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New York Criminal Defense Lawyer

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New York Criminal Lawyer

The NY Criminal Lawyers at Spodek Law Group P.C. have a history of obtaining results for the clients. When the chips are down, and you have no where to turn you can rest assured that we will be on your side. If you are charged with a violation, misdemeanor, or felony charge we will invest our blood, sweat and tears into your case. We will never judge you for the choices you have made. We will be there when no else is, and we will do everything in our power to get you out of this situation unscathed.

Call us at (212) 300-5196 24/7 for a free consultation on your criminal case. 

Some of our practice areas for criminal law:

White Collar Crimes
Federal Crimes
Felony Charges
Misdemeanor Charges
Central Booking & Arraignments

Why Hire Spodek Law Group?

    • The attorneys at Spodek Law Group P.C. have represented clients in New York City with similar criminal charges before, and understand how the district attorneys office investigates and prosecutes the crime.
    • There are 2 two criminal defense attorneys assigned to each case. This guarantees that there is always someone on call 24/7 to handle any emergencies.
    • We offer flat fee arrangements, accept payment plans, and all major credit cards.
    • We thoroughly investigate the evidence against our clients, and prepare each case for trial.
    • In cases in which we are seeking a plea bargain, we fight for the lowest possible plea under the law. We
    • The attorneys at Spodek Law Group P.C. have obtained acquittals at trial in murder trials, sex crimes, assault and other violent crimes along with other non-violent cases.
      • High Powered New York Attorney Todd Spodek” Radar.com on Todd Spodek
      • Grand Jury Expert” Lawline.com on Todd Spodek
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As soon as we are retained on a criminal case, we are going to immediately do the following:

  • We are going to let law enforcement and the prosecution know that we are representing you and NO one is to speak to you about the criminal case without us being present.  This is key because what better evidence can a prosecutor obtain then an admission by the client directly. 
  • We are going to prevent the defendant from being held for a lineup without us being present. This is key because we want to make sure that law enforcement does not do anything to push the victim or a witness to ID our client as the perpetrator.

Once we have asserted our clients rights, we are going to immediately figure out what evidence the prosecutor has against you. This is how you win cases. Not only do we want to know the evidence against you, we want to know the evidence that they don’t have.

What if the District Attorneys Office Faced Overwhelming Odds?

  • A relentless army of proactive trial lawyers
  • Investigators who will seek out every piece of evidence:
    • Text message logs
    • Cell site records
    • Telephone call logs
    • Surveillance videos
    • DNA
    • Fingerprints
    • Eye witnesses
    • 911 calls
    • Rape Kits
  • Advanced legal research with the most up to date law and decisions
  • Persistent lawyers who will call the DA every day to get the plea deal they want
  • Criminal lawyers who know every alternative to incarceration available in New York City

This changes everything, and can change the outcome in your criminal case. Instead of us being on the defense, we are now on the offense. Call us at (212) 300-5196 24/7 for a free consultation on your criminal case. 

NY Criminal Defense Guide

The best type of criminal clients are informed ones. Once that understand the criminal justice system and the process. This will allow you play a more vital role in the process and help you to make informed decisions.

New York State’s Penal Law encompasses three specific types of offenses:

Violations – Violations  are punishable up to 15 days in jail and/or a fine of $250.00

Examples of Violations:

Misdemeanors – There are three types of misdemeanors.

Class A Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to one year in jail. This is “city” time or “county” time compared to “state” time.

Class B Misdemeanor – Punishable by up to 90 days in jail. This is “city” time or “county” time compared to “state” time.

Unclassified Misdemeanor

Felonies – Felonies range from Class A1 to Class E. Felonies can also be classified as violent or non-violent, and as felony sex offenses.

Class A1 Felonies in New York

Arson in the First Degree PL 150.20

Conspiracy in the First Degree PL 105.17

Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree PL 220.21

Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree PL 220.43

Kidnapping in the First Degree 135.25

Murder in the First Degree 125.27

Murder in the Second Degree 125.25

Class A2 Felonies in New York

B, C, D, and E

criminal celebrities and actors who needed a criminal lawyerGetting Arrested in New York:

An individual can be processed in a few different ways:

      • Criminal Summons – No fingerprints are taken. Future return date. Usually for petty offenses.
      • Desk Appearance Ticket – Trip to the precinct, fingerprints taken. Future return date for arraignment in criminal court.
      • Arrest Warrant -
      • Immediate Arraignment – New York Supreme Court ruled that suspects must be arraigned within 24 hours of arrest.

Your first step after being arrested should be to request the presence of a criminal attorney who knows New York City laws — make the Spodek Law Group your first choice for representation that fights for you.

Arraignment on Misdemeanor Charges

This criminal complaint is generally insufficient for the Assistant District Attorney to proceed to trial. This is because it generally contains hearsay allegations in the criminal complaint. The criminal complaint can be signed by a NYPD officer or Detective with the District Attorneys office who doesn’t have the requisite personal knowledge to remove the hearsay from the criminal complaint. In order for the criminal complaint to be converted into an information, an individual who has personal knowledge must sign and swear to a supporting deposition. This document is also referred to as a corroborating affidavit. Certain crimes require other documents to convert the criminal complaint into an information. For example, drug cases will often require a laboratory report confirming that the substance was actually illegal narcotics  A gun case might require that the gun was actually capable of being fired. In cases charging defendants with a DWI or a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”) all of the supporting documents might be ready at the arraignment.

If you are arrested, and charged with a misdemeanor offense and remain incarcerated pending the case the Assistant District Attorney will have five (5) days from the date of the arraignment (not including Sunday) for the Assistant District Attorney to convert the criminal complaint into an information.

If the criminal complaint is converted into an information the case might get adjourned for motions, and/or hearings or trial. If the criminal complaint is not converted into an information then the case will get adjourned for the Assistant District Attorney to file the supporting deposition and a certificate of readiness. The New York Criminal Procedure Law does not allow the assistant district attorney endless time to file the necessary paperwork  Depending on the charges, depends on the amount of the time the people have to be ready for trial. In the event they are not ready in the applicable time period the case can be dismissed.

According to New York criminal law, for a Class A misdemeanor the Assistant District Attorney must be ready for trial within 90 days. For a Class B misdemeanor the Assistant District Attorney must be ready for trial within 60 days. This time period is referred to as speedy trial.

Arraignment on Felony Charges

If you are charged with a felony charge and bail is set at your criminal court arraignment, the case will be adjourned from arraignments to the 180.80 date. CPL 180.80 is the section of the criminal procedure law that states if you are incarcerated pursuant to a felony complaint, the assistant district attorney has 120 hours for the grand jury to vote an indictment or you must be released on your own recognizance.

Grand Jury Proceedings

All felony cases in New York State must be prosecuted by a grand jury indictment, with the defendant being represented by a qualified New York criminal lawyer. The only exception is if the defendant, the defense, and the court agree that the defendant is going to plea to a Superior Court Information (“SCI”.) The grand jury is filled with between 16 and 23 people who are supposed to make up a cross section of the community. At least 12 people on the grand jury must decide to take some action.

What Can The Grand Jury Do?

      1. Return an indictment when there is reasonable cause to believe the individual committed an offense
      2. Direct the district attorney to file a prosecutors information in criminal court
      3. direct the district attorney to request removal of the matter to family court
      4. dismiss the charges
      5. submit a grand jury report

In order for the grand jury to return an indictment  the evidence must establish a legally sufficient case. The test is whether the evidence that is presented to the grand jury if unexplained and un-contraverted would warrant a conviction by a trial jury. Unlike other adversarial proceedings in the criminal justice system, the defense attorney has no role at the grand jury. The legal advisers to the grand jury are the court and the assistant district attorney. The assistant district attorney has an obligation to fairly present the evidence and instruct the grand jurors on the law.

Defenses in the Grand Jury

Grand jurors need to be instructed on exculpatory defenses which are defenses that would result in the finding of no criminal liability. There is no requirement that they be instructed on mitigating defenses which only reduce the gravity of the offense committed.

Witnesses in the Grand Jury 

Any witness who provides the grand jury with evidence is given testimonial and transactional immunity under CPL 190.40(2). This is to encourage witnesses to speak to the grand jury without fear of legal repercussions. However, if the defendant elects to testify at the grand jury the assistant district attorney will require that he or she sign a waiver of immunity. The defendant must attest to and sign the waiver in the grand jury room.

Defendant Testifying in the Grand Jury

If the criminal defendant decides to testify, his or her NY criminal defense attorney will be present with them in the grand jury room. However, in New York, the criminal defense lawyer’s role will be limited to being available to answer any questions the defendant may have. The defendant has the right to give the grand jurors a narrative on what happened on the night in question. Once the defendant is finished with his narrative, the assistant district attorney can ask questions. The assistant district attorney will attempt to limit the narrative to the date in question, whereas it is usually in the defendants best interest to give a narrative that includes testimony about his or her background (family, work history, community ties, etc) If the assistant district attorney attempts to limit the defendants narrative to a point in which it curtails their right to make a statement to the grand jurors, then defense counsel should ask that the assistant district attorney leave the grand jury room and obtain a private ruling from the grand jury judge.

Defendant Witnesses Testifying in the Grand Jury

Whether the defendant chooses to testify before the grand jury or not, in New York a criminal lawyer can ask the grand jury to subpoena certain witnesses. Defense counsel can write a letter to the foreperson of the grand jury giving then names and addresses of the witness and the importance of their testimony  It is up to the grand jury to decide whether to call the witnesses or not. The assistant district attorney may require that they sign a waiver of immunity.

Plea Bargaining

Strategic plea bargaining is an essential part of the criminal justice process. There is no question, that the more criminal case  are disposed of through plea bargaining then through hearings and trials. Part of the NY criminal defense lawyer’s job is to provide the best plea bargain for their client and let the client make an educated decision whether to attempt to win at trial or accept a plea bargain. Plea bargains are governed by the criminal procedure law as well as formal and informal policies at particular district attorneys offices. Felonies are governed by CPL 220.10 and misdemeanors are governed by CPL 340.20 for misdemeanors. The goal in plea bargaining is different for felonies then it is for misdemeanors. For misdemeanors the goal is to obtain an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (“ACD”), or a sealed violation. In felony criminal cases, the goal is to obtain the lowest permissible offense which the defendant could plead guilty to and the minimum permissible sentence under that offense.

Plea bargaining rules:

      • A criminal defendant can plea guilty to the entire information or indictment except for the charge to murder in the first degree unless the district attorney and the court consents.
      • If the indictment or criminal court information charges only one count, then the defendant can plead guilty to a lesser included offense to cover the indictment or information. This can only be done with the consent or the district attorney and the judge.
      • If the indictment or criminal court information charges more then one count, then with the consent of the assistant district attorney and the judge the defendant can plea guilty to
        • one or more, but not all of the offenses charged
        • a lesser included offense with respect to any of the offenses charged
        • any combination of offenses charged and lesser included of the other offenses charged

If you are charged with a misdemeanor the defendant can plead to an information or can waive their right to an information and plead to a criminal complaint.  In New York, a criminal defense attorney can recommend the defendant waive prosecution by information, the right to a pre-sentence report, and formal allocution. A pre sentence report can be waived as long as the defendant is not sentenced to any of the following: a) a term of probation, b) a term of city time in excess of 90 days and c) consecutive terms of imprisonment aggregating more then 90 days.

A pre-sentence report can still be waived by mutual consent of the parties and the court if:

      • a sentence of jail has been agreed to by all of the parties and will be satisfied by the defendants already served jail time (time served)
      • a sentence or probation has been agreed and has been imposed
      • a pre sentence report has been prepared in the prior 12 months, or
      • a sentence of probation has been revoked

If a defendant charged with a misdemeanor waives the pre-sentence report then they can be sentenced at teh time of plea. They “stand ready for sentencing.” In New York City, is it common to dispose of misdemeanor criminal cases by accepting a plea to a violation such as disorderly conduct under PL 240.20 or harassment under PL 240.25.

The plea bargaining restrictions for indicted felony criminal cases in New York are:

      • If the highest charge in the indictment is for a non-drug class A felony, the lowest permissible plea is to a C violent felony
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is for a class A1 drug felony, the lowest permissible plea is to an A2 drug felony.
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class A2 drug felony, the lowest possible plea is a class B felony
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class B violent and armed felony, the lowest possible plea a criminal defendant can get is a C violent felony
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class B violent (not armed) felony, the lowest possible plea a criminal defendant can get is a D violent felony
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class B drug felony, the lowest possible plea a criminal defendant can get is a D felony
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class B felony, the lowest possible plea a criminal defendant can get is a class E felony
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class C violent felony, the lowest possible plea a criminal defendant can get is a class D felony
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class C non-violent felony, there are no limitations.
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class D violent felony, there are no limitations.
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class D felony, there are no limitations
      • If the highest charge in the indictment is a class E felony, there are no limitations.

Can You Withdraw A Guilty Plea?

Yes, a criminal defendant an make a motion to withdraw a guilty plea. For NY felonies, the statutory authority is found under CPL 220.60(3):

At any time before the imposition of sentence, the court in its discretion may permit a defendant who has entered a plea of guilty to the entire indictment or to part of the indictment, or a plea of not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect, to withdraw such plea, and in such event the entire indictment, as it existed at the time of such plea, is restored.

For NY misdemeanors, the statutory language is found under CPL 340.20(1)

Except as provided in subdivisions two and three, the provisions of article two hundred twenty, governing the kinds of pleas to indictments which may be entered and related matters, are, to the extent that they can be so applied, applicable to pleas to informations, and changes of pleas thereto, in local criminal courts.

The motion to withdraw a guilty plea must be made before the imposition of the sentence and may be denied on the motion. A criminal defendant must have a valid reason to withdraw a guilty plea. It can not be just because they had doubts, or second thoughts. A common ground for a motion to withdraw as counsel is for ineffective of assistance of counsel. In New York, a criminal defense attorney has an obligation to inform the defendant of the consequences of the plea, particularly as they related to immigration consequences.

The Court Will Consider The Following Factors in a Motion to Withdraw a Guilty Plea:

      • Is there any prejudice to the assistant district attorney?
      • Is the defendant asserting his or her innocence
      • Does the delay in the proceedings affect the court? If so, how?
      • Is there a valid claim of ineffective of assistance of counsel? Did counsel affirmatively give wrong info?
      • Was there an issue with the translation?
      • Was the defendant under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the plea?
      • What is the defendants educational level?
      • Has the defendant been arrested before? What is his or her familiarity with the criminal justice system?
      • Does the defendant have a viable defense?
      • Is there any new evidence?
      • Has the complainant recanted?

New York Drug Treatment Court 

Each county in New York City has their own drug treatment courts. Generally this is a family court program, a criminal court program for those charged with misdemeanors and a supreme court: criminal division for those charged with felonies. The drug treatment court in family court deals with juveniles and parents charged in neglect cases. The drug treatment in criminal and supreme court deals with non-violent offenders in which drug played a role in the underlying crimes. The offenders must be non-violent, and voluntarily agree to participate in the court mandated program. A contact will be entered into amongst the defendant, the defense attorney, the assistant district attorney and the criminal court or supreme court judge. In the event that the defendant breaches the contract, there will be a jail alternative.

Manhattan (New York County) Drug Treatment Courts

Manhattan Family Treatment Court
60 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-5360
Contact: Ruth Eichmiller

Manhattan Felony Treatment Court
100 Centre Street, Room 1337
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-4626
Contact: Deborah Hall-Martin

Manhattan Misdemeanor Treatment Court
100 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 646-386-4629
Contact: Kathleen McDonald

Brooklyn (Kings County) Drug Treatment Courts

Brooklyn Screening and Treatment Enhancement Part (STEP)
Misdemeanor Brooklyn Treatment Court
120 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (646) 404-9550
Contact: Mia Santiago

Brooklyn Treatment Court
320 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (347) 296-1133
Contact: Joseph Madonia

Kings County Family Treatment Court
330 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (347) 401-9659
Contact: Sabrina Lebron

Bronx County

Bronx Treatment Courts

Bronx Misdemeanor Treatment Court
Bronx Hall of Justice
265 East 161st Street
Bronx, NY 10451
Phone: (718) 618-1371
Contact: Martha Epstein

Bronx Family Treatment Court
900 Sheridan Avenue
Bronx, NY 10451
Phone: (718)618-2180
Contact: Liliana Montana

Queens Family Treatment Court
151-20 Jamaica Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11432
Phone: 718-298-0161
Contact: P. Voula Correa

Queens Misdemeanor Treatment Court
125-01 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Phone: 718-298-0911
Contact: Naima Aiken

Queens Treatment Court
125-01 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Phone: 718-298-1303
Contact: Maritza Karagiorgos

Staten Island Treatment Court
67 Targee Street
Staten Island, NY 10304
Phone: 718-390-8410
Contact: Ellen Burns

Pre-Trial Motions

Within 45 days of your arraignment, your criminal defense lawyer must make all motions in the form of one omnibus motion filed with the district attorneys office and the court in which your case is pending. All motions that are capable of being made at that time should be made in the omnibus motion. The Omnibus motion generally includes a Motion to Compel Discovery, a Motion to Compel a Bill of Particulars, Motion for a Separate Trial, a Motion for a Severance of Offenses, Motion to Suppress Statements, Motion to Suppress Identification testimony and a Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence.

Assistant District Attorney Motions

The Assistant District Attorney may make a motion requesting the Court order the following:

      • The defendant appear in a line up
      • The defendant speak for identification purposes
      • The defendant be fingerprinted
      • The defendant pose for photographs not involving reenactment of an event
      • The defendant give blood, hair or other materials from his or her body
      • The defendant provide handwriting samples
      • The defendant submit to a reasonable medical inspection

Discovery in Criminal Cases by Statute

Prior to any of the pre-trial hearings

 

Motion to Dismiss 

A motion to Dismiss an information, a prosecutors information, or a misdemeanor complaint is set forth in CPL 17.30. A motion to dismissed can be based on the following grounds:

      1. The charging instrument is defective within the meaning of CPL 170.35. This is regarding the sufficiency of the instrument. 
      2. The accused has received immunity
      3. The prosecution is barred by reason of a previous prosecution
      4. The prosecution is untimely pursuant to CPl 30.10 statute of limitations
      5. The defendant has been denied his or her rights to a speedy trial
      6. There exists some other jurisdictional or legal impediment to the prosecution
      7. Dismissal is required in the furtherance of justice under CPL 170.40

Collateral Consequences

Criminal defense nowadays is not only about representing defendants in the underlying criminal cases but it also encompasses all of the collateral consequences that could come up with a criminal conviction.

This can include the following:

    • Deportation
    • Loss of professional licenses
    • Loss of right to obtain student loans
    • Ineligibly for Government Programs
    • Loss of gun ownership rights
    • Lose the right to vote
    • Lose the right to sit on a jury
    • Lose welfare rights

Page updated on 11/13/13.

 

Written By Spodek Law Group

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