New York Criminal Defense Process
What Happens in a Criminal Case in New York or New Jersey
If you have never been the subject of a criminal prosecution before, the entire experience is likely very unsettling, leaving you anxious and uncertain about what exactly is going on and how it will all end up. Below is a brief description of the main steps in a criminal case. Note how your attorney plays a crucial role at every critical stage in the prosecution. If you have been arrested in New York or New Jersey, or if you believe you are under investigation for a crime, contact experienced criminal lawyer Linda Kenney Baden at 732-219-7770 for immediate assistance.
Unless the police actually observe a crime in progress, their knowledge that a crime has potentially been committed comes to them some other way, such as by information from a witness or crime victim. In these situations, the police most often will undertake some investigation before making any arrests. They must have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by you before arresting you. As part of their investigation, the police will likely interview several persons, including yourself. How you behave during this crucial phase is critical to whether you are eventually arrested and if so, what charges are filed against you. The Law Office of Linda Kenney Baden provides invaluable pre-arrest services at this important stage to position you for the best result at trial, or to prevent charges from ever being brought.
In a high-profile case, the prosecutor may want to make a media event out of your arrest. In some cases, the prosecutor may want to keep the arrest as quiet as possible, while it may be in your best interest to publicize the fact of the arrest. Linda Kenney Baden can advise you of your options and work with law enforcement to facilitate how the arrest is handled, including whether it is done very discreetly, very publicly, or whether you voluntarily turn yourself over to police custody.
Even when the police believe they have probable cause to arrest you, they may not have all the evidence they need to convict you. Police know that being arrested is a scary experience. They will use the time immediately following an arrest to pressure you into “helping yourself” by confessing or offering incriminating statements. Make no mistake, the police already think you are guilty or they would not have arrested you in the first place. Statements you make to the police are most likely not going to help you but are only going to be used against you. The only statement you need to make after an arrest is, “I want my lawyer.” Then call the Law Office of Linda Kenney Baden, so we can be with you and advise you on how to proceed.
Shortly after the arrest, you will appear before a judge, at which time you will enter a plea (usually not guilty) and in most cases request a jury trial. The conditions of your pretrial release from custody (bail) will normally also be decided at this time. In the federal system, the arraignment is preceded by an interview and report conducted by the U.S. Pretrial Services Agency. We can help you prepare for the arraignment and represent you at this hearing, advising you on how to plea and whether to request a jury trial. We can also argue for your release with a reasonable amount of bail or no bail required.
During the discovery phase, the prosecution works on building its case, while we work on building your defense. We analyze the strength of the prosecution and your available defenses, and try to find out as much as we can about the prosecution’s case. Our team will interview witnesses, read police reports, and speak with the prosecutor if warranted, at all times maintaining strict client confidentiality and protecting your valuable rights.
Before trial, we may file motions with the court to suppress evidence or statements against you. If we believe your rights have been violated, we may make these claims known at this time as well. Many motions will be decided by the judge after conducting pretrial hearings on the motions, which we attend on your behalf. We may seek dismissal of the charges against you at this time, keeping you from ever having to go to trial.
A trial is always risky and may not be in your best interests. The decision whether to go to trial is yours to make, but we help by advising you of the risks and consequences and what we think is in your best interests. We can negotiate a plea agreement to avoid trial in exchange for lesser charges, alternative sentencing, probation or other favorable outcomes.
If the case goes to trial, the prosecution presents its case first, calling witnesses and introducing evidence. We cross-examine witnesses and challenge evidence as appropriate. After the prosecution rests, the defense may also call witnesses and introduce evidence. The burden at trial is on the prosecution to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury. Our job is to see that you get a fair trial, and that every available defense is properly and forcefully presented. If the prosecution cannot prove its case, you go free.
If you are convicted, you have the right to appeal to a higher court. This is not a new trial; you must be able to point out some error at trial that affected the outcome. You must act quickly, as you may have as little as ten to 30 days to file an appeal, depending upon whether you are in state or federal court and the laws in your state.
Make Your First Call be to New York Criminal Lawyer Linda Kenney Baden
Now that you know what to expect and see how important it is to have an experienced attorney guide you and represent you, you can make an informed, reasonable choice and hire the best lawyer for your situation. In New Jersey and New York, call the Law Office of Linda Kenney Baden for strong, effective defense of the charges against you.