminal case in Manhattan can often be very different from how you may defend criminal charges in Brooklyn, the Bronx or Queens. Westchester and Nassau are their own fiefdoms with their own way of doing things. So you need a criminal attorney with the breadth of experience to know how each jurisdiction works, and how to tailor the defense of the criminal charges for that jurisdiction.
Criminal Defense Strategies
Just as every client is different and each case has its own unique sets of facts and circumstances, the defense strategy for obtaining the best possible result must also be uniquely tailored for each case. Many cases require a “persuasive” approach- making the prosecutor and the judge realize the humanity of the client and the myriad mitigating circumstances that call out for leniency. Whether it be the wealthy housewife who shoplifts at Saks because she is having a mid-life crises, the young man who commits a robbery to demonstrate his toughness to his friends, the Upper East Side banker who accused of domestic violence, or the twenty-something who sells drugs to an undercover police officer out of complete foolishness, the “persuasive” approach- if handled the right way- can often lead to spectacular results. Indeed, I’ve had cases where the client is caught on video committing a felony dismissed outright by the prosecutor because they were persuaded it was the right thing to do.
Yet not all cases are ripe for the “just cause” approach. There are some cases that require what I like to call “bare-knuckle” litigation- challenging every aspect of the prosecutor’s case with carefully drafted motions, defense experts and seasoned investigators. This approach is generally required in high profile cases and cases with very serious allegations. For example, a client with a criminal history is charged with possession of a loaded firearm and the prosecutor believes that he had every intent to use it on another person. In such a case the “persuasive” will likely not get you very far. Only by challenging every aspect of the prosecutor’s case and making them understand that they may very likely lose the hearings and/or trial will the best results be achieved- either by the prosecutor who will make a great offer to get rid of the case, or sometimes by the Judge who will suppress the evidence, or sometimes at trial, where the jury returns a “NOT GUILTY” on all counts verdict.
Of course, there are many cases where a hybrid of these two approaches may be necessary. The problem is that not many lawyers are good at either of these approaches, let alone both. It is therefore very important that you retain a lawyer that you feel comfortable understands the unique aspects of the case and the client and can develop and execute a defense strategy that gives you the best chances for a spectacular result. Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer to defend you against criminal charges is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will ever make.