Interviewer: What are some things that would be able to help someone’s case? What are some things that you’re going to look at and ask them and say, “Hey, you know, I think this might help. It may help if you do this”?
Martin Kane: The only thing that a defendant can do is cooperate with his attorney and obviously help the attorney to present him in the most favorable light. If it’s a young person, we certainly want him to be in school or have a job or preferably both so that the court and the district attorney can see that they are trying to make something of their life. That makes it a lot more likely that we can work out a noncriminal disposition. Obviously, the facts of the case have to be presented to the district attorney in the most favorable possible way, so I’d strongly suggest that you carefully work with a very competent attorney because most cases never do get to trial.
It is Important to Retain A Lawyer Who Knows How to Negotiate as Well as Try a Case
Most cases are disposed of without ever going to trial and a good lawyer is much more likely to be able to convince the District Attorney and the court to give you a break and to dispose of the case in a way that will keep you from having that record. A lot of times, we try to propose alternatives to the District Attorney, such as community service or anger management classes, in exchange for allowing a plea that does not give you a permanent criminal record. If all those fail, you may be left with the only option being to go to trial and try to win the case on trial. A lot of times, that’s how we win a case-by trying it. The most important thing is cooperate with your lawyer and make sure you have a competent lawyer, who knows how to do both, negotiate and try a case properly.
Assault Cases are Rarely Negotiated or Disposed of at the Initial Arraignment
Interviewer: What happens during the initial hearing? Will the person see jail time after that or is there going to be additional hearings multiply after the first hearing or are you trying to like take care of a lot being during that first hearing?
Martin Kane: Typically, in an assault case, as in any other case, the first thing that happens is what’s called an arraignment; when the defendant is first brought before the court. It’s very unusual that assault cases are negotiated and disposed of at the arraignment because there’s a civilian complainant who the District Attorney is going to want to talk to before he does anything. So, what happens at the arraignment, the most important thing that you’re concerned about, is getting the defendant out of custody, either by having a reasonable bail or even better, if he can be released on his own recognizance. And this, again, is the same as any other case.
The Initial Arraignment is the Attorney’s Only Chance at Convincing the Court to Make the Bail Reasonable
This is really the only chance that the attorney has to convince a court to make the bail reasonable or no bail at all because once it has been set at arraignment, generally, no judge is going to change that. So, if a very high bail is set that you can’t make, you’re going to stay in jail for a very long time while the case is being worked out, even if ultimately you wind up either winning the case or not getting the jail sentence. So, the arraignment is extremely important because the attorney has to do everything possible to get you released at that time so you don’t stay in jail while the case is going on. After that, the attorney is going to be negotiating with the District Attorney and trying to get all of the things that we’ve already talked about.
To learn more about The Law Office of Martin D. Kane, contact our firm at (718) 793-5700.