Long Island Criminal Lawyers Representing the Best Interests of Clients
You’ve been arrested and charged with a crime. Now what? When you’re facing the full weight of the New York legal system, you don’t want to be alone. Having a criminal defense lawyer who can represent you, question witnesses, negotiate with the prosecution, and guide you through the courts is invaluable. If you are facing criminal law charges, whether that’s felony or misdemeanor charges, and you’re not sure what to do next, your first step should be to talk with an attorney.
As your criminal case moves forward, you may need to gather and examine the evidence, depose witnesses, create and enter motions in the courts, and decide what kind of defense you want to present. A criminal defense lawyer can take the lead on each of these, so you know you are in good hands.
Understanding what a criminal lawyer does and how they can help you when you are facing serious charges and significant penalties is important to make the right decisions moving forward. Below, you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions and examples and explanations of how criminal defense attorneys work to protect your legal rights and fight for your best interests.
At the law offices of MontanaroLaw P.C., we believe that criminal defense lawyers are a vital part of the judicial system and that every person charged with a crime is entitled to a vigorous defense. We will work with you to understand the details of your case and the exact nature of the charges so that you know exactly what you’re facing and what the possible penalties and defense options are. If you’ve been charged with a crime in Nassau, Suffolk, or Queens Counties reach out today to find out about our free consultation and how we can help.
What Does Criminal Law Involve?
Criminal law deals with the prosecution and defense of crimes. These can include misdemeanors or felonies and may be at the local, state, or federal level. A criminal defense lawyer is an attorney who specifically works with those who have been charged with a crime. They work with their clients to represent them throughout the judicial process, from arrest to either dismissal or appeal.
Common types of criminal charges include:
- Resisting arrest
- Disorderly conduct
Criminal charges may also result from repeated traffic violations or DUI arrests. Criminal charges differ from civil lawsuits that are brought about in the civil court system.
What Should I Do If I’m Charged With a Crime?
Being charged with a crime can bring about feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the court system and paralyzed about what to do next. But the first thing you should do anytime you are charged with a crime is to talk with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are questioned by the police, you can refuse to answer questions until a lawyer is present.
Talking with a criminal defense attorney as early on in the process as possible can also help you reduce the risk of saying or doing something that might jeopardize your case later on. A lawyer can go over the circumstances of your arrest and the details surrounding your case to help you understand what your options are for a defense strategy and what the next steps will be as the case progresses.
What Criminal Defense Strategies Are There?
There are several criminal defense strategies, and which one makes the most sense for your case is something to talk about with your criminal defense attorneys and larger legal team. Below you can find a brief explanation of the main types of criminal defense strategies and some examples of when they might be appropriate.
Self-defense is a strategy that some criminal defense lawyers will suggest when it comes to assault, battery, or other physical violence charges. This defense involves arguing that your actions do not qualify as an assault because you were acting in self-defense.
One example of this might be someone who was charged as the result of a domestic violence situation where the other partner threw the first punch, and the person had no choice but to fight back to protect themselves.
The self-defense option is something that should be discussed if you are facing these types of charges in the Queens County criminal court and you were reacting to the situation instead of acting as the aggressor.
Another option your legal representation may discuss with you is to plead not guilty. While this is an obvious option — although not always the more appropriate — for those charged with crimes they didn’t commit or when there is reasonable doubt, it’s something that shouldn’t be entered into lightly.
If you plead not guilty to charges and maintain that innocence by not accepting a plea, it likely means that your case will move forward into a criminal law trial. At this point, you lose a large amount of control over whether you are convicted or what the sentencing may be and have to rely only on your defense attorney’s representation and the judge or jury’s decision-making.
Violation of Procedure
A violation of procedure defense is basically making the argument that your charges aren’t applicable because of a technicality. This defense doesn’t really focus on whether the person charged is guilty or innocent. Instead, it argues that there was some violation of due process or the defendant’s rights, which renders the case invalid.
Instead, this defense strategy often focuses on getting key pieces of evidence thrown out as inadmissible in the courts. For example, if you were not read your Miranda rights before you were questioned by the police and confessed to a crime, that confession could be thrown out and ruled that it couldn’t be part of the case against you.
The insanity defense isn’t used in most situations. It argues that you cannot be held legally accountable for the crime because you were not of a sane mind when you committed the act. Your criminal defense lawyer will talk to you about your case and whether this might be an option for your situation.
Should I Take a Plea?
Facing a criminal trial can be scary, but it’s important to understand exactly what a plea entails and the pros and cons of pleading down a charge in your specific case. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand what the possible consequences are if your case goes to trial and what your odds are of being found innocent or guilty. Then, they can help you understand how a plea can ensure you don’t face harsher penalties and sentencing.
It’s also important to ask your lawyer about what the plea includes, as sometimes you may still be facing jail time, lengthy probation periods, or have to publicly allocate — which means to confess — in court.
Anytime you’re presented with a plea option from the assistant district attorney in your case, it’s critical that you fully understand all of the options and what the plea means going forward. It’s also a good idea to have your attorney review any offers and possibly present a counteroffer that might be better for your interests.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me?
Criminal defense lawyers are an important part of ensuring that people’s rights and interests are protected before, during, and after they are charged with a crime. They have specific knowledge and experience in criminal law and can help their clients navigate the court system more successfully. Here are just a few of the ways a criminal defense attorney can help you with your case.
Ensure You Were Legally Arrested and Charged
In New York, there are specific procedures and processes that must be followed when someone is arrested and charged with a crime. For example, an officer must have probable cause to conduct a search. If a search is conducted without probable cause and incriminating evidence is found that results in an arrest, the entire charge may be able to be thrown out based on the fact that it was an illegal search.
A criminal defense attorney has the knowledge needed to go through your case, looking at each detail to ensure that all of the proper procedures were followed.
Represent You If the Case Goes to Trial
Going before a judge — and potentially a full jury — and having to be questioned by the prosecution can be intimidating. And those who represent themselves often don’t have the knowledge and experience necessary to know when to object to something or how to file a motion to suppress evidence.
Hiring a criminal law attorney to represent you ensures that you have your own dedicated legal representation that is looking out for your best interests at every stage of the case.
Help You Negotiate a Plea
Trials are expensive and time-consuming, and often the prosecution may be willing to offer a plea deal in exchange for being able to settle everything quickly. However, these offers may not actually be the best course of action for your case, or you may be able to negotiate a better deal.
When you have a criminal attorney by your side, they can reach out to the district attorney’s office to find out what kind of plea may be available and help you understand if it’s a worthwhile option for your specific circumstances. They can also ensure you fully understand what the plea bargain means for your future.
For example, if you agree to plead guilty to a crime, it may mean that you have to disclose the circumstances surrounding your arrest to employers moving forward or deal with probation requirements for several years.
Hire MontanaroLaw P.C. for Your Criminal Defense
When you’re charged with a crime, it’s imperative that you have a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side who can be your guide as your criminal case moves through the New York courts. It’s important to be as open and truthful as you can be with your attorney so that they have all of the information they need to provide the most thorough defense possible.
If you’re ready to talk with an attorney about your case and see what your criminal defense options may be, contact the team at the law offices of MontanaroLaw P.C. at (516) 809-7735 to get started. We offer a free consultation where we will review the basics of your case and let you know how we can help.