Suppose you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, especially in New York. In that case, you’ll need a skilled Rochester criminal attorney to help you avoid becoming a part of some scary state statistics.
Rates of Incarceration and How a Rochester Criminal Attorney Can Help
The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration. With an incarceration rate of 664 per 100,000 citizens, the likelihood of being convicted once charged with a crime is staggering.
New York State’s rate alone is triple other NATO countries like Canada, France, and Italy.1
It’s important to note that you don’t need just any attorney to represent your case. You have to right to a public defender or to defend yourself. However, having a skilled Rochester criminal attorney with experience navigating the court system can be the key to keeping your freedom.
You’ll also want to ensure that the criminal defense attorney you hire has lots of experience with the crime you’ve been accused of.
Here are some of the most common cases requiring a Rochester criminal attorney.
A huge mistake that people make is thinking that they don’t need an attorney unless they’re facing a felony charge. Even with misdemeanors and non-incarceration cases, New York defendants should always ask a Rochester criminal attorney to evaluate their case.
Misdemeanor cases comprise over 80 percent2 of the cases processed by the U.S. criminal justice system. Yet, to many, misdemeanors don’t seem as serious as driving under the influence, domestic violence, or assault and battery felony charges.
Even misdemeanors must be taken seriously. This is because they can come with severe consequences like separation from family, time away from work, a criminal record of an arrest, and a possible conviction record.
New York state is known for being tough on drug crimes. You’ll need to hire an attorney immediately if you have been accused of possessing, distributing, or trafficking drugs.
Drug crimes in New York often come with serious add-ons. These include:
- Charges for distributing to someone under 21
- Paraphernalia charges
- Conspiracy charges
- Charges for proximity to a school zone
- Weapons charges
- Charges for driving under the influence
These add-ons can lead even simple charges to carry serious time.
Those accused of drug crimes significantly benefit from hiring an attorney with prosecution experience. This type of Rochester defense attorney knows how the other side thinks and how to avoid a conviction.
DWI (Driving Under the Influence)
Driving under the influence is strictly prohibited in New York State. Penalties for breaking DWI laws include:
- Loss of driving privileges
- Jail time
A seasoned Rochester criminal attorney can help those charged with DWI reduce their charges or even get them dismissed.
Rochester criminal attorneys also successfully defend against violent crimes such as domestic assault and assault and battery. However, unlike other kinds of crimes, violent convictions have severe direct and collateral consequences. These include up to 25 years in prison and loss of voting and gun ownership privileges.
Courts are cracking down on crime, especially when the felony charge is related to domestic violence. However, without a skilled Rochester criminal attorney, it is unlikely that complete dismissal of charges, a plea to a lesser offense, or a not-guilty verdict at trial is a possibility.
Being charged with a sex crime, even when innocent, is a life-changing event. Sex crimes are some of the most severely prosecuted offenses.
Types of sex crimes include:
- Child pornography
- Internet sex crimes
- Statutory rape
- Sexual assault
- Sexual abuse
If you are convicted, you could face a lengthy prison sentence and lifetime registration as a sex offender. In addition, becoming a societal outcast is another huge possibility.
Even if released from prison, a sex offender is restricted in where they can live, where they can visit, the kind of job they can have, and even the type of credit they can obtain.
Thankfully, there is a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. A Rochester criminal attorney with experience defending serious cases is key to beating any charge involving sex.
Federal Crimes and White Collar Crimes
The federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigate federal charges. Federal charges include a range of crimes, from tax evasion to weapons charges to acts of terrorism.
Because federal prosecutors have virtually unlimited resources at their disposal, statistics3 show that they rarely lose.
This is why anyone charged with a federal crime hires a criminal attorney to investigate the best options.
Contact a Rochester Criminal Attorney Today
Regardless of the type of crime you’ve been accused of, the right to legal defense makes a big difference for you and your family. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester criminal attorney.
During pandemic lockdowns, VMT (vehicle miles traveled) dropped sharply in the Empire State. However, the number of DUIs hardly changed. Translation? More drunk drivers were on the road than ever before during the lockdowns. Generally, bad habits, like driving while intoxicated, are easy to form and hard to break. Police officers are determined to force people to break this habit and reduce the number of DUI arrests in NY.
Most of the new arrestees are first-time DUI offenders who, in most cases, have never been through the system before. We’ve posted about DUIs several times. But this post will focus on what happens in the thirty days following an arrest and how a Rochester DUI lawyer can help you through a very difficult and frightening time.
Jail Release after DUI Arrest in NY
First things first. Initially, immediate jail release is priority number one. Nothing else is even close. New York has relaxed its pretrial release laws recently. However, jail release is still not guaranteed, especially after a DUI arrest. County sheriffs, who set presumptive bail amounts in most cases, often consider these offenders a public hazard.
Nevertheless, DUI is technically a nonviolent crime, at least in most cases. Therefore, OR (Own Recognizance) release may be available. That’s especially true if the defendant provided a chemical sample below .15 and no other enhancements, like a collision, apply.
If available, OR release is the way to go. The cost is minimal and post-release supervision is minimal as well. Basically, if a defendant promises to walk the line, under the law, the sheriff must take this promise at face value.
The pretrial release process in most Upstate New York counties doesn’t include a hearing. However, a Rochester DUI lawyer may informally advocate for defendants and work to secure OR release.
Other options might be immediately available as well, once again, if the case has no enhancements. Immediate release options include cash bail and a bail bond. Cash bail is a lot like a security deposit; a bail bond is basically an insurance policy.
If the cash bail amount is too high or, usually because of enhancements, a bail bond isn’t available, the judge must hold a bail reduction hearing if a Rochester DUI lawyer asks for one. Generally, the judge must hear bail reduction arguments within seventy-two hours of the arrest. Frequently, these matters settle before the hearing. For example, the prosecutor might agree to pretrial release if the defendant agrees to stricter IID monitoring (more on that below).
Drivers’ License Suspension/Restriction
A chemical test refusal or failure triggers New York’s administrative license revocation process. Usually, defendants have thirty days to request a hearing, or the full suspension period automatically takes effect. Usually, these suspension periods are:
- Six months for the first failure,
- Twelve months for a first refusal,
- Twelve months for a second failure, and
- Eighteen months for a second refusal.
Some of these actions are suspensions, and others are revocations. There’s a difference. Drivers can re-activate suspended licenses after the suspension period ends if they jump through some hoops, such as paying a reinstatement fee. After a revocation period ends, the driver must start the whole process anew.
Rochester DUI lawyers can help defendants obtain limited licenses, which allow defendants to drive for most essential purposes in some cases. Additionally, in a few cases, an attorney can overturn the suspension or at least reduce the period.
New York law generally mandates Ignition Interlock Devices as a jail release condition or as part of a limited license. An IID is basically a portable Breathalyzer attached to the vehicle’s ignition.
In Monroe County, alcohol evaluations are mandatory if the defendant refused to provide a sample or had a BAC above .15. Judges often order these evaluations in other cases as well. Frankly, many Rochester DUI lawyers overlook this part of the post-arrest process. However, the alcohol evaluation often traps many defendants, especially first-time offenders.
Many first-time offenders don’t regularly consume alcohol. They just had one too many and got caught. When these people tell counselors they don’t have alcohol problems, the counselors claim they’re in denial and refuse to move forward. If that happens, the entire criminal process gets stuck in neutral.
Usually, an attorney cannot overturn this requirement. However, a lawyer can ensure that a defendant sees a counselor who understands how the DUI arrest went down. So, the process keeps moving forward, and everything ends sooner.
There’s a big difference between a criminal arrest and a criminal conviction. Contact the Law Office of Frank Ciardi for a free consultation with an experienced Rochester criminal attorney for DUI. Virtual, home, and jail visits are available.