Clarkstown Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Clarkstown Criminal Defense Lawyer at Giordano Law
The experienced New York criminal defense attorneys with the law office of Giordano Law have proudly served the communities of Clarkstown, New York for more than 25 years. Their comprehensive criminal defense experience gives them the unique ability to develop effective, affordable solutions to your criminal defense problems.
As a former prosecutor, Mr. Anthony Giordano understands the law and legal issues that arise in criminal accusations. This knowledge ensures decisions are informed ones as the case moves through the legal process. Mr. Giordano has successfully defended clients for over 25 years.
Issues involving individual rights that arise in criminal cases are as follows:
- Did police action result in an illegal seizure?
- Was a lawful arrest made?
- Were Miranda warnings required and, if so, administered?
- Were any statements unlawfully obtained?
- Were any searches conducted legal or were warrants required?
- Were search warrants issued under proper authority?
- Were warrantless searches legally justified?
- Is the accusatory instrument (the written charge) legally sufficient?
- Stop by police for questioning?
If police stop a citizen for questioning, a citizen has an absolute right to refuse to answer any question posed. Such a stop is not considered an arrest if it is brief and a citizen is not transported against their will.
A search warrant issued by a judge authorizes police to conduct a limited search of a specific place, such as one’s residence, vehicle or safe deposit box. In order for a warrant to be issued, a court must determine, through sworn affidavits, that sufficient “probable cause” exists that evidence of a crime will be found at that location.
Probable cause means that:
- It is likely specific items to be searched for are connected with criminal activities
- Those items will be found in the place to be searched
Search warrants are not required for the following:
- Searches incident to arrest: Police officers are permitted to search your body and/or clothing for weapons or other contraband when making a valid arrest.
- Automobile searches: If you’re arrested in a vehicle, the police may search certain unlocked portions of the vehicle. To perform a complete search of the vehicle (such as the trunk area), probable cause and a warrant would be necessary or a basis to impound your car. An inventory search would then be proper.
- Exigent circumstances: Searches may be conducted if there are “exigent circumstances”, circumstances which demand immediate action, such as to avoid destruction of evidence or to ensure the safety of a victim.
- Plain view: Police do not need a search warrant when they observe contraband in plain view of an officer who has the right to be in the position to have that view.
- Consent: If one consents to a search of their body, vehicle, or home, police are not required to seek or have a warrant. One is not required to consent to any police search.
A lawful arrest requires police to have “probable cause” or a reasonable belief that a crime was committed by the person being arrested. An arrest warrant is not necessary.
Upon one’s arrest, certain constitutional rights come into play. The two most important ones are the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. Many people arrested for the first time have the unsupported belief that they can reason or talk their way out of an arrest. If a police officer has made an arrest, chances are that will not be the case. Thus, it is of critical importance to emphasize that one isn’t required to speak to police and one shouldn’t except provide one’s name and phone number of legal counsel. One should insist on being given the opportunity to contact one’s attorney. Some police might suggest that the request for legal counsel is somehow an admission of guilt, causing people to waive their right. This is not true. Innocent people are entitled to legal advice to protect their rights.
Many people who watch police shows wrongfully believe that police are required to read them their Miranda rights. That is not true. People only need be informed of Miranda rights if in police custody and police begin interrogation procedures.
Those rights are as follows:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to have an attorney present during questioning
- The right to have an attorney appointed if you are unable to afford one
Miranda requires 2 factors. A person be in custody and undergo police interrogation. Thus, police can question a suspect without Miranda who is not in custody, i.e., who volunteers to come to the police station to answer questions before an arrest is made. Or if such statements are obtained as part of the res gestae, (normal inquiry, such as police come to scene of car crash and ask if person driving has had a drink) can be used in court.
Once criminal charges are filed, the initial court appearance is the “arraignment”. If incarcerated, this will usually occur within 72 hours of arrest. During arraignment, a “plea” is usually entered. A not guilty plea is usually recorded on the initial appearance.
New York pleas and corresponding definitions follow:
- Guilty plea: admitting to the facts of the crime and the fact that you were the one who committed that crime. Not guilty plea: Denial of having committed the crime with which you were accused. After plea, a pre-trial or trial date will be set.
- No contest plea: A “no contest” plea indicates that, while you are not admitting guilt, you do not dispute the charge. This is preferable to a guilty plea because guilty pleas can be used against you in later civil lawsuits.
- “Mute” plea: In New York, you may “stand mute” instead of making a plea. The court will then enter a plea of not guilty. By standing mute, you avoid silently admitting to the correctness of the proceedings against you until that point. You are then free to attack all previous proceedings that may have been irregular.
During the arraignment, the court can:
- Set bail
- Refuse to set bail; or
- Release you on your own personal recognizance, which means that the court takes your word that you will appear when necessary for later court obligations
“Bail” is money or property put forth as security to ensure that you’ll show up for further criminal proceedings.
In New York, bail can be paid:
- In cash
- A pledge of property (if permitted in that court)
- A bail bond
- A professional bail bondsman is an individual whose business is to pledge his or her own property or security to guarantee the bail bond to the court.
Speedy Trial The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution gives citizens a right to a speedy trial. In New York, that has been codified in CPL 30.30. Speedy trial times are as follows:
- Six months when a defendant is accused of one or more offenses, at least one of which is a felony
- 90 days when a defendant is accused of one or more offenses, at least one of which is a B MISDEMEANOR punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of more than three months. None of these offenses can be felonies.
- 60 days when a defendant is accused of one or more offenses, at least one of which is a misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of not more than three months. None of the offenses can be punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of more than three months.
- 30 days when a defendant is accused of one or more offenses and at least one is a VIOLATION and none of the offenses are crimes.
This right can be waived by asking for additional time for the preparation of your defense or by consenting to the prosecution’s request for additional time to prepare their case.
A felony is a crime for which imprisonment of greater than one year can be imposed. A misdemeanor is a crime for which imprisonment of a year or less can be imposed. A violation is not a crime and allows a sentence of no greater than15 days.
In most cases, if with a crime punishable by six or more months of imprisonment, an accused has the right to a jury trial. This right may be waived by:
- Pleading guilty; or
- Choosing a bench trial (a trial in front of a judge only)
- At a bench trial, the judge will perform the fact-finding function usually performed by the jury. In New York, a defendant in a capital case may not waive a jury trial.
Appeals If found guilty after a trial, New York allow 30 days after sentencing to file a notice of appeal.
In Clarkstown criminal cases, reversals on appeal require material error present and preservation of the issue. This means not only must error occur but the defense attorney must point out the error and object to it. The failure to do so usually results in a waiver of that potential issue. Only constitutional errors going to the heart of due process rights do not require such preservation.
Criminal defense defendants might be subjected to only a portion or all of these steps and it is throughout these processes the defendant has the right to protect themselves in retaining a Clarkstown criminal defense lawyer. This Clarkstown criminal defense law firm of provides professional legal counsel and extensive experience in many aspects of criminal defense law. As a trusted Clarkstown criminal defense law firm, the highly skilled Clarkstown criminal defense lawyers at Giordano Law have managed a wide variety of criminal defense cases.
A highly skilled Clarkstown criminal defense lawyer with Giordano Law will provide more than just legal advice for a criminal defense case. The Clarkstown criminal defense lawyers fully embrace each case with the clients’ best interests in mind. Analyzing each case, the firm’s Clarkstown criminal defense attorney professionals determine the most effective course of action to achieve a favorable settlement. For dedicated Clarkstown criminal defense attorneys, trust Giordano Law to deliver quality representation in the field of criminal defense law.
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Taking ownership with the quality of their client relationships, Giordano Law is a criminal defense law firm you can like and trust. The criminal defense legal team at Giordano Law is recognized for their criminal law in the state of New York. Contact Giordano Law today at 914-923-7746.