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.

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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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What Happens at an Arraignment?

An arraignment is typically the first proceeding where a defendant is brought before a judge.  The Court must inform the individual of the charge(s) and determine whether bail is appropriate or if the person should be released on their own recognizance.

When deciding bail, the Court considers the defendants ties to the community and whether he will be a flight risk.     Some factors weighed include whether the defendant’s ties to the community, including whether he lives with and visits family, is employed, has a previous criminal history, and whether she has failed to appear at previous scheduled court proceedings.

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