Criminal Defense: FAQ
Our NYC Defense Lawyer Has the Answers
Q: Should I have a lawyer for a bail hearing?
Q: What if I am being questioned by law enforcement?
Q: How do I know what defense lawyer to choose?
Q: Do I have to submit to a police search?
Q: What if the police committed a fraudulent search?
Q: Are the police allowed to lie during the investigation?
Q: If I am convicted, will it be on my criminal record?
Q: I've had bail set – will I be able to be released?
Q: After my case is over, will I receive the bail money back?
Q: What does double jeopardy mean?
Never enter a courtroom for any hearing without an attorney from our firm by your side. The matter of bail can be negotiated. If you go to court without us fighting for you, the bail set could be outside your ability to pay and you could remain in custody for months or longer. We will make every effort to get you released on your own recognizance, or to pursue a bail amount that you or your family could manage.
Never answer any questions from law enforcement without legal representation. There are countless cases in which pressure was brought to bear upon people who have even confessed to crimes they were not involved in. If you are being questioned, you can expect to be arrested within a short period of time. The process of answering investigators must be carefully managed, and we are here to fight for you, your freedom and your rights.
First: does the law firm have extensive experience and a proven court record? Are they interested in you, your cause and will take the time and effort to find a way to defend you? Not all law firms are equal in commitment to their clients. At our firm, when we take on a case, we are fully dedicated to finding the best possible route for the defense, and we will give your case the focus and attention it deserves. You will always be treated with respect, and we know how important the outcome of your case will be to you and to your family, and we address it with the conviction and energy you deserve.
It depends on the circumstances. To complete a search of your home, the police either need to have your explicit consent or a valid search warrant. In some cases, law enforcement officers will be able to commit a search with neither of these; however, for this to be true, they must have valid reason to believe that a crime is being committed. This only refers to your home, as the laws regarding valid searches differ for a car. If you are legally pulled over and the police see something lying on your seat that gives them reason to believe that you may have possession of an illegal piece of property, they could have enough reason to search.
If you have reason to believe that your rights were violated with an unlawful search and seizure, you need to get the involvement of an experienced lawyer. Any evidence that was seized should be thrown out and suppressed – giving you a fair chance at protecting your legal rights.
Most people make the mistake of believing that law enforcement legally has to be honest. This, however, is not true. Unfortunately, police officers are legally allowed to lie in order to complete their investigation. For example, they may claim that they have incriminating evidence, witness testimony or anything else to scare you into possibly incriminating yourself during the interview. It is therefore to take everything that they say with a grain of salt and do not say anything until you have an attorney present.
Yes, all convictions will be placed on your permanent criminal record. Per New York Criminal Procedure Law §160.50, there are some circumstances where a case can be sealed, however, these are highly specific and typically only allowed when dismissed, not filed or otherwise not carried through to completion. Some non-criminal violations may be expunged and some drug-related crimes may be sealed upon the completion of DIVERSION or DTAP. In most cases, however, you will be facing a permanent mark on your criminal record. It is therefore extremely important that you get an aggressive defense lawyer to protect you.
In most cases, bail will be set at a reasonable amount. After it has been set, you have several options to pay it so that you can be released. If you and your loved ones cannot afford it yourself, you can work with your lawyer to post it or can work with an honest bail bondsman to get the necessary amount. It is important to work with a knowledgeable attorney to fight for a low bail figure – negotiating for a lower number if the initial number set by the judge is unfair or out of your price range.
So long as you appear at all court appearances, you will not have any problem getting your bail back. Should you, however, flee or fail to appear, you will essentially be forfeiting the money – even if you are determined to be innocent. In cases where you are convicted, three percent of the bail will be kept by the city.
Under American law, no person can be prosecuted for the same crime twice. Therefore, if you are found innocent, you cannot have a case brought again. There have been some exceptions to this, but they are rare.