Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

Common Misconceptions Regarding Criminal Law in New York

Interviewer: What are the top misconceptions people have about being arrested for a crime when they speak with you about their case?

Martin Kane: There are about as many answers to this question as there are defendants. Broadly speaking, some people just “know” that life as they know it is over. They “know” that they are going to jail or, at the very least; they will be branded with a criminal record forever. They have no idea that, with the help of an experienced and capable criminal attorney, it is often possible to avoid any criminal conviction whatsoever. In almost all cases, charges can be mitigated and penalties can be avoided or drastically reduced. There is a lot your attorney can do if you both work hard together.

Some cases require substantial investigation, preparation for trial, and even a full-blown trial. In other cases, you and your attorney will work hard to establish to both the DA and the judge that you deserve a much better disposition of your case than the typical defendant. In any event, don’t be fooled into thinking that you have a “routine” case and the outcome is predetermined. You’ll be wrong and you’ll hurt yourself.

The client at the other end of the spectrum is more difficult to deal with and much more likely to harm his case. This client “knows” that the DA will reduce his DWI because it’s his first arrest. He “knows” that the witness against him won’t show up and the DA will dismiss the case. He “knows” that he’ll be able to go home because his wife wants him home and she even told that to the police and DA. He “knows” he can go into a drug program and get his charges dismissed. He “knows” about a thousand other things about the criminal justice system, almost all of them wrong. Most importantly, he “knows” that all he needs is any old lawyer to show up and stand there while these good things happen. I try to explain things to these people, I really do. But the lure of the storefront or neighborhood lawyer and his fee of $250-$500 for a court appearance (“we’ll only need one appearance”) is often too tempting. If that is all you really can afford, you’re probably eligible for the public defender and that might be a better option. In any event, I am not the right attorney for you-I don’t just show up. While my fees are reasonable in relation to the time and effort I give to my clients, I won’t take the case if I can’t represent you properly. But you don’t need someone to do more than show up. Right?

Contact The Law Office of Martin D. Kane at (718) 793-5700 to find out more information regarding your case.

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Mr. Kane is extremely knowledgeable about the law. He always took the time to talk with me and explain things about my case from our first phone conversation to my court appearance. I could say that Mr. Kane...

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Mr. Kane is an intelligent and resourceful lawyer. He is knowledgeable and caring. Mr. Kane has helped my family on numerous occasions and I am very grateful. You cannot go wrong with him as your attorney.

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