The Blanch Law Firm has a demonstrated record of success in criminal defense cases in Nassau County. We are widely respected for our integrity and knowledge, and we strive to apply both quite diligently to every case, whether it involves a local worker facing a theft charge or a corporate executive accused in a complex fraud scheme. Each attorney at our firm is committed to tailoring the defense strategy to fit the evidence in the case. Because we count among our lawyers former prosecutors, we have a unique perspective of cases. A strong defense rests on a number of factors, including whether our client is well-informed about the case and the criminal process. Our attorneys ensure that you understand what will take place so you can be prepared and contribute to your defense. Here is a summary of what you can expect in a Nassau County, 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. You likely are to be questioned about the alleged crime. You must never speak to police without first consulting an attorney. Rest assured, any statement you make will be used as evidence against you. You cannot take back what you say, but you can choose to remain silent. At the arrest, you are taken to one of eight precincts in the county, where you are identified, photographed and fingerprinted, and paperwork is prepared. In minor cases, police may set bail or issue a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) that tells you when to report back to court to answer the charges against you. In more serious cases, you have to appear before a judge for arraignment.
An arraignment in Nassau County often takes place the same day you are charged. It is a very quick proceeding, but it is important that you have an attorney representing your interests. The judge at the arraignment notifies you of the charges against you. The judge sets or modifies bail. Bail is a sum of money that you must pay to guarantee you return to court on specified dates. Cases involving more serious charges, defendants who have no community or family ties or who have a criminal record are likely to receive higher bail. An attorney can help present the best case for low or no bail.
Nassau County arraignments take place in the District Court at 99 Main Street in Hempstead, N.Y. DATs are also handled by the District Court. Federal arraignments are held in federal court. Nassau County is covered by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. The courthouse 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 merely an initial appearance. It is not a trial. In fact, very little information is exchanged between the prosecutor and defense attorney, and no guilt is determined.
After arraignment, attorneys at The Blanch Law Firm work earnestly to prepare your trial defense. Our intensive motion practice takes aim at the charges and evidence against you. Our years of experience have taught us the best means for limiting the charges that go to trial and the forensic and witness evidence that the judge or jury will hear. One of our most useful tools is the open file discovery. Unfortunately, prosecutors regularly withhold evidence from defendants — evidence that can make or break a defense strategy. We file discovery motions that unearth all evidence in a case so that we can prepare a complete defense.
- Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on May 1 announced that Home Depot employee Alfred Williams, 57, of Queens Village, was sentenced to five years probation for using his employer’s donation-matching program to steal more than $111,000 meant for charity for his own personal gain. He also must pay $17,500 restitution — the amount he withdrew from a checking account from charity-matching funds deposited for his personal use. Williams pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny. Williams is the pastor and president of a small religious organization named “Faith Without Walls International Ministries.” Between early 2009 and 2012, Williams used the Home Depot Foundation’s 1:1 Gift Matching Program to deposit in excess of $111,000 by falsely reporting to the Foundation that more than 40 fellow employees had given donations to Faith Without Walls. The Foundation, upon receiving false information from FWW that the donations had been received, sent matching donations to FWW, which Williams deposited for his personal use.
- The District Attorney announced on April 25 that Khemchan Sulaiman, 48, of Jamaica was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the 2011 poisoning of a child in a vehicle parked in Lawrence. Sulaiman pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of aggravated criminal contempt, two counts of first-degree criminal contempt, and endangering the welfare of a child. Sulaiman and a toddler were found unconscious and in respiratory distress in a vehicle. The child’s bottle was found to contain ammonium chloride, a toxic chemical commonly found in fire extinguishers. A pesticide known as “Sevin” was also found on a car seat. The child recovered.
- The District Attorney announced April 25 that Teodora Zaharia, 28, of Queens was sentenced to nine months in jail for her role in a conspiracy to use hidden cameras and bank card “skimmers” to steal money from Long Island Railroad commuters’ bank accounts and financial institutions. Zaharia pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny and agreed to forfeit $61,251.85 in cash found at her apartment. Zaharia’s husband and two others were charged in the scam.