What to Do If You’re Accused of Violating Parole

By Jeff Greco | September 21, 2018

It would be nice to think the threat of prison is gone once you are released on parole, but that’s not the case. Parole comes with a whole host of terms and conditions. If law enforcement has reason to believe you have violated those terms and conditions they will try to send you back to prison. Thus, if you are accused of violating parole your parole violation hearing will require a defense every bit as vigorous as a first-time criminal case, even if all you did was miss a curfew. Step 1 – Call an experienced criminal attorney. If you try to manage your parole hearing yourself there’s a good chance you’ll be incarcerated again.  It always helps to have someone who can mount an aggressive defense on your behalf. Keep in mind a violation of probation accusation puts a much lower burden of proof on the prosecution than your original criminal case did, so representation is more important than ever. Step 2 – Never waive your rights. You may be asked if you want to waive your right to a preliminary hearing. This is a really bad idea. You will need every opportunity to defend yourself against an accusation of a parole violation. Step 3 – Don’t talk, or sign anything, without an attorney present. Law enforcement may try to get you to sign a document which acknowledges you did whatever it is they accused you of doing. They may also try to get you to incriminate yourself. Don’t say anything or sign anything without a lawyer there to tell you if it’s a good idea. Keep in mind there are ways to keep you out of prison even if you did violate parole. There is a growing awareness that the terms and conditions of parole are very difficult…

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How Best to React to Accusations of Sexual Assault

By Greco Neyland | September 12, 2018

The #MeToo movement has altered society’s reaction to accusations of sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct. Accusations of sexual assault are taken more seriously and addressed more harshly than ever before. Cases against celebrities, such as Harvey Weinstein, and professional condemnation of public persons, such as Matt Lauer and Louis C.K., show the repercussions for sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct are addressed through a multitude of means and repercussions. Your response to allegations or accusations of sexual assault, irrespective of truthfulness, is more important than ever. As a New York City law firm that has defended all manner of sexual assault and misconduct allegations over the years, here are four steps we believe clients should consider in their reaction to allegations of sexual assault. Don’t Wait to Begin Building Your Case Accusations of sexual assault or misconduct aren’t going to dissipate or disappear. The longer you wait to address accusations of sexual assault, the harder it is to develop your case. A mistake many people accused of sexual assault make is finding the allegations frivolous. Even if you are entirely innocent of the accusations, you need to immediately consider your defense. If you fail to take accusations of sexual assault or misconduct seriously, you could quickly find yourself facing criminal charges and societal backlash before having an opportunity to respond. Resist the Reaction to Respond in the Public Forum Of course, a swift response shouldn’t take place in the media or public forum. Guilty or innocent, the more discussion that occurs in news outlets and online, the harder it is to change perception and response to the accusations later. Rather, you want to start by contacting legal representation, such as a New York City defense lawyer, and other professionals that work in criminal defense. If it is necessary…

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Big Data May Play a Big Role in Your Criminal Case

By Jeff Greco | September 10, 2018

There has never been a more complex time to be accused of a crime. For good or for ill, advances in predictive analytics technology are playing a role in how judges set bail, how judges sentence, and whether parole will be granted. Whether this is good news or bad news depends on your specific case, and how the technology is being applied. In the Defendant’s Favor: Bail Algorithms Bail reform is a hot topic here in New York. Overcrowded jail populations and dockets along with skyrocketing bail rates means people can sit in jail for years without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom, despite their constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial. So algorithms which make granting and setting bail a “fairer and more even-handed process” could be incredibly important to restoring a little justice to the system. Using algorithms which measure a defendant’s risk of either skipping town before their trial or committing another violent crime has allowed some cities to drop jail populations by up to 16% without moving the pre-trial crime rate at all. In short, this is an algorithm that’s working well, and in favor of people accused of crimes. Working Against the Defendant: COMPAS, and Similar Programs On the flip side you have algorithms which measure how likely a defendant is to reoffend. This is one of the more popular programs currently in use, and scores are being applied both to a judge’s sentencing decisions and to the decisions being made by parole boards around the nation. Use of the COMPAS score is proving to be far more problematic. Perhaps even unconstitutional. COMPAS measures a defendant’s likelihood of recidivism. In Wisconsin v. Loomis the defendant challenged the constitutionality of the algorithm on the following grounds. That because the way the algorithm works is…

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Can an Undocumented Immigrant Contact a New York Criminal Lawyer?

By Greco Neyland | September 5, 2018

Criminal defense is available to all people in New York, correct? Most people in NYC and the surrounding area know it is an option and their right to contact a New York criminal lawyer after an arrest for DWI, theft, disorderly conduct, assault, or drug charge. However, one category of people in the United States that may hesitate to contact a New York criminal lawyer, even after an arrest and arraignment, are undocumented immigrants. Undocumented status and the rights of undocumented immigrants has become a hot topic in the United States. The discussion around removal, detainment, and deportation has become even more tenuous, as the federal government takes a tougher stance on undocumented status. This tougher stance also means undocumented individuals are less likely to reach out for services and professional assistance they need. Can an undocumented immigration contact a New York criminal lawyer? Yes, and here’s more information on how and when an undocumented individual can obtain assistance with criminal defense. Constitutional Protections Given to Undocumented Immigrants We think of the U.S. Constitution as the rights afforded to every U.S. citizen, but the grant of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are actually applicable to all people, whether citizens, permanent residents, documented visitors, or undocumented immigrants. The Constitution says the government shall not, “deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” One of the basic rights included in this expansive statement is that all people in the U.S. are guaranteed due process of the law. This Constitutional protection, which extends to undocumented or illegal immigrants, means undocumented immigrants are permitted a jury trial in court and an opportunity to defend themselves against criminal charges. During this process, an undocumented immigrant…

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Avoiding Jail: Your NY Defense Lawyer Can Negotiate for Alternatives

By Greco Neyland | August 28, 2018

If you are accused of a crime in NY, the payment of fines and experience of appearing in court pale in comparison to the possibility of serving time in jail. This is where an NY defense lawyer can add substantial value. An NY defense lawyer understands the legal and procedural arguments that win an acquittal of criminal charges. But that isn’t a defense lawyer’s only role. When an acquittal is impossible or unlikely, an NY defense lawyer can negotiate for a decreased jail sentence, lesser charges, or alternatives to incarceration. What options are available to a skilled NY defense lawyer? Several. #1: Fines and Restitution Financial punishments are among the most common alternative to a jail sentence. Not only is there a financial incentive for a judge and prosecutor to accept payment of a criminal fine, but the general public also benefits. Of course, financial punishments don’t have the same substantial impact on many defendants, which is why criminal fines are frequently proposed along with a jail sentence when the crime is serious or substantial. Restitution is slightly different from other criminal fines. While other fines are paid to the state or federal government, restitution is paid directly to the victim’s family. Restitution is most common in theft cases or when there is property damage, as both the victim and value are easily identifiable. #2: Suspended Sentences or Time Stayed While most people have heard of probation, you probably won’t learn about the option for suspended sentence or time stayed through your NY defense lawyer. When you are released on probation, you are expected to adhere to certain policies and meet specified obligations. These are called the terms of probation. Failing to meet the terms of your probation is a violation that can land you in jail. Imposition of a…

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Why the Decriminalization of Marijuana May Not Spare You an Arrest

By Jeff Greco | August 25, 2018

The possibility of fully legalizing marijuana in New York is on the horizon, but it’s not here yet. Here in New York City, the Mayor is taking baby steps by decriminalizing marijuana, making it a ticket-worthy offense in many cases, with some notable exceptions. While the policy in New York may be changing, nobody who smokes or possesses marijuana is out of the woods yet. It is all too possible to find yourself charged with a narcotics crime. Here’s what you need to know. See also: In the News: Changes to NYC Marijuana Policy. Sometimes the cops are looking for loopholes. The phenomenon of cops looking for ways around laws which might keep them from arresting people for marijuana isn’t particularly new. It’s been happening since the 1970s, when it was only a crime to have marijuana in public view. Sometimes cops would pull marijuana out of a person’s pocket, throw it on the ground, and declare it was now in public view. The reasons behind this vary. Some cops genuinely believe marijuana is a problem. Some are trying to boost their arrest rates. Whatever the reason, the police departments don’t always agree with efforts to decriminalize the substance. Until and unless marijuana is legalized you’re taking a risk by carrying it. See also: 4 Dumb Marijuana Mistakes You May be Making. Marijuana enforcement differs from borough to borough. Smoking in Manhattan or Brooklyn? You’re probably not going to be bothered with more than a ticket. Smoking in Staten Island, Queens, or the Bronx? You might still be rounded up for possession and use. It all depends on the attitudes of the DA in that borough. All this assumes you don’t have an open warrant or a criminal record. In all 5 boroughs you can be arrested if you’re caught…

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NYC Criminal Attorney: Why Are Fees Different From Attorney to Attorney?

By Jeff Greco | August 17, 2018

Here in New York City, as elsewhere, legal fees can vary wildly depending on which attorney you hire. It’s important to understand why certain attorneys can cost more, and what it means about choosing an attorney to represent your criminal case. Here are four factors which can determine the price of your legal fees. #1) Overhead Let’s face it, nothing in New York City is cheap. While you might find a lawyer willing to work for $100 an hour in rural South Dakota, it’s impossible for most of us to charge those sorts of rates here. You’re much more likely to pay $200 to $600 an hour. That’s because even the cheapest office space in the city goes for at least $55 per square foot on an annual basis. That means even if your attorney has crammed himself or herself into a modest 1,000 square foot office in an older office building in Chelsea he or she is paying $4,583.33 per month just to have a place to meet with clients and conduct work. The attorney also needs to keep the lights on, the phones running, and the Internet up. If there is anyone in that office other than the attorney these people have to be paid. We also need memberships to databases which help us conduct our business. All of this adds up. Trust us, that amount that seems so high to you? Most of it isn’t going home with us. #2) Experience A lawyer with less than three years of experience will charge the minimum amount. That person is just getting started and is trying to build a reputation and a practice. If you’re dealing with a large law firm that lawyer at least has the ability to duck his or her head into a partner’s office to…

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4 Things You Must Know If Your Child Is Accused of a NY Felony

By Greco Neyland | August 15, 2018

Learning your child is accused of an NY felony is difficult news to hear. Whether the police knock on your front door or you find out through a phone call from your child, you are certain to have some mixed emotions. Disappointment, fear, frustration, and confusion are all common among parents when a minor faces NY felony charges. Yet, in these crucial moments, after a juvenile is charged with a felony, parents can assist their children in various ways. In many instances, a parent’s actions after accusations of a crime are key to a good outcome. To start, here are four of the things you should know if a child is accused of an NY felony. #1: An NY Felony for Juveniles Is Still Very Serious When an adult is charged with an NY felony, we know it is a serious situation. Yet, when it is a minor facing the same charges and criminal punishment, we tend to believe the circumstances are less serious or grave. Don’t fall into this thinking because your child needs you to have an immediate and helpful reaction to these charges. As an NY defense lawyer will tell you, most juveniles are sentenced in juvenile court and charged as minors. These processes are different from the adult system and the guidelines for sentencing a juvenile considers both the severity of the charges and age of the defendant. Yet, juveniles can still go to jail, if convicted, and in very serious situations can serve long sentences. The repercussions of these convictions last a lifetime. #2: You Can Protect Your Child from Self-Incrimination Before an arrest is made, the police can question a minor without his or her parent present. This includes questions about events leading up to a crime, the child’s involvement, and whether the child…

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5 of the Top Crimes in New York City that Need a Criminal Lawyer

By Jeff Greco | August 10, 2018

While it’s always wise to have a private criminal lawyer on your side for any crime you might be charged with, there are five major crime types for which strong representation is absolutely vital. If you’re being charged with any of the following crimes, or if you feel you may be under investigation for any of the following crimes, it’s a good idea to contact us right away. Homicide If you’re being charged with murder, life in prison is a very real possibility. And don’t let television fool you. Being charged with murder in the second degree is incredibly serious. If you’re innocent, your only hope is competent counsel who can insert reasonable doubt into the minds of the jury, or produce a case which makes it clear you could not have committed the crime. Grand Larceny If you’ve been accused of stealing over $1000 in property then you are looking at four to 25 years in prison, depending on the value of the property. Certain types of property can also get you charged with grand larceny regardless of value. We have several defenses which can help you, and a long track record of defending individuals charged with this crime. Drug Crimes Drug crimes run the gamut in terms of seriousness, but even a small drug charge can make it hard to get employment later. Drug charges don’t just carry prison sentences. They can also carry hefty fines. A large drug charge can even land you in federal court. Much depends on what substance you had, how much of it you had, and what the prosecutors believe they can prove you meant to do with it. There are differences between getting caught possessing drugs and getting caught selling them. Domestic Violence A domestic violence charge can ruin your reputation. Many…

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Digging into Assault Charges: What Is a Possible Defense?

By Greco Neyland | August 8, 2018

Assault and aggravated assault are serious offenses in the State of New York. Either of these charges can result in a criminal sentence and imposition of a criminal fine if you are convicted in court or plead guilty. Meaning if you are charged with an assault offense in NYC you better act fast to contact an NYC assault lawyer and build your defense. Wondering how an NYC assault lawyer could possibly help you beat assault charges? You aren’t alone. Many clients approach Greco Neyland with questions on the possibility of a defense and our strategy for winning an acquittal after a bar fight, an incident with a friend or acquaintance, or other altercation. The response in every instance is the same: your defense depends on the facts of your case. How our team chooses to overcome assault charges is unique to your circumstances, but that being said there are several approaches that equal success in New York courtrooms. #1: You Acted in Self-Defense Against the Victim Self-defense is probably the most common defense to assault raised by an NYC assault lawyer in response to assault charges. The ubiquitous use of self-defense is due in part to its effectiveness with juries and judges, but also because self-defense is applicable to a wide and varied number of situations. Assaults are rarely unprovoked or random. In most cases, the defendant and victim had prior interaction or an escalating argument. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to determine who was the initial aggressor when a verbal or emotional fight hits the boiling point. It is this aspect of assault that creates an opportunity to argue an assault was not a crime because it was done in self-defense. Of course, a defendant must provide evidence of acting in self-defense and must have responded…

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