27 Nov 23

Reducing Charges and Sentences: The Benefits of Hiring a Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 11:03 pm

Getting arrested and charged with a crime is downright scary. Even misdemeanors carry real penalties like hefty fines or jail time. Felonies are way more serious with years-long prison sentences on the table. So what do you do after an arrest on Long Island? Call an experienced Nassau County or Suffolk County criminal defense lawyer, of course!

A good Long Island criminal attorney can advise on bail and pre-trial release, build courtroom defenses, negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges/penalties, and craft sentencing arguments to keep you out of jail. This article overviews common ways skilled NY criminal lawyers get charges and potential sentences dropped. Read on to learn more.

Building a Strong Defense Starts with the Right Lawyer

Retaining the right criminal defense lawyer on Long Island – someone with deep courtroom experience and good relationships with prosecutors – makes a huge difference. Shop around. Ask family, friends or other lawyers for referrals. Meet for free case consultations before deciding. Look for things like:

  • 10+ years handling local cases
  • Published trial victories and plea bargain “wins”
  • Aggressive negotiators who drive hard bargains

It’s totally normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed after an arrest. But stay calm and think things through. Vet a few courtroom litigators before choosing someone you really trust to safeguard your future.

Getting Charges Reduced Through Plea Bargaining

After retaining counsel, shift focus to mounting a defense and engaging prosecutors. Roughly 90-95% of state and federal criminal cases end in plea deals rather than trials. The incentives to “plead out” are high. Defendants get concrete sentencing recommendations. The state avoids the time and expense of trial.

But the potential sentence reduction really depends on the facts of each case. Were drugs/guns/violence involved? What’s the prior record? Did anyone get hurt? Mitigating factors like addiction/mental health struggles, remorse, making amends, or cooperating with authorities might decrease penalties too.

An experienced NY criminal lawyer considers all this in plea negotiations. The goal is convincing prosecutors they have a weak case, or that a plea serves other interests. This takes advocacy and negotiation skills. Common bargaining tactics include:

  • Raising affirmative defenses – claiming actions were legal
  • Providing information/cooperation – offering prosecutors something of value
  • Appealing to equities – emphasizing collateral consequences and hardships
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Through these strategies, skilled Long Island defense attorneys reduce felony charges to misdemeanors and lessen potential prison/jail terms. The extent depends on each case, but drops from years to months happen.

Other Benefits of Retaining a Long Island Criminal Lawyer

Beyond charge and sentence reductions, reputable defense lawyers provide other valuable services after an arrest in New York. For example:

  • Advise on best options pending prosecution – should you plead “guilty” or “not guilty” at arraignment? Accept a plea deal or go to trial? Testify or remain silent? Admit guilt and show remorse? Obtain counseling? Cooperate with authorities? So many major choices arise post-arrest. An experienced criminal attorney carefully analyzes the pros/cons and provides seasoned guidance.
  • Assist with pre-trial release and bail – skilled litigators emphasize public safety risks are low and argue for release without onerous financial conditions. Paying money bail puts devastating financial stress on defendants and families.
  • Identify procedural problems – did the search or arrest violate 4th Amendment rights? Were Miranda warnings properly given? Did police coerce a confession? Were lineups conducted fairly? Experienced lawyers spot issues and move to suppress evidence/statements accordingly.
  • Gather exculpatory evidence – what records, documents, photos, videos, medical reports, employment files, school records, etc. help show innocence? Who saw events unfold? Will they give statements? Will experts review reports? Will therapists testify? A zealous defense investigation matters.
  • Locate witnesses, interview them, and prepare for testimony – police and eyewitnesses often have faulty memories or recollections colored by bias. Skilled cross-examination exposes inconsistencies and locks in favorable testimony.
  • Work with prosecutors ahead of grand jury presentments – testify personally? Provide written statements or records? Give the prosecutor a preview of defenses planned? Strategic engagement here potentially averts or reduces charges.
  • Make sentencing arguments – emphasize mitigating factors like mental health struggles, trauma history, addiction, age, employment record, etc. to advocate for less or no incarceration. Stress how probation, home confinement, community service, fines, and rehabilitation better serve justice.

The Value of Hiring an Experienced Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyer

In sum, retaining a seasoned Long Island criminal defense lawyer after arrest provides immense value beyond potential charge and sentence reductions. Navigating the criminal justice system solo is unwise. Prosecutors possess vast power to stack charges, seek lengthy incarceration, seize assets, and more.

Trust an experienced NY defense litigator to protect your rights, liberty, and future. The stakes simply couldn’t be higher. Don’t take chances. Call a reputable criminal defense firm on Long Island for a free case evaluation today.

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