Criminal Law

You, your family and friends should be aware of your rights if have been arrested. This applies to both documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as to native-born citizens.

Criminal law, or penal law, is the body of rules that defines conduct that is prohibited by the state because it is held to threaten, harm or otherwise endanger the safety and welfare of the public, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on those who breach these laws. Criminal law is enforced by the state, unlike the civil law which may be enforced by private parties.

If you have been arrested and or a member of your family, friend, you should be aware of your rights. Even if you are told that you are been arrested for a minor offense, you have a right to speak to a lawyer and you have a right and should not speak to any law enforcement official until you seek legal advise. Our firm is also engaged in representing immigrants and their families, and it should be know that a minor offense can also have adverse effects on a persons immigration status.

This is a guide and each case is different and if you have a criminal issue please do not hesitate in contacting us, so that we can start working to resolve your case and to give you peace of mind.

You were arrested because a police officer who had reason to believe that you had committed a felony, misdemeanor, or violation. If you are charged with a felony, the officer must file a felony complaint in the Criminal Court. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, the officer must file a misdemeanor complaint in the Criminal Court. If you are charged with a violation, you may not have been arrested, but a police officer may have brought you to a police station to give you a desk appearance ticket (D.A.T.). A D.A.T. requires you to appear in court at the date, time, and courthouse written on it, and at this stage you are your family member should contact us without further delay so we can evaluate your case and have a positive outcome occur.

Each stage of a criminal case presents traps for people who are not familiar with the criminal justice system. We are trained to prevent our clients from doing or saying things that will increase the likelihood of conviction. But when legal counsel has not been hired or appointed, accused individuals can unknowingly waive their rights and harm their own interests. This if done can do real damage o their case and as such, we appeal to you to contact us as soon as possible and do not feel alone in this process.

Even if you are without legal status please feel free to contact us and we will counsel you on any consequences you may incur on the immigration side. We are one of the few law offices that are also very familiar with the immigration codes and we feel confident that we can assist you if you have been arrested.

After an arrest, police may question a suspect in regards to the offense and the police will inform the suspect of his or her “Miranda rights” (right to remain silent, right to an attorney), and then attempt to elicit a confession. Without a lawyer present, defendants can make incriminating statements that maybe later used against them in court. We advise anyone that is arrested not to make any statements without first speaking to us and this is to protect your rights.

In both misdemeanors and felonies, an arraignment will be held in open court. The judge will explain the nature of the charges to the defendant and ask for a plea. Without the assistance of our office, you may feel the need to plead guilty at this early stage and by doing this you are giving up important rights, as well as the opportunity to negotiate the terms of their sentence beforehand.

Discovery proceedings are another critical stage in a criminal case. This is when the defendant can demand that the prosecutor turn over copies of all of the evidence gathered by law enforcement. In DUI and DWI cases especially, the police reports, lab results, video recordings, and other items will likely determine whether the case settles or continues on to trial. To make informed decisions, the defendant must obtain these materials.

If the state fails to offer a plea bargain the defendant is willing to accept, the case will proceed to trial. This is the time to question witnesses and present argument to the jury. Legal training is needed to perform effective cross-examination, comply with the rules of evidence, and so on. Remember, your liberty is at issue and we want to see that justice is done and that your rights are not trampled on.