Being arrested is one of the most frightening experiences anyone can have. As you’re placed in handcuffs or being put in the back of a squad car, you may feel like your future is on the line. In many ways, this is true.
Depending on the offense, a criminal conviction can land you in prison and cost you thousands of dollars in fines. Having a criminal record can affect your ability to work, where you live, your driving privileges, your ability to qualify for a loan, and much more.
With all that is at stake, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
O’Connor & Partners, PLLC provides skilled representation for clients charged with a variety of offenses. Please call (845) 303-8777 today for an initial consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys serve clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and other areas of New York.
At What Point Can I Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney?
The optimal time to speak with an attorney would be immediately after you are arrested. Obviously, however, this is not practical.
Realistically, the first opportunity you have to speak to a lawyer is often after you have been booked. This is the process where the police verify your identity, fingerprint and photograph you, search you, and confiscate and inventory your belongings. For minor offenses, you may be released after posting bond, at which point you can start looking for a lawyer. Those charged with more serious offenses are generally placed in holding.
If you are in a holding cell, ask to call an attorney. Unless you know the name and phone number of an attorney offhand, your best course is to contact a family member or friend who can find a criminal defense attorney on your behalf.
Looking for a defense lawyer on behalf of a loved one or friend? Contact O’Connor & Partners, PLLC. We can help.
If the police wish to question you, you have the right to have an attorney present. We strongly recommend you exercise this right, remain silent, and wait for legal counsel.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for Arraignment?
It is in your best interest to speak to an attorney before being arraigned. An arraignment is a hearing where the charges against you are formally read. You will be asked if you plead guilty or not-guilty. The court will also hear arguments on bail.
By consulting with a criminal defense attorney before the arraignment, you will get a full understanding of the charges you are facing. You and your lawyer can also discuss bail considerations, including the likelihood that you will be granted bail. During the arraignment, your criminal defense attorney can request a reasonable bail amount, or argue that you should be released on your own recognizance (“O.R.”).
The charges you are facing, prior criminal convictions, and other factors may impact the judge’s decision to grant bail or have you released O.R..
Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Before Trial?
Yes. Although you have the right to represent yourself in legal proceedings, doing so puts you at a serious disadvantage.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will fully investigate the case against you and develop a strong defense on your behalf. This involves not only gathering and analyzing evidence and interviewing witnesses (both of which are time- and resource-intensive), but handling pre-trial motions and other procedural steps.
One of the most important reasons to begin working with a criminal defense attorney before your court date is that many cases don’t go to trial. The majority of criminal cases are resolved through negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Depending on the circumstances, a criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction in charges (known as a plea bargain) and/or a lighter sentence. Your attorney can also file motions to have the charges dismissed if the evidence reveals errors, rights violations, and/or insufficient evidence in the prosecution’s case.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney at Trial?
Again, yes. Trials are complex proceedings that take training and experience to navigate. When your freedom is at stake, it is crucial to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
During trial, your criminal defense attorney will submit evidence and call witnesses on your behalf. Your lawyer will also cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution and attempt to refute the evidence against you.
Ultimately, the goal of your criminal defense attorney is to have you acquitted of the charges. However, depending on the evidence and other factors in your case, a plea may be in your best interest. In this situation, your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor during the trial to secure a plea deal that is more favorable than a potential guilty verdict.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
The lawyers at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have been serving clients throughout the Hudson Valley for more than 150 years combined. Our team includes two former prosecutors:
We use our experience on “the other side” to provide clients facing serious criminal charges with the strong defense they deserve.
To speak with a criminal defense attorney, please call (845) 303-8777 today. O’Connor & Partners, PLLC serves clients in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, and other areas of New York.