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Last Updated on: 26th September 2023, 04:38 pm
New York Arrest Lawyer – Your Guide to the Arrest Process in New York
Getting arrested in New York can be a scary experience. As someone who’s gone through it myself, I want to provide a helpful guide for what to expect and how an arrest lawyer can help. This article will cover the arrest process, your legal rights, potential defenses, and more – all in a simple, conversational tone.
The Arrest Process in New York
If the police stop you in New York, the first thing they’ll do is ask for your identification. If they have a warrant or probable cause to arrest you, they can take you into custody on the spot. Here’s a quick rundown of what happens next:
- You’ll be searched and any personal belongings will be confiscated.
- The police will transport you to the nearest precinct for booking. This involves taking your fingerprints and mugshot.
- You’ll be allowed a phone call to contact a lawyer or loved one.
- In most cases, you’ll have the option to post bail to be released until your court date.
- If bail is denied, you’ll be taken from the precinct to jail to await your first court appearance.
The arrest process can vary slightly between counties. But in most cases, it moves quickly – you’ll usually be booked and have the chance to post bail within a few hours.
Your Legal Rights During Arrest
As soon as you’re taken into police custody, you gain important legal rights that protect you through the arrest process:
- You have the right to know why you’re being arrested – the police must tell you the charges.
- You have the right to remain silent – anything you say can be used against you, so don’t answer questions without a lawyer present.
- You have the right to an attorney – police must allow you to call one.
- You have the right to refuse searches – unless police have a warrant or clear probable cause.
Knowing your rights is key, because the police won’t always tell you them. Don’t say anything to the police except that you want to speak to your lawyer – that’s the most important right to invoke.
Hiring an Arrest Lawyer
Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Here are some key benefits a good arrest attorney provides:
- They can negotiate with the prosecutor to get charges reduced or dismissed.
- They know how to fight to get your bail lowered or waived, so you don’t stay locked up.
- They understand the system and local courts better than a public defender.
- They can advise you on whether to take a plea deal or go to trial.
- They have resources like investigators and experts to build the strongest defense.
A lawyer’s help early on in the process is crucial. Don’t wait until after you’ve been charged – call an attorney as soon as you’re arrested.
Potential Defenses Against Criminal Charges
If you do get formally charged with a crime, there are a variety of defenses your arrest lawyer may use. Some common ones include:
- Illegal search and seizure – If the police didn’t have probable cause or a warrant, evidence can be thrown out.
- Miranda rights violation – If police didn’t read you your rights, your statements may be inadmissible.
- Misidentification – Eyewitness mistakes are common – an attorney can challenge identifications.
- Self-defense – Using appropriate force to protect yourself can justify many violent crimes.
- Intoxication – You can’t form intent to commit a crime if you were involuntarily intoxicated.
An experienced lawyer will examine every angle of your case to figure out the best defense strategy. Don’t hesitate to discuss all your options.
The Importance of Bail
After being arrested, getting out on bail should be your top priority. Sitting in jail for weeks or months before your trial can have devastating consequences:
- You’ll likely lose your job.
- You can lose custody of children or pets.
- You’re at risk of violence from other inmates.
- It’s incredibly damaging to mental health.
- It becomes much harder to build your legal defense.
A good lawyer will fight to get your bail reduced or waived so you can be released. Factors like your criminal history, ties to the community, and flight risk are considered. For low-level crimes or first arrests, there’s a good chance of getting out on bail.
Taking a Plea Deal
Once charged, your lawyer may advise you to take a plea bargain rather than go to trial. Here are some pros and cons to weigh:
- Guaranteed lesser sentence vs. risk of “guilty” verdict at trial.
- Avoids the public spectacle and scrutiny of a trial.
- Saves significant time and legal expenses.
- Let’s you take responsibility and move on with your life.
- Pleading guilty to a crime you didn’t commit or don’t remember.
- Having a permanent criminal record.
- Serving jail time or probation you might have avoided.
- Giving up your right to defend yourself at trial.
Your lawyer will give their best advice on whether to take a plea deal based on the strength of your case. Make sure you understand all the implications before making a decision.
What Happens at Trial
If you decide to take your case to trial, here’s a quick overview of the process in New York:
- Jury selection – Attorneys question and select 12 impartial jurors.
- Opening statements – Lawyers present an overview of their case.
- Witness testimony and cross-examination.
- Closing arguments – Attorneys summarize their strongest evidence.
- Jury deliberation – The jury discusses the case and votes on a verdict.
- Verdict – The jury acquits or convicts you.
- Sentencing – If found guilty, the judge gives your sentence.
Criminal trials often come down to the jury, because they decide your ultimate fate. An experienced trial lawyer knows how to question jurors, present evidence persuasively, and sow seeds of reasonable doubt.
Understanding Your Charges and Potential Sentences
The charges you face and potential sentences depend on the specifics of your case. But here’s a quick rundown of common New York charges and sentences:
- Misdemeanors – Max 1 year in jail. Examples: Petit larceny, DUI, assault.
- Felonies – Over 1 year in prison. Examples: Grand larceny, robbery, rape.
- Violent felonies – Max 25 years. Examples: Murder, kidnapping, arson.
Sentence ranges vary widely based on your criminal history and trial outcome. The judge has significant discretion at sentencing. An experienced attorney knows how to advocate for the lightest sentence.
How Convictions Affect Your Life
Being convicted of a crime can negatively impact your life in many ways:
- Jail or prison time
- Difficulty finding a job and housing
- Barred from certain careers like medicine or education
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Loss of voting rights
- Deportation if you’re a non-citizen
- Stigma and relationships
These consequences make fighting the charges critically important. An experienced lawyer will advise you on how a conviction could affect your specific situation.
Getting Your Record Sealed or Expunged
If you do end up with a conviction, getting your record sealed or expunged can help mitigate the consequences. Sealing keeps your record private from the public. Expungement erases it completely. Here are some key things to know:
- You must wait 1-10 years after conviction, depending on the offense.
- Violent felonies and sex crimes usually can’t be sealed or expunged.
- You’ll need to petition the court and pay legal fees.
- An attorney greatly increases your chances of success.
Getting your record cleared is a complicated legal process with strict eligibility rules. But it can open doors to jobs, housing, loans etc. so it’s well worth pursuing.
Why I Became an Arrest Lawyer
As someone who went through the arrest process myself as a college student, I understand how scary and overwhelming it can feel. The system is stacked against regular people. Prosecutors have huge incentives to pile on charges that can ruin lives. Public defenders are overworked. That’s why I became a defense lawyer – to level the playing field and fight for people facing the power of the state. If you or someone you care about gets arrested, please call me. I’ll protect your rights, fight to get charges reduced or dismissed, and help you move forward with your life.
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