Our Long Island criminal lawyers offers a risk free consultation, 24/7, with any of our Long Island criminal attorneys. The reason we win cases is because we make your problems – our problems. We treat you like family. During the initial consultation, we learn as much about you – and your case, as possible. Whether it’s a DWI, or drug related crime, we can help. We offer a risk free consultation for all types of crimes – including felonies, and simple misdemeanors.
Can I Be Released Without Bail?
If you ever find yourself arrested, or you are in the middle of that unfortunate circumstance right now, then you might wonder how you can get home as quickly as possible. The prospect of spending even one more night in jail is not very appealing to you. Since you have grown up hearing about the concept of bail, you might think this is something that is coming your way. That being said, you might not have the money to come up with even the smallest amount of bail that can be set. Thankfully, there are some possibilities that may work in your favor. Continue reading to learn the situations under which you might be realized without bail.
The Definition Of Being Released Under Your Own Recognizance
You may have heard of someone being released under their own recognizance in the past. It is a common statement uttered on those television detective shows that you probably love to watch. This is the one case where there is some truth to what you watch. Some individuals may be released from jail without having to post any bail at all. Own recognizance is often abbreviated OR, and it means that you only need to sign a statement that you will appear in court on the scheduled date. If you do that, and you agree to any other court-ordered stipulations, you could be back at home or work within hours.
How Can You Be Released On OR?
The first and most important thing to remember here is that the judge determines if you can be released without posting any bail. That being said, there are some things that you can do to further your cause. Having a lawyer will help, as such a professional can put up a solid argument as to why you should be released on your own recognizance pending your court appearance. Usually, getting out of jail without posting bail means that the charges against you are not that severe in the eyes of the court. In addition, you will not be perceived as being a flight risk. There are other factors that may go into the judge’s decision as well.
There May Be Stipulations
In addition to signing a declaration for the court that you promise to appear at all of your scheduled court hearings, the judge may decide to put certain stipulations on your release. If you are charged with an alcohol-related offense, for example, you might have to agree to not consume any adult beverages until the trial is over. You may also have to check in with the equivalent of a probation officer at scheduled times. In addition, the judge may order that you give up your passport or that you agree to remain within a certain area. Agree to these stipulations and you may be released without bail.
Remember that being released on your own recognizance is not a get out of jail free card. You still must prove your innocence during a trial. In addition, if you violate any of the conditions of your release, you may find that you are in jail and bail is set quite high as a result.
What are my Miranda rights?
The 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 helped to establish the Miranda Warnings, so they have been around for quite some time. However, the warnings have changed over the years, and the most noteworthy change was issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, via a series of landmark decisions. As a result, the warnings used in pop culture aren’t quite as accurate as most people think.
What Are the Miranda Warnings?
The Miranda Warnings is a notification that police must read to a suspect, prior to the interrogation or arrest of that individual. It’s important to note that statements can still be used against the individual under circumstances that don’t meet these two conditions. For instance, if you willingly make a statement to the police that implicates yourself in a crime, the police may then decide to interrogate you. At this point, they will read you the Miranda Warnings, but anything you said prior to that point can still be used against you.
The Miranda Warnings are:
- The right to remain silent
- Understanding that any statements you make may be used against you in court
- The right to consult a lawyer and to have that lawyer present during questioning
- The right to have an attorney appointed to represent you free of charge
Additionally, the Miranda Warnings state that the individual can invoke his right to remain silent at any point, even if he or she previously agreed to speak with police. At any point, an individual can also stop the interrogation to request an attorney. In that case, all questioning must stop until the individual’s attorney can be present for further questioning.
Be Careful About Waiving Your Miranda Warnings
While the exact language of the Miranda Warnings vary from state to state, they all essentially say the same thing. In every state, the suspect must acknowledge in some way that they understand their rights. In some states, it’s simply enough to say that you do understand, while other states require the individual to sign a card with the rights printed on them.
In the past, suspects refused to acknowledge their rights, believing this could be used to help them get their charges dropped. That changed in 2010, when the Supreme Court determined that refusing to sign a Miranda Warnings card was an indication that the suspect was waiving his or her rights.
In the 2010 case of Berghuis v. Thompkins, 560 U.S. 370, the suspect refused to sign his Miranda Warnings card, but later incriminated himself to police. The Supreme Court held that it was the suspect’s responsibility to invoke his Miranda rights, adding that by not signing the statement of his rights, he was actually waiving his rights. As a result, his incriminating statements were admissible at his trial.
When the police do read you the Miranda Warnings, the best thing for you to do is decline to talk. For your own benefit, the only thing you should do is provide your name and request an attorney. Any additional discussion should be delayed until you’ve had a chance to talk with a lawyer.
I have been charged with a crime. Do I need a criminal defense attorney?
Facing criminal charges can be a harrowing experience and that’s just one reason it’s something you should never try to handle alone. In fact, the laws of our country guarantee a right to legal counsel in facing criminal charges precisely because it’s such a complicated situation. Additionally, the loss of your freedom is considered such a high price to pay that defending yourself without a lawyer is considered a reckless act.
Why Should You Consult a Lawyer as Soon as You’re Charged?
It’s important to consult a criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. This means, if you suspect you may be charged with a crime, you should already be consulting an attorney. The reasoning behind this isn’t so your lawyer can prevent the criminal charges, but so he can ensure you understand your situation.
In many cases, even the best defense attorney may not be able to prevent the prosecutor from filing charges, but he can make sure you fully understand how the charges are going to affect you. Once your lawyer reviews the charges, he will discuss the situation with you. This consultation will involve explaining the charges filed against you and the penalties you may be facing in a conviction. He will also discuss possible defense strategies with you, including the possibility of accepting a plea bargain.
How Do You Hire a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Even though your time is limited, you do want to take the time to hire the best attorney for handling your case. You’ll get a lot of advice recommending that you find an experienced lawyer and this is certainly good advice, but you want to make sure he has the right kind of experience. Your criminal defense attorney should have the expertise in handling cases similar to yours, because this will give him valuable insight into handling your case. For instance, if you’re charged with assault and battery, a lawyer who specializes in embezzlement cases may not be the best choice to handle your defense.
Additionally, you should feel confidence in the attorney, and you should feel comfortable confiding in him. While you should check up on the attorney’s credentials and read past client reviews to get a good idea about the lawyer’s reputation, you will ultimately have to rely on your own instincts. Even though you are protected by the attorney/client privilege, that doesn’t mean any lawyer will do. You should feel confident in his ability to communicate, and you should feel comfortable enough with him to talk freely. Remember, your future hangs in the balance, so you should feel good about the individual representing you.
Often, some attorneys may offer a free initial consultation. While this is an opportunity for the attorney to evaluate your case, it’s also a chance for you to interview the attorney. This is the time to find out how the lawyer charges for criminal defense cases. You should also inquire about the attorney’s litigation experience, and find out how many of his cases have resulted in favorable outcomes for his clients. By taking the time to hire the right criminal defense lawyer, you can improve your chances when you do get your day in court.
What is bail?
After an arrest, a person charged with a crime faces a judge in court. In court, the judge may allow the defendant to post bail. For someone never previously in trouble with the law, some confusion might exist about what bail is and how it works. The concept is simple to understand. Bail involves paying the court a certain amount of money to secure a release from jail.
Once the judge sets bail, the defendant must secure the funding to cover the amount. As soon as the court receives the bail funds, the defendant leaves jail until his/her next mandated appearance in court. Bail does come with conditions. As long as the defendant adheres to the terms, he/she remains free. So, if the court states the defendant may not leave the state, a bail revocation likely occurs if the court learns the defendant crossed state lines. The attorney representing the defendant should be able to explain all terms and conditions associated with bail.
Depending on how serious the charges are, the bail amount may be high or low. In some cases, the judge might outright deny the defendant bail. Generally, the crime and potential flight risk both need to be severe for the court to deny bail.
Be mindful that an attorney can negotiate with the court over the bail amount. A skilled criminal defense lawyer assists with procuring a reasonable bail figure based on the client’s background and the charges. Also, an attorney may be able to convince the court to release a defendant without bail. So, retaining experienced counsel is in the defendant’s best interests.
The money paid to cover bail serves as a bond to ensure the defendant shows up in court. If he/she does what the court requires and makes the necessary appearance, the court refunds the bail. People sometimes confuse bail bonds with fines. Again, bail is refundable while punitive fines are not.
Once a defendant posts bail and leaves jail, he/she can go back to his/her regular routine, one that may involve taking care of family members, return to work, and dealing with other responsibilities. Of course, the defendant may also use his/her time outside of jail to work with an attorney to work on mounting a reliable defense.
One apparent concern many have about bail involves their ability to afford it. Paying $50,000 in cash for bail could be far outside of someone’s personal budget. An option does exist for someone unable to cover the full cost of bail. Bail bondsman can put up the bond amount for a fee. So, the defendant would pay 10% of the bail to the bondsman who then puts up the rest. When the time comes for the court to refund the bail, the bondsman keeps the 10% fee.
What happens if the defendant doesn’t appear in court? Failure to show up in court is referred to as skipping bail. In this event, an arrest warrant becomes issued for the defendant. If the defendant remains a fugitive, the bail bondsman might hire a bounty hunter to bring him/her back.
Once apprehended, bail revocation becomes almost unavoidable and the defendant will probably go to jail until trial.
In the event negotiating with the prosecution isn’t an option, we’re not afraid of going to trial. As experienced trial lawyers, the attorneys at Raiser & Kenniff understand that sometimes – going to trial is the only option you truly have. When no favorable outcome is possible, we utilize every single tool at our disposal in order to get you the result you need.
What are my rights after an arrest?
If you get arrested, the officer must warn you of certain things. These are known as Miranda warnings and should be given to you before questioning. When put in custody, it’s your right to be treated humanely. You should be provided with proper food, shelter and medical attention if necessary. Below are the Miranda warnings.
Right to remain silent
When arrested, the best thing for you to do is to stay silent. The police cannot force you to divulge information. If the officers ask for your name, tell them. Keep in mind that lying about your name is illegal. If you get booked into jail, answer questions about your height and weight and whether or not you have been imprisoned before. If you choose to remain silent or only talk in the presence of a lawyer, you should let your interrogator know. If you stay silent without saying anything, the interrogator can legally continue questioning you. With continued questioning, you might end up saying things that you will regret later. You can ask if you are allowed to call your lawyer, or if you are a minor, your parents. The general rule is that you have to say something to claim the right to remain silent. You can stop the police from questioning you by saying the following;
“I don’t want to talk to you; I want to talk to an attorney.”
“I invoke my privilege against self-incrimination.”
“I refuse to speak with you.”
“I claim my Miranda rights.”
“Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
During an arrest, you might think that the best thing to do is to defend your innocence, but this can make matters worse. If you are being arrested, it means the officer has already made a decision that you have made a mistake. Do not try to talk your way out of it. Any statement that you make can be presented as evidence if you get charged with a crime. You are not obligated to make any formal statement, take a lie detection test or answer questions regarding the incident for which you have been arrested. No matter the amount of time you have to wait to talk to a lawyer, be patient. It’s worth the wait.
Right to a lawyer
Call your lawyer. You can make phone calls to get in touch with your lawyer and also a family member. If that is not possible, ask the police how you can get a lawyer. It is your right to have a lawyer present when you are being questioned. It is also your right to have counsel during trial. If you request to have an attorney present during questioning and the police deny you that, your rights have been violated.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, the state will appoint for you.
If you can’t to afford a lawyer, ask that a public lawyer is provided for you. Many people in the United States of America are eligible for public lawyers. The eligibility criteria, however, varies by state. Someone might interview you and ask questions regarding your financial status to help them determine your eligibility for public defense. It’s a crime to lie about your financial situation in most states, so be honest about it. If you do not qualify for a public lawyer, ask the federal public defender’s office to recommend an attorney.
What is an arraignment?
An arraignment is a courtroom proceeding in which you would be formally charged with crimes. This hearing is primarily concerned with getting the charges on record, but many states combine the arraignment with the bail hearing. In these cases, bail is determined first, before the arraignment process can move forward. While the arraignment is separate from the criminal trial, it is a necessary part in pursuing criminal charges against an individual.
What Happens at an Arraignment?
Prior to the arraignment, the defendant will already have been arrested, booked, and, in some states, he will also have been through a bail hearing. The arraignment provides the accused, now labeled a defendant, with a formal declaration of the charges against him. After reading the charges against him, the judge will ask the defendant about his legal representation. If the defendant doesn’t already have a lawyer, the judge will also ask if the defendant needs the court to appoint an attorney free of charge.
Next, the defendant will be asked to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. A plea of nolo contendere may also be entered, which means the defendant will accept punishment without admitting guilt. As with a guilty plea, a nolo contendere plea waives the right to a trial.
Once these matters are settled, the arraignment concludes by setting dates for future hearings. In addition to the formal trial, dates are also set for preliminary hearings and pre-trial motions. Depending on the final bail determinations, the defendant will then return to jail, or may be able to go home until his next hearing date.
How Does the Right to Counsel Affect Arraignments?
There are actually many differences in the arraignment process from state to state, particularly in relation to the participation of defense attorneys. For instance, some states won’t allow the defendant’s attorney to be present at all. Another common variation is in terms of notifying the defendant of his rights. Some states also require that the defendant be made aware of his rights and how they relate to his charges.
In Florida, an arraignment cannot be delayed. The hearing must be held within 24 hours of the defendant’s arrest and the defendant must appear in person, or via a live video feed. California allows defendants in misdemeanor cases to be represented by their attorneys without having to be present at the hearing themselves.
In every state, the defendant must be represented by an attorney where incarceration is a possible punishment. Since this is a constitutional right, federal law requires that those unable to pay attorney fees be provided with a court-appointed lawyer. This guarantees the defendant will be able to competently defend himself against the charges.
If you don’t have an attorney at the time of your arraignment, hiring a criminal defense lawyer should be your first priority. A lawyer experienced in handling cases similar to yours will give you the best chances for a favorable outcome. Even if a dismissal of the charges, or an acquittal, isn’t possible, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea deal that can significantly reduce the time you spend incarcerated.
Should I Accept A Plea Bargain?
If you are arrested, that day may very well be the lowest point in your life to date. You will undoubtedly have many questions about what the process will entail and what your rights are. You might even feel that the odds are stacked against you. This is why you will want to retain professional and experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after charges have been filed against you. At some point, the prosecution may offer you a plea deal that could sound rather appealing to you. The question becomes whether or not you should accept it.
What Is In Your Best Interest?
When determining if you should accept a plea bargain, you need to determine what is really in your best interest. This always depends on the charges that are filed against you and the potential penalties involved if you are convicted. There are times when a jail sentence may be imposed, while other penalties may involve money or other forms of restitution. You will want to work with your attorney to determine if a plea deal offered to you is actually even worth considering.
The Role of the Prosecution
When answering this question, you should keep in the mind what the role of the prosecution actually is. They are not there to be your friend. A plea deal may be framed to appear that it is in your best interest, but only you can determine that. The goal of the prosecution is to get a conviction and to hopefully save the court’s time in the process. If they can do that with a plea deal, then that is what they are likely to offer. This does not mean that you need to accept it. Some plea deals are offered when the prosecution knows that the case against you is weak. If you know you are innocent, then that is something to take into account as you make your decision.
Understand What A Please Bargain Means
You might very well decide that a plea bargain is best for you in your situation. It is just important to keep in mind that acceptance of the deal will mean that you waive your right to an appeal. This means that you have no real legal recourse even if you are unfairly sentenced for the crime in the end. While the prosecution may offer a lighter sentence as part of the deal, this cannot always be guaranteed. The judge has the final say at sentencing, so you will want to keep that in mind as well.
Your best course of action when you are offered a plea bargain is to carefully weigh it in consultation with your defense attorney. Listen to their advice, talk to your family members and loved ones, and give it careful thought on your own before making a decision. This is an important decision that impacts that rest of your life, so take your time.
How Much Is Bail Going To Be?
Finding out that someone you know, perhaps even a family member, is in jail is never a pleasant experience. However, it is something that many people go through at one time or another. As such, it is always good to be prepared. Thankfully, being arrested does not necessarily mean that a person must remain in jail until a trial is held. Quite often, bail will be granted. This will be a judgment from the court that your loved one can be released as long as a certain amount of money is paid in order to guarantee that they will come back for their scheduled appearances. The question becomes, how much is bail going to be?
It Is Usually Situational
The first thing to keep in mind is that bail is usually dependent on the charges. In some cases, your loved one may even be released on their own recognizance. This means that they will not have to pay anything as long as they agree to certain order court-ordered stipulations. However, the vast majority of cases will require some sort of cash to be paid. The amount will be dependent on the nature of the charges and the record of the accused.
What Is the Charge?
While you never want to downplay the severity of any given criminal charge, it is a reality that some are more severe than others. If one person is accused of shoplifting some clothes from the local department store and another is accused of armed robbery, who do think is a bigger risk to society? Bail is often set according to the charge that has been levied. If the penalty for the crime is not that extreme, then the bail is not likely to be very high. This is because the person will not be perceived to be that big of a flight risk. If the charges are severe, the bail will be much higher. Keep in mind that there are some really severe charges where bail may not be granted at all.
Consider the Criminal History
The court will take into a person’s criminal history when setting bail as well. If someone is accused of their first crime, bail might be set quite low. However, if this is a repeat appearance, then more bail could be asked for because of the perceived increase in risk that the individual will not show up for trial. It is best to appear at a bail hearing with a lawyer in order to argue this point with the judge in order to have an attempt at leniency when it comes to determining how much bail will be.
How Much Do You Have To Pay?
Once bail is set, remember that this is not the amount that you will necessarily have to pay to the court. There are options. If you use a bail bond agency, for example, you will find that the amount you end up paying is much less. If you have bail set at $10,000 then you might have to pay a bail bondsman $1,000 to secure the release of your loved one. The rest will be in the form of some type of collateral that you offer in exchange for a promise that the accused will appear back in court at the appointed time.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge
It can be confusing to understand the differences in how crimes are categorized. This is especially true in understanding why one crime may be a misdemeanor, while a seemingly similar crime is a felony. In a general sense, the severity of the crime and the incarceration applied as a punishment are the primary factors in distinguishing between the two types of crimes.
Understanding Misdemeanor Charges
While criminal laws do vary from state to state, all states agree that a misdemeanor is defined by a penalty of under one year of jail time. Misdemeanor crimes are further divided by classes, which look at the severity of the crime and outline more specific penalties. The time you serve in jail will be determined by the class, or level, of the crime for which you have been convicted.
- Class A – Results in jail time of six months to one year.
- Class B – Requires a sentence of 31 days to six months.
- Class C – Six days up to 30 days of jail time.
What Are Felony Crimes?
There are wider discrepancies among states as to how a felony crime is defined. In some states, a felony is determined by the length of imprisonment, while others define a felony by the institution in which the penalty is served. In general terms, a felony requires a prison term of more than one year and it’s usually carried out in a state or federal prison as opposed to a county or city jail.
Felonies and misdemeanors are similar in that they are both divided by classes that outline punishments. However, there are more classes of felonies, giving prosecutors a broader range of options in the criminal charges they can file with the court.
- Class A – Penalties consist of life imprisonment, or, when applicable, the death penalty.
- Class B – A minimum sentence of 25 years.
- Class C – Requires a prison term of at least 10 years and up to 25 years.
- Class D – Five to 10 years of imprisonment.
- Class E – A prison term of more than one year, but as many as five years.
While there are many felony crimes outlined in the penal codes of each state, there are some crimes that all states consider felony crimes. For instance, murder, rape, kidnapping, and arson are felonies in all states. Some crimes can be both misdemeanors and felonies with a distinction made according to the severity of the crime. More serious crimes will carry stiffer penalties, escalating the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.
While a misdemeanor often means serving less time behind bars, it’s still a very serious legal situation. Being deprived of your freedom, even for a brief period, can carry long-term adverse effects, such as making it harder to find a job or rent an apartment. If you’re charged with any criminal offense, the best thing you can do for yourself is consult a criminal defense attorney.