If you or someone you love has been arrested, or you even think an arrest is possible, get the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney may be able to work with the police and public defender’s office to have charges reduced. Then, he or she will fight for your rights through every stage of the process, including:
- Challenging evidence
- Negotiating a plea deal when appropriate
- Arguing for bail
- Investigating your case
- Arguing your case
And, if you are found guilty:
- Presenting mitigating factors for a lighter sentence
- Appealing your case
- Representing you at parole hearings
Whether a crime is categorized as a felony or a misdemeanor depends on the seriousness of the charge and the maximum punishment for the crime. Felony charges are reserved for society’s most serious crimes, including:
- Aggravated Assault
- DWI, third offense
- Drug trafficking
- Manslaughter and murder
Crimes that run afoul of federal laws are nearly always considered felonies. They include:
- Kidnapping across state lines
- Selling illegal drugs across states lines
- Civil rights violations
- Mail fraud
- Committing a crime on federal property or against a federal employee
The consequences for being convicted of a felony are very serious. You may have to pay a steep fine and serve significant time in state or federal prison. When you get out, you may have trouble finding a job and a place to live, and may lose some citizenship rights, such as the right to vote and own a gun. In capital cases, you may never be released, and may even face the death penalty.
The legal process
First, your attorney will begin preparing your defense immediately, and will represent you at an arraignment hearing. Here, the charges against you will be read, and you will plead either guilty or not guilty. Your attorney will request bail, if applicabl, and the judge will decide whether or not to grant it and set the amount.
Then, you will usually have at least one preliminary hearing. Here, your attorney and the prosecutor will present lists of witnesses, disclose documentary evidence, and sometimes argue for or against certain evidence. Each case is unique. Yet the best defense is always to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Law Offices of Meir Moza (a former prosecutor) & Associates assists clients in the Greater New York area and Long Island areas we serve include Nassau County, Queens County, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Suffolk County, Great Neck, Manhasset, Roslyn and New Hyde Park.