Queens Criminal Defense
The Blanch Law Firm is comprised of high caliber attorneys — some of them former prosecutors — who make it their priority to ensure criminal defendants in Queens receive the best caliber of representation. Whether you face a misdemeanor or murder charge, our attorneys understand what is at stake and what is required to achieve an optimal outcome. One of the most important aspects of a case is for our clients to fully understand the criminal justice process in Queens. Your future is at stake. You should know what is going to happen as we work diligently to prepare a successful defense. Briefly, this is what you can expect in an arrest:
Authorities have several options when making an arrest. They can take you into custody on a warrant issued by a court, or if they have probable cause evidence that you have done something wrong, for example if you have stolen property, drugs or other evidence of a crime in your possession. Once you are taken into custody, you likely will be taken to a precinct, or in the case of a federal investigation, to the applicable federal law enforcement facility. Officers fill out paperwork with your identification information and information about the crime and arrest. Most likely, the authorities will question you. Be forewarned: Never say anything to authorities until you speak with an attorney, even if you believe there is no evidence that you committed a crime. Prosecutors will use any statement you make against you. How do you avoid this? Do not make a statement.
If police believe they have sufficient evidence to charge you, you must appear before a judge for arraignment. Not every charge requires a court appearance. Less-serious charges such as misdemeanors receive a desk appearance ticket (DAT), which states a specific date and time to appear at Queens County Criminal Court. It is mandatory that you appear at the designated time, or the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.
In most cases, you will be held in police custody for at least 24 hours before you see a judge for an arraignment.
When charges are filed, police will take you to or order you to appear at the appropriate courthouse for arraignment. An arraignment is a mandatory formality. Before a judge, the charges are explained to you, and you receive a copy of them. The judge then assesses whether to set bail and how much it should be. Bail is determined by a number of factors, including the severity of the crime and the risk that you will fail to appear for future court dates. If there is little risk, you could be released on your own recognizance (your word that you will appear in court).
State court arraignments in Queens take place at the Queens County Courthouse at 125-01 Queens Boulevard near Hoover Avenue and 82nd Avenue. For public transportation, take the E or F train to the Union Turnpike Station. The Q60, Q37, Q74 and Q46 buses all have stops not far from the courthouse.
Charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI or other federal agency require arraignment by a federal judge. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York is at 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The following subway lines stop in the vicinity of the federal courthouse: the 2 and 3 trains stop at Borough Hall and Clark Street; numbers 4, 5 and the M and R stop at Court Street/Borough hall; and the A, C and F trains stop at Jay Street/Borough Hall.
A great deal happens in your case following the arraignment. The Blanch Law Firm attorneys begin to craft a powerful defense. We do this through an extensive defense motion practice. We ask the court, through motions, to set out rules for the case. We carefully choose the motions we file, targeting the critical aspects of your case. We may ask the court to dismiss some or all of the charges because of insufficient evidence, suppress evidence because police failed to follow the law in obtaining it, or prevent witnesses from testifying.
Perhaps the most important component of our attorneys’ pre-trial motion work is open file discovery. We all like to believe that every prosecutor is fair, that the defendant will view the same evidence as the prosecutor prior to the case. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sometimes prosecutors withhold vital evidence. It is an unfortunate fact. We have discovered withheld documents, witness interviews, video footage and other evidence among the items that didn’t make it into the case file that was released to the defense. The discovery motions filed by our attorneys are aimed at ferreting out every possible bit of evidence so that we can craft a defense strategy that has the best chance for success.
• Rockaway man was sentenced to 54 years to life in prison for the attempted murder of a police sergeant who responded to a call in January 2009 concerning an emotionally disturbed man armed with a knife. When officers arrived, the sergeant knocked on Perreira’s bedroom door. Perreira opened it and stabbed the sergeant in the chest and in the eye. The sergeant lost his eye and suffered permanent neurological damage that requires him to use a walker. Two other officers were assaulted. Following a four-week jury trial, Perreira was convicted of first-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, assault on a police officer and two counts of second-degree assault.
• On April 28, the Queens County District Attorney announced the 25-year sentence of Robert Swann, 53, for the 2012 stabbing death of his Parks Department co-worker Ezra Black, 31. The two men were fighting at a recreation center in Flushing, Queens, when Swann stabbed Black in the chest with a knife. Swann was convicted of first-degree manslaughter following a jury trial.
• The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York on April 28 announced a 20-count indictment against Representative Michael Grimm, who has served the 11th Congressional District since 2011. Grimm is charged with engaging in schemes to fraudulently under-report the wages he paid his Healthalicious fast food restaurant workers – many of whom did not have legal status in the United States – and fraudulently under-report the true amount of money the restaurant earned to both federal and New York State tax and insurance authorities. Grimm, an attorney and former FBI agent, faces five counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal tax returns, one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, one count of impeding the Internal Revenue Service, one count of health care fraud, one count of engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employ unauthorized aliens, two counts of perjury and one count of obstructing an official proceeding.