Frequently Asked Criminal Law Questions
When faced with criminal charges, you probably have questions regarding your rights and the best courses of action. Your fate may hinge on a simple matter of legal knowledge, which is why it’s essential to seek help from an attorney. We at Tinari, O'Connell & Osborn, LLP, want to inform you of situations that have potentially severe effects on your future. The following are commonly asked questions we encounter from clients:
What are my rights when confronted by the police?
Be careful what you say when confronted by the police — everything you say can be used against you. You may refuse to speak if you wish, however. Silence is your right. Respectfully tell the officer you choose not to speak without an attorney present.
You also have the right to representation from an attorney. You should contact one at the earliest possible opportunity. An attorney will help protect your rights going forward.
In some cases, the police may search your property. They must have a search warrant to search private property without the consent of the occupant. A police officer may also search a vehicle without a warrant if they see or suspect contraband and there is not a reasonable enough time to obtain a warrant. An officer may also frisk you without a warrant if the police officer suspects you are in possession of something illegal.
How soon do I need to get an attorney?
Get an attorney as soon as you are able. A good attorney will see that you maintain your rights from the beginning of the process. An attorney can also speak to law enforcement for you and assist you in understanding your charges. If you suspect the police are investigating you for a crime, or if they have questioned you regarding a crime, contact Tinari, O'Connell & Osborn to discuss your rights immediately.
What’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
Felonies and misdemeanors each have varying classes and differences in their resulting punishments. A misdemeanor is considered less serious than a felony — often misdemeanor crimes are punishable by less than one year in jail. A felony punishment, however, can range from one year to life in prison. Some examples of felonies in New York include:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Methamphetamine possession
Examples of misdemeanors include:
Should I plea bargain or go to trial?
A good attorney will prioritize your best interests. Discuss this with them. You are likely to serve less jail time if you accept a plea bargain than if convicted at trial, and the legal fees will not pile up. Most criminal cases settle via plea bargain. That said, the decision of whether to go to trial is completely your own, and you may have good reason to take your case to court.
Reach Out For More Info
We are more than happy to help if you still have questions regarding criminal law. Our office is in Central Islip, and we serve clients across Suffolk County and Nassau County. For a free consultation, call 631-904-0308 or contact us by email.