If you are being investigated for theft of funds from your place of work, how you immediately respond will go a long way in determining whether you end up convicted of a crime, imprisoned or merely forced to leave your job. Because only in the most extreme circumstances will you first learn of this investigation at the time you are arrested, you will have ample opportunity to shape how the investigation ends. For this reason, it is important to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can find whether you work in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or anywhere else and get the appropriate advice to ensure that your future is not destroyed. Continue reading
I often receive calls from out of state individuals seeking representation for their criminal cases; sometimes I am even contacted by people outside of the United States seeking the best New York defense attorney they can find. There are a number of reasons why those charged with crimes all over the country want a New York criminal attorney to represent them – and there are reasons why out of state criminal defendants shy away from New York lawyers. In this entry, I will examine both sides of the issue and dispel some myths. At bottom, it is clear to anyone who actually works in the criminal justice system that when charged with a crime, one should simply hire the best lawyer he can find – wherever that lawyer may be, assuming he is either a member of that state or district’s Bar or can be admitted pro hac vice or for that one case only. Continue reading
With the average length of time served by federal inmates more than doubling from 1998 to 2012 (from 17.9 to 37.5 months) it should not be surprising that approximately 10,000 federal inmates per year receive substantial assistance departures from judges at sentencing – meaning these inmates receive a break from sentencing judges due to their cooperation with the government. This figure does not take into account the countless thousands of inmates who are desperately attempting to cooperate with the government but simply are not in a position to substantially assist in the “investigation or prosecution” of another individual – but that certainly is not for lack of trying. U.S.S.G. §5K1.1. For these reasons, criminal defendants who are detained prior to their trials face a dangerous reality having nothing to do with dangerous prison conditions: they are surrounded by inmates who will do all that they can to help the government convict them or, in the alternative, assist in bringing additional charges against the ignorant detainee. It is imperative, therefore, that after hiring the best criminal defense attorney possible for their case in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or elsewhere, defendants do the second most important thing: not make their case worse while incarcerated. Continue reading
The question of whether a criminal defendant should take the stand in his own defense is one of the more nettlesome ones for a defense lawyer – and his client – to decide. Oftentimes the decision can only be made during the heat of the trial itself where objective, clear heads are hard to find, and preparation time scarce. For these reasons, and the enormous risks and stakes at hand, a criminal defendant truly needs the best and most experienced criminal attorney he or she can afford if a trial is in the offing, because the decision to put a client on the stand can be the sole determining factor in winning or losing a trial. Continue reading
The upcoming Bridgegate criminal trial in Newark, which will determine if Governor Christie’s former deputy chief of staff and his top executive appointee at the Port Authority ordered multiple access lanes closed at the George Washington Bridge on five mornings in September of 2013, promises to be a circus: were the closures done due to the traffic study as alleged by the defendants – or was it punishment for the Fort Lee Mayor who had not endorsed the governor’s 2013 re-election campaign? Either way, the trial does not figure to help Governor Christie who is thought to be behind the closing of the lanes – and who already has historically low approval ratings among New Jersey voters. Continue reading
The consequences of a conviction for a sex crime in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and elsewhere are staggering and makes sex crime charges (sexual assault, rape, etc.) some of the most difficult to defend due to the collateral penalties which can impact plea negotiations. Beyond potentially lengthy prison sentences and probation, sex crime convictions require defendants to be included on a public sex offender registry; inclusion on this registry will impact where one lives, works and travels potentially for the rest of one’s life. As any of the best New York criminal defense attorneys know, due to the extraordinary collateral consequences of sex crime convictions the best way to avoid them is to either win your case or reach a non-sex crime plea deal. For these reasons, it is imperative to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can possibly find when charged with a sex crime: the choice could alter the rest of your life. Continue reading
If you have just been charged with murder or a serious violent crime in New York, chances are the last thing you are initially thinking about is how to win the case. Instead, you’ve been brought to jail, about to face a judge who may or may not grant you bail and you’re facing possibly the rest of your life in prison. Things are looking grim and hopeless; however, at this very early stage the case can often be won or lost, even if the trial is ultimately a year or further down the road. From a lawyer who has won many cases in which violent crimes have been charged, here’s a checklist of what you need to do if you are charged with murder or a serious violent crime and you want to win your case. Continue reading
If you have been sexually assaulted in New York – whether it be at the hands of a loved one, an acquaintance or a stranger – navigating the New York criminal and civil court systems can be difficult. Considering what you’ve already been through, dealing with red tape and rushed prosecutors does not exactly make your struggle any easier. As the best New York sexual assault victim lawyers know, there are a number of things you need do right away – and other things you need to think about going forward. Continue reading
Plea bargains have become increasingly important to criminal defendants these days as reports have shown that 97% of all federal criminal cases and 94% of state cases end in guilty pleas. As most defendants do not wish for the uncertainty of trials – where one’s fate is left in the hands of a jury and if convicted, the trial judge – plea bargains can offer a definitive promise of punishment by prosecutors and in the federal system a small range of potential punishment as determined by the judge. Of course, as the top criminal defense attorneys in New York know, the quality of your plea bargain is largely a function of the effort your lawyer puts in prior to cutting the deal.
The other day a potential client came to see me about his federal criminal case in New York. During our discussion, he wondered if there was any real benefit of hiring an attorney who was heavily experienced in the federal system or would any smart and hard-working lawyer do? He had found an attorney online who seemed to be very smart but had just left the District Attorney’s office three years ago to become a defense attorney. In this entry, I will answer this question by providing an example of how hiring a top New York federal criminal attorney can change your case – and your life.