Against Criminal Charges
Should Someone Start Voluntary Counseling Before Their Court Date?
Absolutely, yes, starting voluntary counseling is usually a smart idea. It is very common for me to recommend that somebody get into counseling depending on what type of case it is and if it can help to resolve the case, or get it resolved much more in your favor.
Helpful Tips For Someone Who Has Been Arrested
Get the very best lawyer that you possibly can. Many times, people think it does not matter, I might as well just get the least expensive lawyer, or public defender, because what is the difference? There is a big difference. A good attorney can help you in a case where you have not done anything wrong. He is much better equipped to prove that in the best possible way. If you have done something that is wrong, a good attorney is going to minimize the effects for you. The earlier that you have an experienced attorney working for you, the more likely it is that you will have a favorable outcome.
How Do I Know Where A Friend Or Family Member Has Been Taken After An Arrest?
The first place where a defendant is taken is the precinct where the crime was committed. There are a few situations where that does not happen, (e.g. In DWI cases in Queens County, Drivers are first taken to the 112th Pct. where breathalyzer and IDTU tests are administered countywide) but almost certainly, in the vast majority of cases, the defendant is taken to the precinct for processing. You will not know about it until a call is placed. Again, the most important thing to do is, as soon as you can, retain an experienced attorney. For instance if you find out that your brother was arrested, and you contact an attorney, that attorney is going to contact the precinct, and the first thing he is going to do is advise the officer that he represents this person, and not to question him without the attorney being present.
At that point, the officer has no choice. He cannot question the defendant. Additionally, If it is a situation involving identification and the officer wants to put the defendant in a lineup, having the lawyer present will help assure that the lineup is conducted in a fair and non-prejudicial procedure. Therefore, again, the most important thing is to get a competent attorney on the case as soon as possible.
How Do I Go About Finding A Qualified Attorney If A Family Member Or Friend Is Arrested?
Finding a qualified attorney is not as easy as you think. Obviously, if you know people who you can trust who have had experience with a good criminal attorney, they can refer them to you. Most people do not have that option. If you call the Bar Association, they are just going to give you the names that appear on a list, and whatever name comes up next, is going to be the one that they refer to you. The only other option that you have really is to look on the internet and try to determine who sounds most qualified to you, and who has been doing this for a long time, and the location where your relative has been arrested. That is all extremely important.
You do want somebody who is in the exact jurisdiction where the case is being prosecuted. Beyond that, once you have picked names, the best thing you can do is speak with several attorneys and see which attorney sounds like they know what they are doing. You do this with so many other things in life, you have to do the same thing here. If an attorney sounds like he is responsive to you, and if he answers your questions honestly without trying to sugarcoat everything, you may find that it is the attorney who impresses you the most.
One thing that I would warn people about is picking an attorney who makes any kind of promises to you as to what is going to happen in a case, because no attorney can do that. He simply does not have that much power. An attorney, who is willing to guarantee, or tell you a certain result, is definitely one to avoid.
I would also be cautious about an attorney whose quoted fee is unreasonably low. There is no “free lunch” and that cut-rate attorney may either skimp on the necessary time and effort required or come back to you looking for more money. Beware the attorney who quotes a low fee and additional fees for each court appearance. That can be a bottomless pit.
In my practice, I will tell you clearly, in advance and in writing, exactly what your costs will be, depending on the nature of the case, whether it will stay in Criminal Court versus Supreme Court, and whether a jury trial, non-jury trial or no trial will be necessary. We will never ask for additional fees because the case is more difficult or more time-consuming than expected.
Can an Attorney Help My Friend or Family Member Get Out of Jail Immediately?
Yes, an attorney can help get someone out of jail immediately or at least as soon as possible. That is the main reason why you want to hire an attorney as quickly as possible. If the case has not already gone in front of a judge, the attorney is going to appear with him at the arraignment. If he has done his work and looked into the case carefully, he will tell the judge all the good reasons, why the defendant should be released with no bail, or low bail. Most of the time, when a private attorney doesn’t appear, arraignments are like an assembly line, and the public defender, or whoever is there, really does not know very much about the defendant, or his family, and does not have much to say.
A good attorney will have a lot to say, he will make sure that as many family members as possible are there, and point that out to the judge so that the bail, if any, will be as low as possible. He will be prepared to emphasize the good background and reliability of his client and, even at this early stage, can point out the weaknesses and defects in the case. If bail has already been set, the attorney can explain to you how to post bail, whether to post cash, or use a bail bondsman. In some circumstances, if the bail has been set unreasonably high, the attorney can make an application to a higher court to get the bail reduced to a manageable level.
Can Someone Replace Their Attorney During The Pendency Of The Case?
Anyone can replace their attorney. It happens all the time. When you hire an attorney, even if you sign a retainer agreement, you have a right at any time to change lawyers, and you should if you do not feel comfortable with the attorney that is representing you. It is the same as if you do not feel comfortable with a surgeon who is about to operate on you. You want somebody that you have complete confidence in. As far as payment is concerned, the prior attorney is entitled to be paid only for services that he has performed. Even if you have given him money beyond that point, you are entitled to get it back, except for the amount of services already performed. Therefore, there is never a situation where you can be kept from hiring a different attorney.
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