An arrest or indictment may be the most frightening event you face. A great deal is at stake. In Brooklyn, The Blanch Law Firm provides the caliber of defense you require, whether you face state or federal charges of any type or seriousness. Our attorneys believe every defendant should understand the legal process and the facts and potential outcome of the case. To that end, we are available at every stage to inform and guide you. The following is a brief summary of what happens following an arrest: A police officer or federal agent can arrest you if they have a warrant or probable cause to believe you committed a crime. If you are arrested and taken into custody, you likely will be taken to a precinct, or in the case of a federal investigation, to a federal law enforcement facility. Investigators will collect your identification information. You may be questioned. We caution you not to say anything before speaking with an attorney, even if you believe you are innocent. If charges are filed, you must be arraigned before a judge. Some state charges are less serious and are misdemeanors. In these cases, you may issued a desk appearance ticket (DAT) and be ordered to appear in Brooklyn Criminal Court at a specific time. If you are taken into custody, you could be held for up to 24 hours (and often more) before you see the judge.
When charges are filed, you will be taken to or ordered to appear at the appropriate courthouse for arraignment. State court arraignments in Brooklyn take place at Kings County Criminal Court, 120 Schermerhorn Street, near Livingston Street and Smith Street. To arrive by public transportation, take the N, R or M train to the Lawrence Street Station; or the G train to the Hoyt Street and Schermerhorn Street Station; or the A, F or C train to the Jay Street Station; or the 2, 3, 4 or 5 train to the Borough Hall Station. For the bus, take the B67, B41 or B45 line to Livingston Street and Smith Street; or the B63 or B65 bus line to Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street. If you have been arrested by a federal agency, you must appear for 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. An arraignment is a brief, initial court appearance. You will have the charges explained to you and receive a copy of them. A judge determines if bail is necessary, and if so, how much it should be.
Following arraignment, the crux of the defense begins. Attorneys at The Blanch Law Firm have been trying criminal cases for many years. We understand how best to use motions to leverage our client’s position. Possible motions range in the hundreds and might include those seeking dismissal of the case, to exclude testimony or to suppress a prior criminal record. But of chief importance to a defense strategy is open file discovery. One might assume that a prosecutor wants to make sure you receive a fair trial. After all, it is your legal right. But we have seen so many prosecutors leave critical evidence from a case file — evidence that can make a difference in a client’s freedom. Because we know how important it is to have every fact in a case, our attorneys file discovery motions that seek that missing evidence so that we can build the best possible defense.
An Interview with the Blanch Law Firms Founding Partner, Ryan Blanch
What Does it Mean to be a Criminal Lawyer?
To me to be a criminal lawyer is different than any other practice area under the law that I can imagine. Early on in my career, I had the opportunity to work with a variety of seasoned attorneys in different practice areas ranging from corporate formation to securities enforcement defense to bankruptcy litigation and white collar crime.
Far and away the most exciting practice area for me was white collar crime and that experience is what led me to start my own law firm in the field of criminal defense. I came to believe through my prior experience that in order to truly be great at criminal defense one had to devote themselves exclusively to the discipline.
What makes Criminal Defense Different from Other Legal Practices?
In no other profession that I can think of right now are the actions of the lawyer of greater consequence to his or her client than in the field of criminal defense. I’m not trying to diminish other practice areas that are very important.
If a real estate attorney makes a mistake in a real estate closing, then the sale won’t go through or someone could lose their home. I don’t really know what all the consequences are but, presumably, it would be restored with money.
At the end of the day most legal situations come down to money. Whether it’s a corporate transaction, personal injury, or even divorce — I may be going too far when I say divorce because there can be custody issues involving who has the children. So, in some ways, that is equally – if not more – devastating to a client then in the field of criminal defense.
But I digress, the point is that when clients come to us facing criminal charges it is tantamount to a patient coming to a doctor with cancer. Robert has heard me say this before but we deal in legal cancer.
So, when you ask me, “What does it mean to be a criminal lawyer?” I cannot help but wax a little bit melodramatic. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that we literally have people’s lives in the palm of our hands. If we make a mistake, or if we do not come to work and phone it in one day, if we don’t give our all to our clients, they are not just going to lose money.
Our clients face could lose their freedoms, their families, and everything that made life enjoyable. Some people ask us, “How can you represent these people who have committed all these horrible crimes?”
I am surprised at how many times I have to remind even educated people that we are all presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty and we do not know whether or not someone has committed a crime just because they’ve been arrested.
That question itself reminds me of the importance of being a criminal lawyer because we play an important role in the justice system and it is important that apply the presumption of innocence to every criminal defendant that comes before them.
- On April 8, 2014, the Kings County District Attorney announced the release of Jonathan Fleming, who was convicted of the 1989 shooting death of Daryl Rush. The DA’s Conviction Review Unit found Fleming had a valid alibi for the day of the killing. A time-stamped and dated receipt found in his case file, and other evidence, showed he was indeed in Florida at the time of the shooting, as he had claimed. The District Attorney dismissed the charges, and Fleming was released after 25 years in prison.
- Michael Rodriguez was indicted for stealing more than $22,000 during three bank robberies in March, the Kings County DA announced on April 2.
- The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced on Dec. 23 that Howard Leventhal pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud for impersonating the Canadian deputy health minister and stealing her identity. He claimed his online company, Neovision, had contracts with Health Canada. He used the fraudulent contracts to bilk investors out of more than $25 million.