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How to Understand Your Rights During a Criminal Investigation in New York

Understanding Your Rights During a Criminal Investigation in New York

Being involved in a criminal investigation can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience. If you find yourself in this situation in New York, it’s crucial that you understand your fundamental rights. At Spodek Law Group, we’ve helped countless clients navigate the complexities of criminal investigations. Our experienced attorneys are here to protect your rights and guide you through every step of the process.

Your Constitutional Rights

When facing a criminal investigation in New York, you have several key constitutional rights that protect you. It’s VITAL that you understand and assert these rights to safeguard yourself. Let’s break down the most important rights you need to be aware of:

The Right to Remain Silent

One of the most critical rights during a criminal investigation is your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. This means you are NOT required to answer questions from law enforcement or prosecutors. Many people mistakenly believe they can talk their way out of trouble, but this often backfires. ANYTHING you say can potentially be used against you, even if it seems harmless.Our advice? Politely but firmly tell investigators that you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you want to speak with an attorney. Then STOP TALKING. Period. Don’t try to explain or justify anything. Just stay quiet until you have legal representation present.

The Right to an Attorney

You have the constitutional right to have an attorney present during any questioning by law enforcement. This is CRUCIAL for protecting your interests. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can:

  • Advise you on what to say (or not say) to investigators
  • Ensure your rights are not violated during questioning
  • Gather information about the investigation
  • Begin building your defense strategy early on

At Spodek Law Group, we recommend invoking this right immediately if you are contacted by law enforcement about an investigation. Tell them you want your attorney present for any discussions and then call us right away at 212-300-5196.

Protection Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

The Fourth Amendment protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. This means police generally need a warrant to search your home, vehicle, or other property. There are some exceptions, but in most cases, you can and should refuse any searches if officers don’t have a warrant.If police show up at your door asking to “take a look around,” politely but firmly tell them NO. You are not required to consent to searches. Ask if they have a warrant. If not, do not let them in or allow them to search anything.

The Right to Due Process

You have the right to due process under the law, which means fair treatment throughout the criminal justice process. This includes:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • The right to know the charges against you
  • The right to a fair and speedy trial
  • The right to confront witnesses against you
  • Protection against self-incrimination

Our attorneys at Spodek Law Group work tirelessly to ensure our clients’ due process rights are protected at every stage of an investigation and potential prosecution.

What to Do If You’re Contacted by Law Enforcement

If you are contacted by police or other law enforcement about a criminal investigation, it’s important to stay calm and remember your rights. Here are the key steps we recommend:

  1. Be polite but firm. Don’t argue or become confrontational.
  2. Ask if you are under arrest or free to leave. If you’re not under arrest, you can leave at any time.
  3. Tell them you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you want to speak to an attorney.
  4. Do NOT consent to any searches of your person, vehicle, or property.
  5. Do NOT discuss anything about the investigation or alleged crime.
  6. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Remember, ANYTHING you say can potentially be used against you later. Even if you’re innocent, it’s best to have an attorney present before answering any questions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When facing a criminal investigation, there are several common mistakes we often see people make. Avoiding these pitfalls can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case:

Talking to Investigators Without an Attorney

This is probably the BIGGEST mistake we see. Many people think they can explain their side of the story and clear things up. But investigators are skilled at getting information, and you may inadvertently say something incriminating. ALWAYS have an attorney present for any discussions with law enforcement.

Consenting to Searches

Never consent to searches of your home, vehicle, electronic devices, or other property without a warrant. Even if you think you have nothing to hide, allowing searches can give investigators access to information that could be misconstrued or used against you.

Discussing the Case with Others

Avoid talking about the investigation with friends, family, or coworkers. These conversations are not privileged and could potentially be used as evidence. Only discuss the case with your attorney.

Destroying Evidence

DO NOT destroy, alter, or hide any potential evidence, even if you think it may be incriminating. This can lead to additional charges for obstruction of justice.

Posting on Social Media

Be extremely careful about what you post on social media during an investigation. Prosecutors may use your posts, photos, or location check-ins as evidence against you. It’s best to stay off social media entirely until the matter is resolved.

The Importance of Experienced Legal Representation

When facing a criminal investigation in New York, having the right attorney can make all the difference. At Spodek Law Group, we bring decades of experience defending clients against all types of criminal charges. Our attorneys are former prosecutors who understand how the other side thinks and operates.We know that every case is unique, which is why we take a personalized approach to each client’s defense. When you work with us, you’ll benefit from:

  • Aggressive advocacy: We fight tirelessly to protect your rights and interests
  • Strategic defense planning: We develop customized strategies based on the specifics of your case
  • Extensive resources: We have a network of investigators and experts to build the strongest possible defense
  • Skilled negotiation: We work to resolve cases favorably, often before charges are even filed
  • Trial experience: If your case goes to court, we have a proven track record of success at trial

Don’t face a criminal investigation alone. Contact Spodek Law Group today at 212-300-5196 for a confidential consultation. We’re here to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

Understanding the Criminal Investigation Process

To effectively protect your rights, it’s helpful to understand how criminal investigations typically unfold in New York. While every case is unique, most follow a general pattern:

Initial Report or Complaint

Investigations usually begin when law enforcement receives a report of suspected criminal activity. This could come from a victim, witness, or anonymous tip.

Preliminary Investigation

Officers gather initial evidence and information to determine if a crime may have occurred. This may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing surveillance footage, or examining the scene of an alleged crime.

Formal Investigation

If preliminary findings suggest criminal activity, a more in-depth investigation begins. This may involve:

  • Executing search warrants
  • Conducting detailed interviews
  • Analyzing physical evidence
  • Reviewing financial records
  • Surveillance of suspects

Grand Jury Proceedings

In some cases, prosecutors may present evidence to a grand jury to determine if there’s enough evidence to bring formal charges. Grand jury proceedings are secret, and suspects don’t have the right to be present or have an attorney there.

Arrest and Charging

If investigators believe they have sufficient evidence, they may make an arrest or file formal charges. At this point, the case moves into the court system.Understanding this process can help you recognize what stage an investigation is in and what steps law enforcement may take next. At Spodek Law Group, we guide our clients through each phase, ensuring their rights are protected every step of the way.

Specific Rights in New York

While federal constitutional rights apply everywhere, New York state law provides some additional protections during criminal investigations:

Right to Know Officer Information

In New York, you have the right to know an officer’s name, badge number, and command during any interaction. If you’re arrested, this information must be provided without you having to ask.

Expanded Search and Seizure Protections

New York courts have interpreted the state constitution to provide broader protection against unreasonable searches and seizures in some cases compared to federal law. This can impact what evidence may be admissible in court.

Recording Police Interactions

You generally have the right to record video and audio of police officers performing their duties in public places in New York, as long as you don’t interfere with their work.

Prompt Arraignment

New York law requires that arrested individuals be arraigned (formally charged in court) within 24 hours in most cases. This helps ensure that people aren’t held for extended periods without formal charges.Our attorneys at Spodek Law Group are well-versed in both federal and New York-specific laws. We leverage this knowledge to provide the strongest possible defense for our clients.

The Role of Technology in Modern Investigations

In today’s digital age, technology plays an increasingly important role in criminal investigations. Law enforcement may seek access to:

  • Cell phone records and location data
  • Email and text messages
  • Social media accounts
  • Computer files and browsing history
  • Security camera footage
  • GPS data from vehicles or devices

It’s crucial to understand your rights regarding digital privacy. In many cases, law enforcement needs a warrant to access this type of information. NEVER provide passwords or unlock devices for investigators without consulting an attorney first.At Spodek Law Group, we stay up-to-date on the latest legal developments regarding digital evidence. We fight to protect our clients’ privacy rights and challenge any improper collection or use of digital information.

Protecting Your Future

A criminal investigation can have far-reaching consequences, even if you’re never formally charged or convicted. It can impact your:

  • Employment opportunities
  • Professional licenses
  • Immigration status
  • Personal relationships
  • Reputation in the community

That’s why it’s CRITICAL to take any investigation seriously from the very beginning. By asserting your rights and obtaining experienced legal representation early on, you can often mitigate or even avoid these negative consequences.At Spodek Law Group, we understand what’s at stake. We work tirelessly to resolve investigations favorably, often before charges are even filed. Our goal is always to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future.

Take Action to Protect Your Rights

If you’re involved in or suspect you may be the target of a criminal investigation in New York, don’t wait to take action. The sooner you assert your rights and obtain legal representation, the better your chances of a positive outcome.Remember:

  • DO NOT consent to searches
  • CONTACT an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately

At Spodek Law Group, we’re here to help 24/7. Call us at 212-300-5196 for a confidential consultation. Let us put our experience, resources, and aggressive advocacy to work protecting your rights and your future.Don’t face a criminal investigation alone. Contact Spodek Law Group today and take the first step towards safeguarding your rights and freedom.

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