Reasons You Should (or Should Not) Take a Plea Deal

Getting arrested for a crime is one of the most stressful things that can happen to someone, and the possibility of going to prison is terrifying for most people. That’s why, when many people are offered a relatively lenient plea deal, especially one that promises to keep them out of prison, they’re eager to jump on it. However, there are several reasons why you should stop to consider your options before you plead to the charges against you. Continue reading “Reasons You Should (or Should Not) Take a Plea Deal”

Accused Bank Robber on the Run After Being Improperly Assigned Bail

An accused bank robber from Nassau County is on the run after being released from jail when it was determined he was improperly assigned bail. The defendant was initially held on $10,000 bail, but it was overturned on appeal, resulting in him being released to the public. The incident is a test case of New York’s new controversial bail reforms, which made it illegal to assign bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Continue reading “Accused Bank Robber on the Run After Being Improperly Assigned Bail”

NY Criminal Justice Reforms See Pushback from Prosecutors, Police

This summer, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a package of reforms into law that are set to radically alter how the criminal justice system functions throughout the state. While criminal justice advocates were pleased with the reforms that were passed, some, including several politicians and law enforcement representatives, are more critical of the reforms. Some even hope to have the reforms stopped from going into effect, which is scheduled to happen on January 1, 2020. Continue reading “NY Criminal Justice Reforms See Pushback from Prosecutors, Police”

A Confession is Not the End of Your Case

It’s one thing to know that you have a right to an attorney and the right to remain silent when questioned by police. It’s another thing entirely to exercise those rights when you’re in police custody and facing interrogation by professional officers or detectives. People don’t make the best decisions when they’re under that kind of stress, and it’s surprisingly easy for police to elicit a confession under such circumstances, even from people who are innocent. Fortunately, however, a confession alone isn’t necessarily the end of your case. Continue reading “A Confession is Not the End of Your Case”

What is the Miranda Warning?

If you have ever watched a law enforcement-based program on TV, like Law and Order or NCIS, chances are you’ve heard of the Miranda warning, and Miranda rights. You may even be able to recite them from memory. But why is it so important for police officers to tell suspects their Miranda rights, and what happens if an arresting officer fails to do so? Continue reading “What is the Miranda Warning?”

Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions

It doesn’t take a genius to know that if you are convicted of a crime, or plead to having committed a crime, you’ll be punished with jail or prison time, probation, fines, or some combination of the above. However, there’s more to crime and punishment than just that, and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself suffering from the collateral consequences of your punishment without realizing it. Continue reading “Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions”

The Expectation of Privacy

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution says that a citizen cannot be the subject of an unreasonable search or seizure without a warrant backed by probable cause. But in the Supreme Court case Katz v. U.S., the Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment applies only in cases where a person has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” And it’s not always obvious when you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, at least by the court’s standards. Continue reading “The Expectation of Privacy”

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 & Bennett at (631) 348-1702.

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.

Continue reading “Long Island Limo Driver’s Charges Dismissed After Fatal Crash”