What You Need to Know About Bail

If you’ve ever been arrested, you will be required to pay bail in order to be released. Even though bail looks like a simple and straightforward concept on the surface, it can be waived or negotiated and you don’t always have to pay the full amount. That is why you should be looking for an experienced Long Island criminal attorney right from the moment you’re involved with law enforcement. It is important that you have the right information about bail as you never know when you might need it. If you’re looking for help in negotiating or waving the bail, you will need to get in touch with an experienced criminal attorney.

Bail Is Imposed so that you can Appear in Court

The bail that is set by the judge is like a promise. If the judge sets bail at $10000, this means that you could either pay for it in cash, bonds, or property. Once you’ve paid using one of the three options, you’re committing to appear in court. You will not get your money back should you fail to appear in court. You will get out of jail the sooner you pay the bail money. This doesn’t mean that your legal troubles are over as they could just be about to begin.

Bail can be Negotiated

Just because the judge set the bail amount doesn’t mean that it is written on stone. There are some legal procedures and constitution protection which allow you to lower the bail. This when having a criminal defense attorney can come in handy.

There is an algorithm that calculates the bail amount and will take into consideration such factors as:

        Criminal History

        Age

        Employment

        Nearest Family Members

After having taken all the mentioned factors into consideration and the judge determines that you’re not likely to appear in court, your bail will be in most cases be higher.

The 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from excessive bail. What this means is that a charge is not allowed to set absurdly high bail amounts just to punish an individual or to set an example of him.

There are circumstances where an individual might not be able to afford to pay bail. It will be within their right to petition the judge to lower the amount. This will require the help of a criminal defense attorney as they are aware of the processes involved.

You Might not be Required to Pay Bail at All

In some situations, the judge could release the individual “on their own recognizance” This means that the judge trusts that you will show up in court based on your merit without any coercion. Instead of imposing a bail, the judge will depend on you to show up in court on the set date. There are a number of factors that a judge will consider before releasing you on O.R. and they include:

        Employment

        No criminal record in the past

        Having family members like a spouse or children nearby

        Having lived in the community for a long time

        Having dutifully appeared in court for other charges

A criminal defense attorney can help you in obtaining an O.R. or lowering your bail. This could help in so that your resources go to defending your case.

Not Available in Every State

It should be noted that bail is not available in every state. If you live in New York, you’re lucky because it is one of the states that are allowed to have them. There are areas like Washington DC, Nebraska, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin that don’t allow bail. The United States has a commercial bail system to enable the citizens to honor the bail bonds.

Bounty Hunters

It might sound like something from a Hollywood script but a bounty hunter could be employed to find a client who is trying to skip court date. This is especially true if you use third-party lenders to help with your bail. It will be in your best interest to appear in court to make life easier for your defense attorney and the bail bond company. Bounty hunters are not afraid to cross state lines will not need a warrant to break and enter into the defendant’s home.

Paying on Your Own is not a Good Idea

Paying cash bail could have severe implications on your financial situation. You might have the cash to pay but you must think about the consequences. It will be much more convenient to first consult with a criminal defense attorney to find a way in which the bail can be reduced. The next step would be to look for a reliable bail bonding company that will help in getting you out of the mess.

Paying the bond in full comes with its own risks.  If you’re paying it on behalf of the defendant, he or she could fail to adhere to the agreements made by the court. In such a situation, you stand to lose all your money. The court will only return the money if the defendant appears for hearing on the set date. When you get a bail agent, you will not have to go through the risk of losing the entire amount which could leave you in a dire state financially.

It Takes More than Just Appearing in Court

There is a common assumption that all the defendant has to do is to honor the court dates and everything will be fine. There are some circumstances where the defendant will have to do more than that. There could be multiple court hearing to attend. He or she could be forced to enroll in an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program. The defendant will have to go through all the requirements in order to get the money back.

To sum it up, whatever the circumstances of your bail, you will need a good criminal defense attorney at your corner to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Contact Mirsky Law Firm if you’d love to negotiate your bail bond or what an experienced attorney to represent you in your criminal case.

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Social Media Can Be Used Against You in a Court of Law

One of the main reasons for the popularity of social media is timely updates. It has made it easy for people to be connected with their friends and family and you can know what is happening in their lives at any given time. What many people might not know is social media can be used against you in a court of law. That is why it is important that you look for Long Island criminal defense lawyer if you’re involved in a criminal case as you want to make sure there are no loopholes with the defense.

You should be very careful with what you post on social media if you have an ongoing court case especially if it is a crime related.

How Social Media Could Be Used Against You in Court

Everything you post will be subject to scrutiny and the defense will always be looking for even the tiniest bit of detail to help with your case. A good criminal defense attorney will ensure that you’re not doing anything to jeopardize the case and that includes what you post on social networks. If you’re looking for an experienced attorney, you can always reach out to Mirsky Law Firm.

Posts on Social Media are Permissible as Evidence

If you think that your “private” posts can’t be used against in you a court of law, you have to think again. Nowadays, a judge will be more than willing to admit social media content as evidence in a case. There are circumstances where private social media messages can be obtained and be used as evidence. This due to the fact that the limitation of illegally obtained evidence is applicable for social media posts.

What this implies is that private messages exchanged via the popular social media sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter will be used as evidence as long as they have been discovered by a civilian and not law enforcement.

This is particularly true for personal injury cases. One might claim that an accident has led to serious injuries and he or she can’t move freely. This could be a big contrast to the pictures posted on social networks of the person smiling and going about the daily activities just like any other normal person. The images and posts could be used against you just to prove the extent of the injuries are not as severe as you claim.

Social Media and Criminal Defense

Even when it comes to criminal defense, the general idea still holds. You might be involved in a DUI case and yet you posted pictures hanging out in a nightclub before the incident happened. This is damning evidence that could be used against you. The same case applies to probation. Your social media posts could be used to prove that you’ve violated the terms of the probation. You will only be making things easier for law enforcement and prosecutors. Social media can seriously damage your argument in almost every situation.

Social Media Use

If you or a family member is involved in a criminal case, the best thing you can do is to avoid social media completely. This includes all social media sites, especially the popular ones because they’re easily accessible.

In addition to refraining from social media, you also need to make sure that your friends and family are careful about what they post especially if it involves you as it could lead to implications. You shouldn’t delete social media posts without contacting your lawyer as this could make the court suspicious of your actions.

Public Social Media Posts

It should be noted that public social media posts do not count as illegally obtained evidence. The prosecution will be doing nothing illegal when they go through your social media feed to look for evidence. This could also apply to photographs taken or published with someone else that could act as evidence for the case.

Deleting Your Social Media Posts

It will not be wise to delete your social media posts when you’re involved in a criminal case. There is a high chance that the prosecution might have gone through your social media and taken screenshots already and deleting the posts will only make things worse. A court might order a negative inference because of trying to interfere with evidence. This could have serious implications for your case. That is why it is crucial you get an attorney who will provide the necessary advice on how to handle your social media accordingly. A client has the right to adjust the privacy settings for the social media account but should not do anything further that could make the court suspicious.

In addition, you should not expect the encryption technology that is used by most modern social media sites is going to prevent people from accessing your content. There was a case in 2016 where the FBI tried to get a court order to compel Apple to help in unlocking an iPhone 5 which was suspected to be belonging to a terrorist. This means that authorities could still access your devices even if they’re password protected.

Everything you share on social media becomes part of the public record even if you don’t want it to be so. In order to help with your case, you need to:

Be selective with what you share: The rule of thumb is not to share anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable telling the public.

Check your internet security: Make sure that your online activity is not being tracked. You can use a VPN when accessing popular websites.

Looking for a Criminal Defense Attorney

It will be hard to maneuver the legal system if you’re not experienced in law. That is why you need to hire an experienced criminal attorney for your case. A criminal case can have serious consequences even if you’re the innocent party. A shoddy attorney will not get you the representation that you deserve. You can reach out to us for the best criminal defense attorney in town.

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What Happens When An Eyewitness Misidentifies A Suspect?

You’ve seen it a hundred times in courtroom movies and TV dramas. An eyewitness to a crime points dramatically at the defendant and says something like, “He did it.” Usually, the music rises at this point, and the guilty verdict is inevitable. But that’s only for television and the movies.

In real life, even though thousands of people are sent to prisons in the U.S. each year for criminal convictions, not all of them are guilty of committing a crime. This is where an assault and battery lawyer can help.

For decades, research has been casting doubt on the reliability of eyewitness identifications of criminal suspects. In fact, researchers have compiled substantial evidence that the impressionable nature of memory and perception inevitably makes eyewitness testimony unreliable.

WHAT IF YOU ARE WRONGLY ACCUSED OF A CRIME?

Still, prosecutors routinely rely on eyewitnesses to deliver crucial testimony against criminal defendants. Can you be convicted for a crime that you didn’t commit on the basis of a misidentification? If you are wrongly charged with a crime in New York, what are your options?

If you are charged with any felony or with any misdemeanor in New York City, it is imperative to contact and meet with an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.

WHY IS EYEWITNESS MISIDENTIFICATION A GROWING CONCERN?

Eyewitness misidentifications in criminal trials have been a growing concern for nearly two decades. That’s because DNA evidence is now being used routinely to prove irrefutably the innocence of persons who had been previously convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony.

eyewitness testimony

How does misidentification happen? Here’s an example. Let’s say that someone is shot and dies in front of several witnesses. One witness claims that you are the person who pulled the trigger and that you immediately fled.

This alone gives the police sufficient cause to arrest you and launch an investigation. If your case goes to trial, and if the trial jurors believe the eyewitness, it is conceivable that you could be convicted and imprisoned for manslaughter or even for murder.

HOW OFTEN DO EYEWITNESSES MISIDENTIFY SUSPECTS?

Juries do tend to trust eyewitnesses, but research tells us that eyewitnesses can misidentify suspects and defendants for a variety of reasons related to memory and perception.

handcuffs

According to the Innocence Project, wrongful eyewitness identifications played a role in seventy percent of 364 criminal convictions that have been overturned in the U.S. since 1992. Witnesses simply were wrong. For whatever reason, they contributed to an innocent person’s conviction.

If you are charged with a crime in New York, if you are innocent of the charge, and if your attorney cannot have the charge dropped or dismissed, you should not accept a plea bargain. Rather, you should insist on your right to a trial by jury.

HOW WILL A DEFENSE LAW FIRM IN NY CHALLENGE A MISIDENTIFICATION?

If you are tried for a crime because an eyewitness has misidentified you, an accomplished defense lawyer will challenge that testimony by asking questions like these:

  • Did the witness know the defendant prior to the crime?
  • How well could the witness see? Was it dark? What lighting was being used?
  • How far away was the witness? Was his or her vision obstructed in any way?
  • Was the witness impaired by drugs or alcohol? Does the witness have a vision problem?
  • How much time elapsed between the crime and the (mis)identification?

In 2017, the New York Legislature adopted legal reforms aimed at reducing the number of wrongful convictions and eyewitness misidentifications. What can be the consequences of eyewitness misidentification?

WHY IS THE OTIS BOONE CASE SO IMPORTANT IN NEW YORK?

For Otis Boone, 27, eyewitness misidentification meant seven years in prison. In 2017, New York Appellate Court judges ordered a retrial and required that going forward, New York judges must explain the “cross-race effect” to jurors in cases involving eyewitness identifications.

The cross-race effect is the tendency to recognize more easily faces of one’s own race. In a study of real court cases, cross-race eyewitnesses made correct identifications in only 45 percent of the cases, while same-race eyewitnesses made correct identifications in 60 percent of the cases.

At his retrial earlier this year, Boone was acquitted of robbery after attorneys told the New York Court of Appeals that the cross-race effect made it impossible for the witnesses to identify Boone with absolute certainty.

ARE THERE OTHER REASONS FOR EYEWITNESS MISIDENTIFICATIONS?

Along with the cross-race effect, other reasons for eyewitness misidentifications include:

  • Lineups: Police officers who conduct lineups may subtly encourage a crime victim to choose a suspect out of a lineup – even if no one in the lineup perpetrated the crime.
  • Stress: Victims who are exposed to stressful circumstances (like having your life threatened with a firearm) may not remember important details about a person’s appearance.
  • Time, distance, and lighting: If a long period of time has elapsed since the crime, if the lighting was poor, or if the witness was some distance from the perpetrator of the crime, an eyewitness identification probably will not be reliable.

mistaken witnesses

Especially after the Otis Boone case, the courts in New York are taking every measure to avoid basing convictions on eyewitness identifications alone.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE WRONGLY ARRESTED?

If you are arrested in New York City for a crime – any crime – on the basis of eyewitness identification (or misidentification), you must exercise your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present during any questioning.

Be polite and cooperative with the police, but be insistent regarding your rights. Don’t resist the officers, but do not give your verbal consent to a search of your home, vehicle, or person. As quickly as possible after an arrest, contact an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney.

defense attorney fighting for you

If you are wrongly facing a criminal charge because of eyewitness misidentification, a good criminal defense lawyer will raise doubts about the testimony of that eyewitness. Your attorney will fight aggressively for the truth and will bring your case to its best possible conclusion.

If you are charged with a crime in New York, whether you are innocent or guilty, you have the right to be represented by a good criminal defense attorney, but you must exercise that right, take the first step, and make the call. Nothing is more important than your future and your freedom.

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Are Online Videos Considered Criminal Evidence?

Perhaps you have seen them – burglaries, assaults, armed robberies, and even mass shootings – live and in color on Facebook, YouTube, and other internet social media sites. Can a person be charged for a crime if the state’s case is based entirely on a video that was posted to the internet?

Evidence from social media sites is used by insurance companies in personal injury cases and by assault and battery lawyers and investigators. It is even used in divorce cases. Police departments and prosecutors in the U.S. – and in fact, around the world – also use evidence from social media sites in criminal investigations.

IF THERE’S VIDEO EVIDENCE AGAINST YOU, CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP?

Video evidence may be admitted into criminal trials in New York. If you’re the defendant in a case with video evidence, your defense attorney will need to show why you might not be the figure in the video, and/or your attorney must cast doubt on the video’s authenticity.

Here in New York, if you’re prosecuted for a crime based on video evidence that’s on YouTube – or based on any other video – you must have representation and sound legal advice at once. You will need to contact an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney immediately.

A reliable defense attorney will explain your rights after an arrest. Your attorney then will craft an effective defense strategy and will advocate aggressively for the justice that you will need.

WHEN MAY VIDEO EVIDENCE BE USED IN A TRIAL?

Police agencies and prosecutors in this state regularly scrutinize YouTube, Facebook, and a variety of other social media sites to seek evidence of criminal activity and evidence they may use in criminal prosecutions.

police detectives

In what circumstances may prosecutors introduce video evidence against a criminal defendant? Any video that is used by a prosecutor at trial must prove or demonstrate something important regarding the case and must be authenticated by an expert on video.

WHAT’S NEW ABOUT VIDEOS THAT DEPICT CRIMES?

You already know that property owners and retailers have used video as a security tool for many years, but criminals taking video of themselves perpetrating crimes – and uploading that video – is a recent development. Some of the criminals even boast on-camera about their illegal acts.

However, when a criminal uploads video of a crime and boasts about it, it’s self-incrimination. It’s a tendency that seems to be growing, a 21st-century version of criminals like Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer, who boasted of their crimes in letters that they sent to newspaper editors.

What’s new in our own time is the ability to create video and to distribute it instantly – or even live – to millions of viewers around the globe. Over 1.6 billion people use Facebook each month, and more than a billion monthly viewers watch videos on YouTube.

IF THERE’S VIDEO EVIDENCE, HOW WILL YOUR LAWYER DEFEND YOU?

Can a criminal defense attorney assist you if a video shows you breaking the law, you are arrested and charged, and the video is used against you as evidence?

If that happens, your lawyer will have to prove one or more of these defense claims:

  • The video doesn’t actually show what the prosecution claims that it shows.
  • The video is fabricated, or someone has tampered with it.
  • The individual who is engaged in the crime on-camera isn’t you.

ARE THERE GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE POLICE INVESTIGATIONS?

When a video is introduced, a criminal trial’s outcome may hinge on the video’s reliability. How significant is video evidence to criminal investigators? In 2011, the police in New York City established their own “social media” unit and set forth guidelines for online investigations.

However, outside of larger cities like Los Angeles and New York, many police agencies around the U.S. have no guidelines whatsoever for the online investigations of crimes, and police officers in these situations frequently must rely on their own judgment and discretion.

video phone

Here is what you need to know about online privacy. You should presume that anything you post online – and even anything that someone else may post – can be introduced as evidence if you’re prosecuted for a crime. It’s best to presume that nothing online is private or is ever really deleted.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM IN NY?

Do not allow yourself to be charged or convicted of a crime because of a fabricated or corrupted video that someone has posted to Facebook or YouTube. Get a lawyer’s help at once.

If you are arrested for a crime in New York City on the basis of an online video, you must be advised and represented by a qualified Long Island criminal defense attorney who is experienced with video technology and its use in criminal cases.

defense lawyer

Your defense lawyer will determine if the video is reliable. If you are innocent, your lawyer may first attempt to have the charge against you dismissed, and if the charge cannot be dismissed, your case may go to trial, and your lawyer will ask jurors to return a not guilty verdict.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF EXPERT WITNESSES IN CASES INVOLVING VIDEO?

As a part of your defense strategy, if such a case goes to trial, your criminal defense lawyer may ask a video expert witness to testify regarding the authenticity and reliability of the video.

expert witnesses

However, if a video that shows you committing a crime is legitimate, your lawyer may suggest taking a plea agreement that convicts you of a lesser crime and imposes a lesser penalty.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE ARRESTED BECAUSE OF A VIDEO?

If you are charged with any crime on Long Island or in New York City, you have the right to remain silent, and you need to exercise that right. Be polite, but say something like, “I’m sorry, but I would prefer to exercise my right to remain silent until my attorney can be present.”

Do not admit to anything if you’ve been arrested, don’t sign anything, and don’t accept any plea deal before you consult a criminal defense attorney. If you are charged with a crime, the help of a good attorney is your right, but you are the one who must take the first step and make the call.

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Can Stop-And-Frisk Laws Play A Role In Your Case?

For a number of years prior to 2013, the stop-and-frisk practices of the New York Police Department (NYPD) raised serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal searches, and privacy rights in New York.

Until 2013, minorities in New York City were subject to “stop-and-frisk” procedures conducted by NYPD officers. Individuals were stopped, searched, questioned, and sometimes illegally detained and harassed by New York police officers who were purportedly investigating crimes.

What are the current rules for stop-and-frisk in New York? What steps should you take if you are arrested on the basis of a stop-and-frisk? Can a Long Island drug crimes lawyer help?

HOW DID STOP-AND-FRISK IN NEW YORK CHANGE IN 2013?

In Floyd v. City of New York (2013), a U.S. District Court ruled that stop-and-frisk was being used unconstitutionally in New York City. The judge ordered the NYPD to adopt a policy that spells out how a stop-and-frisk is to be conducted without violating anyone’s legal rights.

In 2011, over 685,000 people were stopped and frisked in New York. The practice was widely criticized because persons in racial minorities were stopped in far greater numbers than non-minority individuals. In 2015, only about 23,000 persons were stopped and frisked in New York.

NYPD arresting people

Although a number of reforms have been put in place since 2013, concerns about stop-and-frisk remain. Stops still tend to target people of color, but the NYPD claims that most of the stops that are now being made are based on suspect descriptions provided by victims and other witnesses.

WHAT IS THE RIGHT TO KNOW ACT?

The Right to Know Act was passed by New York’s City Council in 2017 as a response to the NYPD’s previously aggressive use of stop-and-frisk. The law took effect in 2018. It spells out what police officers must do before searching individuals, their possessions, or their residences.

The Right to Know Act has two provisions. The first provision is that a New York police officer must provide his or her name, rank, command, and shield number to a civilian before any stop-and-frisk may be conducted.

Officers must carry business cards with this information. The cards also direct civilians who want to file a complaint or who want to request a body-cam recording of the encounter to the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board.

WHAT ELSE DOES THE RIGHT TO KNOW ACT REQUIRE?

The second provision of the Right to Know Act spells out precisely what steps police officers are to take when they seek to conduct a search, but they do not have any legal justification to conduct the search without the person’s consent.

In these cases, the law requires an officer to explain that a search will not be conducted if the person doesn’t consent to the search. The law requires officers to document these requests and, if necessary, to use language interpretation services pursuant to the NYPD’s language access plan.

Here is what New Yorkers need to know about the current stop-and-frisk rules. Let’s say that an officer thinks that someone on the street has a concealed weapon. The police officer can ask who the person is and where the person is going without having to provide any reason for asking.

However, if the police officer asks if the person has a weapon, or if the officer frisks the person, that officer must have an objective, reasonable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime, is committing a crime, or is about to commit a crime.

WHEN DOES THE NYPD NEED YOUR CONSENT TO FRISK YOU?

If the police officer does not have an objective, reasonable cause for frisking a person, the officer must ask for and obtain that person’s consent in order to frisk the person.

police in new york

The Right to Know Act ensures that New York City police officers ask plainly for consent to conduct any searches that require consent. Police officers must inform people that they are not required to consent to a search and that a search will not be conducted without their consent.

The consent requirement does not apply to warranted searches or to searches conducted under standard exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s protections. For example, consent is not needed if an officer sees evidence of a crime in plain view or if quick action is required to save lives.

If a New York City police officer does not ask for your consent to a search, or if you are not sure whether the situation requires the officer to ask you for consent, you may simply (and politely) say something like, “I’m sorry, officer, but I do not consent to being searched.”

WHAT CAN YOU DO IF THE POLICE VIOLATE YOUR RIGHTS?

If you believe that a New York City police officer has violated the law during a stop, a search, an interrogation, or any encounter with you, you may file a complaint with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates charges of police misconduct and abuse.

However, if you are placed under arrest and charged with a crime on Long Island or in New York City as the result of a stop-and-frisk, it is imperative for you to contact and consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Do not procrastinate.

defense lawyer in ny

You will need to have a sharp and savvy criminal defense lawyer advocating on your behalf.

WHAT WILL A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM IN NY DO FOR YOU?

Your defense attorney will examine the charge against you and the behavior of the police. If the police violated your rights in any way during an investigation, interrogation, search, or arrest, it is possible that your attorney may be able to have the charge against you dropped or dismissed.

new york city

New Yorkers and visitors to New York are sometimes wrongfully stopped, wrongfully searched, and wrongfully arrested. If that happens to you, you have legal rights and protections, and when it’s necessary, you can put the law to work on your behalf. A criminal defense lawyer can help.

If you believe that you are or have been the victim of a wrongful arrest or any other police abuse or brutality in New York City – or anywhere else in the state of New York – speak immediately with an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer’s help is your right.

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Can Cases Be Dropped Or Dismissed Before Going To Court?

Every criminal case in the state of New York is unique – and so are the final outcomes of those cases. A good assault and battery lawyer will weigh all of the factors in a case in order to develop an effective defense strategy on a client’s behalf.

If you are charged with a crime on Long Island or in New York City, depending on the details of the case, it is possible to have a criminal charge dropped before the case goes to trial. Charges can be and frequently are dropped or dismissed by prosecutors or by the courts in New York.

WHEN CAN CRIMINAL CHARGES BE DROPPED OR DISMISSED?

In what circumstances can a criminal charge be dismissed in the state of New York? Listed here are the most common legal grounds for the dismissal of criminal charges:

1. lack of probable cause for the police to stop, search, or arrest you
2. insufficient, tainted, or missing evidence
3. a mistake or flaw in the legal paperwork
4. the unavailability of a witness, or a witness has changed his or her testimony

WHAT IS PROBABLE CAUSE?

The Constitution protects you, your home, properties, and vehicles from “unreasonable” searches and seizures. The police cannot search you or arrest you on a “hunch.” If the police stop, search, or arrest you, they must have particular reasons and evidence that provide probable cause.

police with probable cause

“Probable cause” is evidence that leads to and supports a plausible belief that a crime has been committed and that the person under suspicion should be stopped, searched, arrested, and/or charged with committing that crime.

If your defense attorney can persuade a prosecutor or a judge that you were stopped, searched, arrested, and/or charged in violation of your constitutional rights, the prosecutor may drop the charge or the judge may have the charge dismissed unless there is further evidence against you.

WHAT CONSTITUTES INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE?

Insufficient evidence simply means that a prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove the charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, you must be represented by an aggressive and experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney who can demonstrate that the state’s evidence against you is tainted, lost, or insufficient to convict you of committing a crime.

If a charge was filed against you based on the statements of one or more witnesses, and those witnesses are unavailable to testify – or if the testimony changes and is no longer useful to the state – the prosecutor may have no choice but to drop the charge.

WHAT LEGAL MISTAKES CAN LEAD TO A CHARGE BEING DISMISSED?

How often do you hear about a criminal charge or a traffic ticket getting tossed out of court because a police officer or a prosecutor failed to follow a particular procedure or made a mistake in the paperwork – like spelling a name wrong or transposing some numbers?

legal documents

Honestly, a misprint or a misspelling is almost never the reason why a charge is dropped or dismissed. One place where mistakes are frequently discovered is in the charging document itself – the legal paperwork that represents the criminal charge being filed against a defendant.

When a court decides if a mistake in the charging document requires a dismissal of the charge, the court’s concern is whether the mistake has caused any prejudice to the defendant, meaning any unfairness or surprise that impairs a defendant’s ability to mount an effective defense.

CHARGES “DROPPED” OR “DISMISSED” – IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

In casual discussions, the phrases “dismissing a charge” and “dropping a charge” may be used imprecisely and interchangeably. However – and although both are good outcomes for a defendant – dismissing a charge and dropping a charge are two distinct legal actions.

A prosecutor may “drop” a charge at any point in the process may simply choose not to file a charge after someone has been arrested. A prosecutor or a judge, however, cannot “dismiss” a charge until the charge has been filed.

ARE CHARGES DROPPED OR DISMISSED FOR OTHER REASONS?

In addition to the reasons discussed above, there may be practical rather than legal reasons why a New York prosecutor decides to drop a particular charge. Those reasons may include:

1. Limited resources: New York’s overcrowded courts and overworked prosecutors want to use resources efficiently and focus on high priority cases. If you’re charged with only a minor crime, there’s a good chance that the charge can be dropped or dismissed.

2. Leniency to first offenders: If it’s a minor crime, and especially if you are a first-time offender, a criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor to drop the charge.

3. Cooperation with the state: If you can provide a prosecutor with evidence for another case, the prosecutor may consider dropping any charges in exchange for your evidence and/or testimony.

ARE YOU UNDER INVESTIGATION?

If you are being investigated for a crime on Long Island or in New York City, or if you believe that you are suspected of a crime, speak to a defense attorney as quickly as possible.

This is important: Do not – under any circumstances – speak to an investigator, a police officer, or a prosecutor unless your own attorney is present.

police officers

The involvement of a criminal defense lawyer may speed up a criminal investigation, and your attorney may be able to “get in front” of the case, persuade the prosecutor to file no charges, or negotiate for a reduced charge and an acceptable plea agreement.

IN WHAT OTHER WAYS CAN A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM IN NY HELP?

If a criminal charge is filed against you on Long Island or in New York City, and if the charge cannot be dropped or dismissed, your attorney will:

1. investigate every detail of the charge
2. gather evidence and speak to witnesses
3. fight aggressively for justice on your behalf

legal books

You cannot face a criminal charge – even a misdemeanor charge – by yourself. Far too much is at risk. If you are charged with a crime or under investigation for a crime here in New York, you must have a top criminal defense lawyer working for you. Your future will depend on it.

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Mandatory Minimum Sentencing In New York

If you are charged with a crime in New York, will you face a mandatory minimum sentence if you’re convicted? Can a Long Island assault and battery law firm help?

In most cases, when criminals are convicted, the justice system lets judges weigh all of the facts when they decide on a sentence. But starting in the 1970s, Congress and several state legislatures passed laws that force judges to hand down mandatory minimum sentences for particular crimes.

For example, in 1973, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller announced plans to make New York’s drug laws the harshest drug laws in the United States. Offenders would face mandatory minimum sentences of fifteen years to life for certain drug offenses.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE EFFECT OF MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCING?

Lawmakers believed these inflexible sentences would devastate the illegal drug trade. More than forty years later, that has not happened. What happened instead was that New York’s state prisons quickly became severely overcrowded.

courtroom legislation

In 2004, Governor George Pataki signed legislation that reduced mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses from fifteen years to eight years for the most serious drug crimes. Yet this state still imposes mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of crimes including drug crimes.

Exactly what are mandatory minimum sentences? What criminal convictions require mandatory sentencing? Can these sentences be appealed?

ARE MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES FAIR AND JUST?

A mandatory sentencing law requires judges to hand down predetermined sentences for certain criminal convictions. A mandatory minimum sentence is a predetermined amount of time – determined by lawmakers rather than judges – that offenders must serve if they are convicted.

In New York, a number of drug crimes involve mandatory minimum sentences. Other crimes that can result in mandatory minimum sentences include gun crimes, sex crimes, and some types of theft.

Mandatory minimum sentences have received abundant criticism for being unjust, unfair, and racially discriminatory. Nonviolent drug offenders often receive sentences that do not actually match their crimes. Many activists now advocate an end to mandatory minimum sentencing.

CAN A JUDGE REDUCE A MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCE?

The central problem with mandatory minimum sentencing is that judges cannot reduce or otherwise change such a sentence. However, that does not mean that the situation is entirely hopeless for defendants.

A defense lawyer may be able to arrange a plea deal that lets a criminal defendant plead guilty to a lesser charge that does not entail a mandatory minimum sentence. And if a defendant receives a mandatory minimum sentence, it is possible to overturn the conviction in the appeals process.

lawyer arranging plea deal

Because of mandatory minimum sentencing, many convicted offenders in New York face extremely long sentences for non-violent crimes. Some are serving fifteen-to-twenty-five years in prison for a single drug sale. Taxpayers are increasingly concerned, because they pay the bill.

Most defense attorneys and other observers believe that most offenders serving a mandatory minimum sentence should instead be sent to alcohol treatment or drug rehab. Instead of offering offenders a chance to change their lives, mandatory minimum sentencing destroys lives.

WHICH CONVICTIONS TRIGGER MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES?

In New York, there are no mandatory minimum sentences for misdemeanors. The maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor conviction is a year in jail. The maximum sentence for a Class B misdemeanor conviction is ninety days in jail.

However, a number of felonies in this state require mandatory minimum sentencing upon conviction when the defendant is tried as an adult. These felonies include:

1. robbery in the first, second, or third degree
2. burglary in the second or third degree
3. assault in the first or second degree
4. possession or sale of a controlled substance in the third degree
5. criminal possession of a weapon in the second or third degree

HOW WILL A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW FIRM HELP YOU?

If you are charged with any of these crimes in or near New York City or Long Island, you must reach out and contact a Long Island criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Your future and your freedom will be at stake.

defense attorney in court

Your defense attorney will explain the charges against you and how the law may apply in your own case. Everyone who is accused of a crime by the state of New York must have the advice and representation that can be provided only by an experienced and skilled defense attorney.

If you are charged with a crime that requires a mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction, and if you are innocent, you should fight the charge. However, if the state’s case against you is strong, you should talk with your defense lawyer about a plea bargain.

WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT PLEA BARGAINS?

However, you must not agree to any plea arrangement or “deal” unless and until your attorney recommends it. Never attempt to negotiate a plea bargain on your own. Your attorney routinely negotiates on behalf of clients and knows what it takes to get the best possible plea bargain.

Plea deals are routine in New York’s criminal court system, and only a tiny percentage of the charges filed by New York’s prosecutors actually become courtroom trials. Plea bargains are in fact responsible for more than ninety percent of the criminal convictions in the United States.

courtroom plea deal

A plea arrangement – so long as it’s fair – is often the best option for a defendant who faces a mandatory minimum sentence.

WHEN SHOULD YOU INSIST ON A JURY TRIAL?

However, if you are certain in your own mind that you are not guilty of the crime you are charged with, you can reject a plea bargain offer and insist on a jury trial. If you are innocent, a good Long Island criminal defense attorney will aggressively advocate for justice on your behalf.

Choosing the right defense lawyer is imperative. If you are charged with any crime in this state, you must take advantage of the insights, advice, and representation that an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer can provide. Your future could depend on it.

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In NY, Is It Possible To Get A DWI On A Boat?

Winters in New York can be harsh, but when spring rolls around, most people on Long Island will want to enjoy swimming, water-skiing, sailing, and other water-based recreations. It can be great fun – until and unless someone operating a boat becomes intoxicated.

Drugs and alcohol can cause blurred vision, impaired balance, impaired judgment, poor coordination, and slower reaction times. Alcohol is a leading cause of boating accidents, injuries, and fatalities. An impaired boater can be extremely dangerous.

If you are accused of boating while intoxicated, you may not be guilty, but you must have a Long Island DWI lawyer’s help.

WHAT CONSTITUTES BOATING WHILE INTOXICATED?

Here in New York, drinking while you operate a boat is illegal just like drinking when you drive a car. When a boat operator’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level measures 0.08 percent or more, the operator may be charged with Boating While Intoxicated.

Charges For Boating While Intoxicated.

Several crimes in New York are related to BWI:

1. Boating while ability-impaired by alcohol or “alcohol-BWAI.” An alcohol-BWAI charge may be filed if you are boating while impaired in any way by alcohol.

2. Boating while ability-impaired by drugs or “drug-BWAI.” A drug-BWAI charge may be filed if you are boating while impaired in any way by drugs.

WHAT ABOUT COMMERCIAL AND UNDERAGE BOAT OPERATORS?

If you are operating a boat commercially in New York waters, a BAC measurement of 0.04 percent will trigger a BWI charge.

If you are under 21 years old, “zero tolerance” for alcohol is the rule in New York, and you may be charged with “underage BWI” for operating a boat with a BAC level as low as 0.02 percent.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR ALCOHOL-BWAI?

Generally speaking, the penalties for a BWI conviction or a BWAI conviction will depend on the offender’s prior BWI, BWAI, DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and DWAI (Driving While Ability-Impaired) convictions, if any. These are the penalties for alcohol-BWAI:

1. A first alcohol-BWAI offense is considered a violation. A first conviction is punishable with a fine of up to $500 and up to fifteen days in jail.

2. A second alcohol-BWAI offense in five years is a misdemeanor. A second conviction within five years is punishable with a fine of up to $750 and up to thirty days in jail.

3. A third alcohol-BWAI offense within ten years is also a misdemeanor. A third conviction within ten years is punishable with a fine of up to $1,500 and up to 180 days in jail.

All convicted alcohol-BWAI offenders lose their privilege to operate a boat for at least six months.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR DRUG-BWAI AND FOR BWI?

Convictions for BWI and for drug-DWAI lead to the same penalties:

1. A first drug-BWAI or BWI offense is a misdemeanor. A first conviction is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

2. A second drug-BWAI or BWI offense within ten years is a Class E felony. A second conviction within ten years is punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and up to four years in a New York prison.

3. A third drug-BWAI or BWI offense within ten years is a Class D felony. A third conviction within ten years is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 and up to seven years in a New York prison.

FOR HOW LONG CAN YOUR RIGHT TO OPERATE A BOAT BE SUSPENDED?

Boaters convicted of a first-offense drug-BWAI or BWI will lose their privilege to operate a boat for one year. If a boater is convicted a second time of drug-BWAI or BWI within ten years, the privilege to operate a boat is suspended for two years.

Experienced Long Island DWI Attorneys

If you are operating a boat while intoxicated and you cause an accident and/or injuries, you will face additional charges and harsher penalties.

All convicted Boating While Intoxicated offenders must also complete eight hours of boating safety classes.

HOW CAN A DWI LAW FIRM IN NY HELP?

If you are charged with any alcohol-related crime on Long Island or anywhere in the New York City area, you must be advised and represented by an experienced Long Island DWI attorney.

If law enforcement officers violated your legal rights, or if there are questions about the reliability of the breathalyzer results, a good DWI lawyer may be able to have the charge against you dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.

Innocents Should Reject Plea Bargain Offers

Of course, if you are innocent, you should reject any plea bargain offer and insist on a trial by jury. If your case goes to trial, your DWI attorney will advocate aggressively on your behalf and will explain to the jurors why they should find you not guilty.

WHAT ARE THE STATISTICS ON BOATING ACCIDENTS AND ALCOHOL?

The Coast Guard tells us that in 2015, across the United States, 4,158 recreational boating accidents led to 626 fatalities, 2,613 other serious injuries, and about $42 million dollars in property damages.

In 2016, fifty percent of the boating fatalities in New York – eleven of twenty-two – were linked to alcohol or drugs.

Recreational boating in the state of New York is a $2 billion industry enjoyed by thousands of our state’s residents and visitors alike. But with nearly 450,000 powerboats registered in this state, there are plenty of opportunities for serious accidents and injuries.

WHAT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BOATERS TAKE?

This spring and summer, and whenever you enjoy the waters around New York City and Long Island, do not forget to take these important safety precautions:

1. Check a reliable weather forecast before you depart.
2. Wear a life jacket and make sure that everyone aboard wears one too.
3. Have flares, a powerful and dependable flashlight, a fire extinguisher, and a marine radio.
4. Do not drink alcohol or use any drugs before you operate a boat or any other watercraft.

WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW ABOUT BOATING AND BWI?

Do not even think about operating a boat if you have not completed a boating safety course. If you are the boat owner or operator, you must be proactive about safe boating.

Have a Complete Boating Safety Course.

Still, if you’re charged with BWI in New York because you made a bad decision about drinking – or if you’re innocent and wrongly accused – reach out as quickly as you can to an experienced DWI attorney for the legal help you will need. Your future and your freedom could depend on it.

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Mutual Orders Of Protection In New York

An allegation of domestic violence is a strong and negative charge against anyone’s character. If you are charged with any crime of domestic violence, arrange at once to meet with an experienced Long Island domestic violence attorney.

All fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia, have provisions allowing the courts to issue protection orders to the alleged victims of domestic violence. How do protection orders work in the state of New York?

WHAT DOES A PROTECTION ORDER DO?

Survivors of domestic violence may seek a protection order to guard themselves against further victimization. Although a protection order may not prevent an abuser from stalking or even hurting a victim, the protection order allows a victim to have the abuser arrested if it is violated.

A Restriction Order If The Abuser Violate It.

In New York, the state’s family courts and criminal courts have simultaneous jurisdiction over “family-related” offenses such as assault, stalking, menacing, and sexual misconduct and abuse.

Domestic violence is now commonly defined to include all acts of physical, psychological, sexual, or economic violence committed by a family or household member or by an intimate partner against another member of the family or household or against the other intimate partner.

WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS?

Domestic violence victims in the state of New York may bring civil charges in family court, criminal charges in criminal court, or concurrent actions in both courts.

Victims may also apply for an order of protection from either court – an order that tells a defendant to stay away from the victim and the children involved.

WHAT CAN A PROTECTION ORDER COMPEL SOMEONE TO DO?

An order of protection may also tell an alleged abuser not to threaten, injure, or harass you, your family, or any other person or persons named in the order. It may additionally include, but is not limited to, orders notifying the alleged abuser to:

1. move out of your residence
2. obey the court’s child custody order
3. obey the court’s child support order
4. stay away from you and your children
5. surrender any firearms that the alleged abuser may possess

Protection Order

An order of protection attempts to compel an alleged abuser to behave without aggression or active violence against the individual who sought the protection order. In a mutual order of protection, both parties request the same type of protection – from one another.

WHO QUALIFIES TO SEEK AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, to obtain an order of protection in a New York family court, your relationship to the alleged abuser must fall into one of these four categories:

1. The alleged abuser is a current or former spouse.
2. The alleged abuser is the other parent of your child.
3. The alleged abuser is a family member related to you by blood or marriage.
4. The alleged abuser is someone you have or have had an “intimate relationship” with.

Legally speaking, an intimate relationship is not necessarily a sexual relationship. It depends on a number of factors. When a petition for a protection order is received, the court will determine if the relationship in question is, in the court’s opinion, “intimate.”

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF SOMEONE VIOLATES A PROTECTION ORDER?

If you violate a protection order in the state of New York, you can face a contempt charge that may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the details and extent of the violation:

1. Criminal contempt in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

2. Criminal contempt in the first degree is a Class E felony punishable upon conviction by up to four years (and a minimum of one year) in prison.

3. Aggravated criminal contempt in the first degree is a Class D felony punishable upon conviction by up to seven years (and a minimum of one year) in prison.

Consequences of violate a protection order

A judge may order a convicted offender to attend “anger management” classes or to seek treatment for drug or alcohol issues.

WHAT ELSE CAN HAPPEN WHEN A PROTECTION ORDER IS ISSUED?

When mutual orders of protection are requested and issued, a New York family court judge may also modify the court orders dealing with a couples’ child support, custody, and visitation privileges.

These matters may surface when mutual orders of protection are issued because no interaction will be allowed between the parents.

Mutual orders of protection are typically issued when both parties have presented evidence of domestic abuse or violence and when the court determines that both parties acted aggressively and not primarily out of self-defense.

IF YOU ARE ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, WHO CAN HELP YOU?

If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence or with the violation of a protection order on Long Island or anywhere in New York City, you’re going to need the help of a criminal defense attorney.

Aside from the criminal penalties, a conviction for a domestic violence crime can also affect:

• your future job opportunities
• your right to own or carry a firearm
• your right to earn or maintain a professional license
• the court’s child custody orders and provisions

Consequences Of Domestic Violence

In no way is an order of protection – or any criminal charge of domestic violence – the equivalent of a criminal conviction. A false domestic violence claim can usually be discredited by a good defense attorney.

Self-defense and the defense of personal property are also sometimes offered as defenses to domestic violence charges, but having the charges dismissed, or winning an acquittal from a trial jury, will require the knowledge and skills of a talented domestic violence attorney.

WHAT IF THE ALLEGATION AGAINST YOU IS FALSE?

Domestic violence accusations are taken seriously by the authorities in New York. Nevertheless, lawyers and judges have seen plenty of false accusations in domestic violence cases.

If you’re charged with a crime of domestic violence in New York, a court may issue a protection order, and you could even be barred from your own home. If the accusation is fabricated, who can help you?

If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, or if you are named in a protection order, speak to an experienced Long Island domestic violence attorney at once. A good criminal defense attorney’s help is your right.

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Parolee Rights After Early Release In New York

Not every inmate in a New York state prison will become eligible for an early release – also called “parole” – and those inmates who do become eligible will face terms and conditions of parole that are deemed necessary to protect the public.

In New York, if you are charged with any felony, it will be imperative for you to obtain – as quickly as possible – the advice and services of an experienced Long Island parole violation attorney.

A parole board must approve a New York prison inmate’s early release. Parolees then serve the remainder of their sentences in their communities and under the supervision of parole officers.

WHAT ARE “INDETERMINATE” AND “DETERMINATE” SENTENCES?

Felony sentences in this state are “indeterminate” or “determinate.” A determinate sentence is usually imposed after a defendant is convicted on a violent felony charge.

Determinate sentences are fixed periods of time that must be served by a felony offender in a state prison.

Indeterminate sentences, however, set a maximum and minimum amount of prison time that must be served.

The minimum term for an indeterminate sentence cannot be less than one year, and the maximum term cannot be less than three years. A felony inmate may qualify for parole after serving the minimum time required by his or her indeterminate sentence.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN INMATE IS APPROVED FOR PAROLE?

When a convicted felon is released from a New York prison and approved to serve parole, that person will have to sign some documents agreeing to the conditions and terms of parole.

The conditions of parole, according to the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, “are rules which you must follow while under supervision. Conditions are furnished in writing to you and are explained by a Parole Officer.”

Parolees must sign that they have been given and have read a copy of their parole conditions, that they understand the parole conditions, and that they intend to comply with those conditions.

WHAT ARE THE USUAL CONDITIONS FOR PAROLE IN NEW YORK?

In exchange for early release, the state expects compliance with a variety of quite strict rules and requirements. Conditions of parole vary in each case but usually include:

1. adhering to a curfew
2. avoiding contact with known criminal associates
3. earning a diploma or GED or taking vocational training
4. seeking and maintaining employment
5. reporting regularly to a parole officer
6. submitting to warrantless searches and to random drug testing or polygraph testing
7. not purchasing, possessing, or using illegal narcotics, firearms, or other specified items

Offense-specific conditions of parole may also be imposed. A DWI offender, for example, may be ordered to place an IID device in his or her personal vehicle, and certain sex offenders must avoid locations, such as parks and playgrounds, where children typically congregate.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A PAROLE VIOLATION?

The violation of any parole condition can have severe consequences, including a return to prison. If you are a parolee charged with violating any condition of parole in the state of New York, you must be advised and represented by a parole attorney.

When a New York parole officer reasonably believes that a parolee has committed a parole violation, the Board of Parole can issue an arrest warrant, and the parolee will also be served with two additional documents:

1. A Violation of Release Report specifies what violation the parolee is charged with committing.
2. A Notice of Violation explains the parolee’s legal rights and specifies the date, time, and location of the preliminary parole violation hearing.

If you are a parolee in New York accused of violating a condition of your parole, you must seek a parole attorney’s advice and representation before a preliminary parole violation hearing.

You must act at once, because that preliminary hearing will be scheduled within fifteen days of the arrest.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A PRELIMINARY PAROLE VIOLATION HEARING?

A preliminary parole violation hearing does not decide an accused parolee’s innocence or guilt. Instead, the evidence is weighed to determine if the state has probable cause to proceed against the accused.

However, a qualified parole attorney can aggressively challenge the evidence offered at the preliminary hearing and seek to have the parole violation case against you dismissed.

If probable cause is nevertheless found by the court, a final hearing will be scheduled within ninety days, but your attorney may be able to have the case continued beyond that deadline if necessary.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A FINAL PAROLE VIOLATION HEARING?

At a final parole violation hearing, your attorney will present evidence to defend you against the parole violation charge. If you are acquitted, your parole will probably continue under the same conditions. If you are convicted, a return to a New York state prison is a genuine possibility.

No one should be confused about the difference between probation and parole in the state of New York. Probation allows a convicted criminal defendant to stay in his or her community without serving time in prison.

Parole is the early release of a felony inmate from a New York state prison. Under both parole and probation, a convicted offender must obey court-ordered terms and conditions.

IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

Of course, you will not serve any probation or parole unless you have been convicted of a crime, so a criminal conviction is what you want to avoid. Any criminal conviction establishes a criminal record and entails long-term consequences – both personal and legal.

If you are charged with any crime in the Long Island or New York City area, politely exercise your right to remain silent, and do not try to act as your own lawyer. New York’s laws are too complex – and the penalties for a conviction are too harsh – to take that kind of risk.

Instead, if you are charged with any crime, in New York City or on Long Island, get the legal advice and defense representation that you will very much need, and consult at once with an experienced criminal defense attorney. That is your right.

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