New York State Criminal Defense
The Blanch Law Firm is a highly respected criminal defense firm that advocates vigorously on behalf of clients throughout the state of New York. Our diverse backgrounds, which include experience as prosecuting attorneys, permit us to see every case from multiple angles. We understand prosecutors’ strategies because we have been there ourselves. We bring this experience to clients’ defense in state and federal courts in cases involving simple, straightforward charges and complex, multi-defendant schemes. We tailor our defense to fit the facts of the case. There is no substitute for a well-informed client. Our attorneys ensure you understand every aspect of your case so that you can be an active participant in your defense. As a primer, here is a summary of what you can expect in a New York arrest and arraignment.
You may be arrested on a warrant issued by a court, or by police who are investigating a recent crime. Never forget that even after an arrest, police are still investigating. You should not answer any of their questions until you speak to a defense attorney. At the arrest, you will be identified, photographed and fingerprinted.
After an arrest, you must appear before a judge for arraignment, usually within 24 to 36 hours. At the arraignment, the charges against you are established. You must enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, and the court will set or modify bail. If the judge believes you are a danger to the community or are likely to flee and fail to appear for court, bail may be so high that your remain incarcerated until trial. If you are able to pay the bail, you must come back for scheduled court dates or forfeit the money paid.
In New York, state and local police and federal agencies each have their own system for processing arrests. You could be held in custody in any local or federal law enforcement facility prior to your arraignment. State charges are filed in the Supreme Court Criminal Division of the county where the crime reportedly occurred.
Federal arraignments are held in federal court. In New York, there are federal courthouses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Central Islip, Albany, Binghamton, Plattsburgh, Syracuse, Utica, Buffalo and Rochester.
The motions The Blanch Law Firm attorneys file prior to trial have a significant impact on how a case proceeds and succeeds. These motions may result in dismissal of some or all charges against you or exclusion of some evidence because it was illegally obtained or prejudicial.
During a pre-trial conference, we meet with you and the prosecutor to discuss any plea agreements and to ascertain what evidence is being advanced against you. One of the most important motions we file, that for open-file discovery, is designed to force the prosecutor to present ALL evidence against you. Amazingly, prosecutors often exclude evidence from the case file — by accident or on purpose. We have often found vital evidence was excluded.
If your case is to proceed to trial, a grand jury must first indict you.
• New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on May 1 announced that he shut down Swanson Walker & Associates, a consumer debt collection agency in Lockport, New York. The owner, Sean Millard, entered into an agreement with the Attorney General that required the shutdown and a $10,000 fine.
According to consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission, Swanson debt collectors repeatedly and persistently violated the law by improperly calling consumers at their places of employment; improperly accusing them of check fraud and violations of the penal law and threatening consumers with arrest or imprisonment; falsely representing that a lawsuit had been, or would be filed; improperly disclosing consumer debts to third parties; and improperly threatening to seize a consumer's property, freeze bank accounts and garnish wages. Swanson also maintained a website that was replete with false representations, the Attorney General said.
• On April 25, the Attorney General announced that charges were filed against 17 employees of Highpointe on Michigan Health Care Facility in Buffalo, following an investigation into their treatment of a bedridden nursing home resident. The investigation, which relied on a hidden camera placed in the patient’s room, revealed a disturbing pattern of neglect. The eight nurses and nine nursing assistants are being charged with a variety of felony and misdemeanor counts.
According to video footage recorded by the Attorney General’s Office, nurses and certified nurse’s aides routinely ignored their duties by failing to dispense pain medication and check on the resident, failed to give him liquids and failed to perform incontinent care. They then falsified documents in an effort to conceal their neglect, according to the Attorney General.
• On April 25, Richard S. Hartunian, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, announced the sentencing of Habakkuk Nickens, 28, of Syracuse following his guilty plea to conspiracy in gang-related murder, shootings, racketeering, drug dealing and other charges. He was sentenced to 240 months in prison. The other 10 members of the conspiracy have pleaded guilty and been sentenced.