If you have been arrested in the state of New York, and are being charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Whether a felony or a misdemeanor, having a criminal record can seriously impact your future. At the Law Office of Brian A. Picarello, we handle all types of criminal actions ranging from violations to A1 Felonies.
The advantages of hiring a seasoned private attorney over being assigned a public defender are numerous. Contact us today for a free consultation. You do not have to go through it alone.
Criminal Defense Law Information
Criminal law involves government prosecution of an individual for an act that is classified as a crime. Criminal cases are tried through a state prosecutor who initiates the criminal law cases. Individuals who are convicted of a crime may be incarcerated, fined, or a combination of both.
Criminal law crimes include both felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are serious criminal offenses that are punishable by a term of imprisonment anywhere from one year until death. Misdemeanors are crimes punishable by fines or imprisonment for up to one year.
There are many difference levels, even for the same crime. Here is a list of how it is organized, from most serious to least serious.
- A1 Felonies
- A2 Felonies
- B violent felonies
- B non-violent felonies
- C violent felonies
- C non-violent felonies
- D violent felonies
- D non-violent felonies
- E felonies
- A misdemeanors
- B misdemeanors
Most criminal law crimes consist of two key elements; an act and a mental state. Criminal law prosecutors (District Attorneys representing the People of the State of New York, or U.S. Attorneys representing the United States in federal court) have to prove all elements of the crime to gain a conviction. In addition, the prosecutor must convince a jury or judge “beyond a reasonable doubt” of all facts needed to validate the guilt of the crime being charged.
Criminal Justice – General Information
Preparing for Court:
You have the right to be represented by an attorney when you have been charged with an offense. This is very important because most people may not know the best way to protect their own interests upon arrest. Furthermore, appearing before a judge can be overwhelming, and having an attorney on your side can be very beneficial. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to give them ample time to learn about the case and get prepared for your trial. If you cannot afford an attorney you may be eligible to receive a court appointed attorney for you case.
The Court Date:
It is important to show up to your court date at your specified time. Failure to appear on your court date could mean the following things:
You will lose any bond money you posted
You might still be tried without your presence and be found guilty
If it is a traffic offense you license may be suspended
You may receive an additional offense of failure to appear and a warrant may be issued in your arrest
Show up early for your court date. Parking is limited and you must pass through a security station before entering the court room. Do not bring cameras, weapons, or cell phones with cameras. Make sure that you are dressed neat and clean and behave respectfully.
Inside of the Courtroom:
There will be many people in the court room during your case.
- Judge – The judge has a great deal of power to determine the outcome of your case. Always be respectful and pay close attention to what the judge says.
- Court Security Officer – There will always be one or more Sheriffs in the courtroom to ensure safety.
- Clerk – The clerk helps the judge handle paperwork from the case and also notes the outcome.
- Police Officer – The arresting officer may be present in traffic and criminal cases. They will describe the offense and circumstances of the arrest.
- An Assistance District Attorney – The state’s cases will be presented by the prosecutor in serious cases.
- Defense Attorney – Your hired or appointed attorney will present your side of the case.
- Court Reporter – In serious criminal cases a court reporter will be present to record everything that happens.
- Jury – In serious criminal cases the outcome may be determined by a jury rather than a judge.
- An “Audience” – Criminal courtrooms are open to the public, so there may be people sitting in the back of the room observing.
Outcomes of Trials:
Here are some of the following outcomes of a trial:
- Dismissal – For a number of reasons, the judge may decide to dismiss the charges against you or the Commonwealth’s Attorney may decide not to prosecute.
- Not Guilty – If you are found not guilty you are free to go and have no further responsibility tied to that charge.
- Guilty – If you are found guilty you will be responsible for repaying the court for the cost of trying your case. In addition you may be fined, sentenced to jail, required to do probation, required to attend the alcohol safety action program or required to be sent to a substance abuse treatment.
You do have the right to appeal your case if you are found guilty. If you appeal your case you would be tried all over again. It is best to work with an attorney if you are going to appeal your case and you must file it within 10 days of your conviction.
Very few criminal matters go to trial, and it is far more likely that a “deal” will be struck, which usually involves pleading to a lesser charge. There are never any guarantees, and even fewer “sure things,” but hiring one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys will ensure that your rights will be protected, and that your best interests will be served. Contact us today for your free consultation.