When Do You Have a Right to an Attorney?

The right to an attorney is enshrined in the United States Constitution as one of the fundamental rights that every American has by birthright. After all, how can someone defend themselves in court if they aren’t given access to legal expertise, which they are unlikely to have themselves? But things are more complicated than they first appear, because there are two slightly different rights to an attorney, and the distinction can be important.

The right to an attorney is guaranteed by two Constitutional Amendments in the Bill of Rights: The Fifth Amendment, and the Sixth Amendment. Though both Amendments guarantee your right to an attorney, they have a couple of important distinctions between them. First is the difference in timing: the 5th Amendment right to counsel guarantees your right to a lawyer while you’re being interrogated in police custody; the 6th Amendment right to counsel, on the other hand, guarantees your right to counsel during the critical parts of a criminal prosecution.

However, there’s another, more significant difference: the 6th Amendment requires the court to appoint you a lawyer if you can’t afford one at the time of your arraignment (when you’re formally charged with a crime). The 5th Amendment requires police to allow you access to a lawyer, if you already have one, but they aren’t required to provide you with one, because an arrest doesn’t necessarily signal the beginning of a criminal prosecution. Thus, you can be in a situation where you are legally entitled to have an attorney, but you aren’t yet legally entitled to have one appointed to you by the court. And if you’re being interrogated by the police, it can be very helpful to have an attorney present to advise you on your rights.

Those who have been charged with a crime can face serious legal consequences. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling criminal cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.

To Plead, or to Go to Trial: The Costs and Benefits of Fighting a Criminal Charge

When you’re accused of a crime, it can be tempting to say that you’ll fight the charges against you. Indeed, on the surface, it’s not immediately clear why someone wouldn’t fight criminal charges with every fiber of your being. And yet, an estimated 95% of criminal charges result in plea deals, ending the legal process before it ever gets to trial. Understanding why people plead out so often can help you if you ever find yourself accused of committing a crime. Continue reading “To Plead, or to Go to Trial: The Costs and Benefits of Fighting a Criminal Charge”

Court Rules NYPD Illegally Used Sealed Arrest Information Without Court Order

The New York Supreme Court has ruled in a class action suit against the New York Police Department (NYPD) that the department violated state law by using information from sealed arrests without a court order.

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Your Rights When You’re Stopped for a DUI or DWI

It should go without saying that you should never, under any circumstances, drive while under the influence of an intoxicating substance, such as alcohol, marijuana or heroin. However, if you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), there are a few things you should keep in mind, so that you can best protect your rights.

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How is Assault Proven

In order to be convicted of assault, every element of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If it is shown that an element of the crime is missing, an individual must be found not guilty. In addition, the prosecution has the burden of proving every element of the case and must present evidence as to each element.

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Tragic New York Boating Accident Case Comes to a Close

As the weather heats up, more New Yorkers are taking their boats out onto the open seas. Although boating is a fun activity to engage in, it is important to recognize that it can also be extremely dangerous if certain precautions are not taken. Boat accidents may occur for various reasons, including boating under the influence, negligent speeding, or a manufacturers defect, among others. Recently, a New York man was convicted of manslaughter in a horrific boating accident that occurred on Lake George and resulted in the death of an 8-year-old girl and other serious injuries.

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Suffolk County Judge Reopens Juvenile Drug Treatment Court in Central Islip

On January 26, 2017, a Suffolk County judge announced the reopening of the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court in Central Islip. Several years ago, many had deemed the drug treatment courts for juveniles to be a success. However, due to lack of state funding, these drug treatment courts became obsolete in Suffolk County, while drug treatment courts for adults remained. The goal of the juvenile drug treatment court is to reduce substance abuse and non-violent behaviors among the youth who have become involved in the family court system.

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Long Island Limo Driver’s Charges Dismissed After Fatal Crash

A Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice dismissed the charges against the limousine driver involved in a fatal Suffolk County crash last July. Carlos Pino, age 59, was attempting to make a U-turn at an intersection in Cutchogue after picking up his passengers from a nearby winery. Upon attempting to make the U-turn, the limousine was broadsided by a pickup truck that what being operated by a driver under the influence. Four of the passengers Brittney Schulman, Lauren Baruch, Amy Grabina, and Stephanie Belli were killed in the accident, and four others were injured.

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New York Orders of Protection

An Order of Protection (OP) is a Court Order mandating an individual to either refrain from certain behaviors against specified individuals, or to stay away from the protected party entirely. The purpose of an OP is to protect the alleged victim from harm. Most often OPs are directed in response to incidents of domestic violence. Multiple courts have jurisdiction to issue OPs, and all orders require the restricted individual to surrender any firearms they may have.

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Use of Drug Sniffing Dogs at Traffic Violation Stops

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court held that there is no expectation of privacy when carrying drugs. Accordingly, the Court determined that the use of drug sniffing dogs during a traffic violation stop did not violate the unwarranted search and seizure clause of the Fourth Amendment.

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