Do Most Criminal Cases go to Trial or Do They Settle?
The vast majority of cases settle prior to trial. It is rare that criminal case goes to trial. Typically, less than ten percent, maybe five percent of cases actually go to trial.
How Do You Advise Clients that Want to Plead Guilty and Move on?
There are times when pleading guilty makes sense, but this is still an important decision that you are making. You need to consider the immediate consequences in terms of what the court is going to render, but also collateral consequences, such as consequences that can come into play, like potentially immigration, schooling, or employment. Those are some of the more serious collateral consequences. People need to consider these options prior to pleading guilty. Therefore, while there are times where it makes sense to have a quick resolution to the case, you still should take the time, and see what the best offer is.
Typically, there are going to be some mitigating factors that you are going to want your defense attorney to present to the other side, or to the judge to try to articulate why a lower sentence or lower offer is appropriate. If you go in unrepresented, and say I want to plead guilty, you are not going to get the best and most favorable disposition if you had taken the time to consult with an attorney, and determine all the factors.
How Do Prior Convictions and Criminal History Affect a Criminal Case?
Prior convictions do come into play with criminal cases, especially when the prosecution is determining whether to charge somebody with a felony, or a misdemeanor as well as to determine what type of offer to make to someone. Generally, it is the job of your defense attorney to make the other side, or the prosecutions evaluates the case before them on its own merits, and try to not hold the person accountable for prior decisions that have happened in their life, and more or less evaluate the case on its basics.
It can come into play when the prosecution, or the judge is determining what the appropriate sentence is, and if they are determining how to proceed with the case. Those are typically when those factors come into play.
Are Alternative Punishments or Diversion Programs Available In New York?
Yes, alternative, and diversion programs are available in New York. Typically, if you are talking about a nonviolent offense, jail is something that you have a chance of avoiding. If it is an offense where there has been maybe an allegation of stealing, you can do what is called restitution, which is where you return the items of value taken, or the monies taken. That is factored into the sentence. If you plead guilty on a misdemeanor, you can do community service, or maybe some social services. If there is some sort of treatment that would be beneficial to a person, that would be another option.
If it is a drug case, there are treatment programs that are offered in lieu of jail time. Obviously, probation is something that is an option. Probation is probably the most serious consequence outside of jail. Even in lieu of probation, there are a number of other options. There can be community service, or restitution, and drug treatment programs. Alternatively, you can go into therapy, or a program outside of court that addresses any underlying issues that led to the alleged criminal defense. Therefore, there are a number of various options that people can do in lieu of jail.
What Should Someone Look for When Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney? What Are Some Red Flags?
I think you want to have somebody who has experience in the area, and you want somebody who is familiar with the procedures and the potential range of offers. Generally be aware of how a case proceeds, or what the necessary steps are in a case, and how they can best position their clients to receive the most beneficial outcome. You want somebody who, at the end of the day, if the case needs to be tried, is ready, willing, and able to do so. Therefore, somebody who has experience with trials is definitely going to be what you are looking for.
You are going to want somebody who has familiarity with the court system; how the different court systems operate, and the best way to navigate the intricacies of the criminal justice system, which can be a little daunting for the layperson. In terms of red flags, I would say that the opposite, be aware of anyone who is relatively inexperienced, and is not so familiar with talking to judges, or prosecutors, and is not familiar with the way that the court proceeds, and the different offers. Was it a good offer? Was it a bad offer? Was it too high? Was it an inappropriate offer? Somebody who is green. Those are the red flags.
What sets You Apart In Handling Criminal Cases?
Our firm has a good reputation for being able to sit down with our clients, and figure out what our client’s goals are, and figure out how we can adjust our representation, and mold our representation to achieve those goals. It is important to have a sense of where you want to end up on a case from the start, so you can begin to construct the narrative. We want to sit down with our clients, and figure out what type of issues are important to them.
Obviously, they are going to be apprehensive when they come into our office at first. We just want to make them feel comfortable, and try to get a sense of who they are as people, and what they want to see happen, and then be able to communicate to them what we can do for them, and achieve their goals. I would say that is really, what sets us apart.
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