FAQ for Long Island Criminal Defense Attorneys
Q. If the complainant agrees to “drop the charges” after I have been arraigned, what will happen to my case?
A. When you are prosecuted for a crime it is the People of the State of New York against the Defendant. It is not the Complainant against the Defendant. It is a common misunderstanding that a complainant can “drop the charges”. It is not up to a complainant as to whether or not they want to drop the charges. Once a criminal prosecution has begun only the District Attorney has the power to “drop the charges.” A complainant may refuse to co-operate with the District Attorney and the case then becomes more difficult for the District Attorney to prosecute, but the complainant can never “drop the charges”.
Q. Do I have the right to refuse a random bag search in the subway?
A. This is a very grey area, and until somebody actually challenges these searches and gets a ruling from a court there is not much you can do other than turn around and leave the station. Under New York case law (People v. DeBour) there are four levels of permissible police intrusion. (1) The police have the right to approach a citizen to request information when there is some objective credible reason for that interference, although not indicative of criminality (which can be practically anything). (2) The police can then intrude upon a person’s privacy to a greater degree and can obtain explanatory information by means short of a forcible seizure if there is founded suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. (3) An officer can forcibly stop and detain a person when the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a felony or a misdemeanor. (4) If the officer stops and detains a person and then entertains an independent and reasonable suspicion that he is in physical danger because the detainee is armed, the officer may frisk the detainee. De Bour has been expanded upon and interpreted many different ways throughout the years. I think the random bag search falls somewhere between level (2) and (3), but the legality of it is definitely questionable.
Q. If I am arrested and held for processing, how long will it take before I am arraigned?
A. Typically it takes about 24 hours to make it all the way through the system from arrest to arraignment.
Q. What steps need to be taken after an injury?
A. The most important step to take immediately after suffering an injury is to seek medical attention. Even if your injury is not severe, it’s important to have documentation of your condition. Then, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. You should also obtain a copy of your medical records, save your medical bills and maintain records of all other documents pertinent to your case. Your personal injury lawyer will need those documents to build a strong case on your behalf.
Q. Do I need a personal injury attorney?
A. The insurance companies have fully trained attorneys who review all possible claims their insurance company may be liable for. You should have an experienced personal injury attorney fighting for your interests from the beginning as well. Since most personal injury cases are taken on a contingency basis there is no harm in engaging an attorney early in the process. Should your injuries subside and you do not have a case you can simply disengage with no legal fee owed. However, if your injuries are serious, having an attorney involved early will help you get maximum compensation.
Q. What to do if injured in an accident?
A. It is important to gather all the relevant evidence. Take photos, records witnesses names and contact information. Keep a diary of all doctors and diagnosis. Of course, having an experienced Long Island personal injury attorney on your team is vital to help you focus on your recovery while ensuring you receive maximum compensation.
Q. What to do if involved in a car accident?
A. If you were injured in a car accident all medical bills should be paid through no-fault coverage. Who receives No-Fault? The No-Fault Law applies to any driver, cyclist, passengers or pedestrian, injured by a motor vehicle in New York State. To qualify for no-fault coverage the following must be met: The accident occurred in New York; the injured party was the driver or passenger of the insured vehicle or a cyclist or pedestrian struck by or in contact with the motor vehicle; the vehicle must be a car, truck, bus, taxi (not a motorcycle) or other vehicle covered by New York No-Fault law; the vehicle is registered in New York; the vehicle has an insurance policy sold in New York or issued by a company licensed to do business in the State of New York. Who doesn’t receive No-Fault? Motorcyclists, Vespa or scooter riders (depending on the engine size); injuries as a result of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.