Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.
In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 31st July 2023, 04:26 pm
Hey there! Todd Spodek here, founder of the Spodek Law Group. As criminal defense attorneys practicing in NYC for over 20 years, we’ve seen it all. I wanted to have a real conversation about what it’s like working in criminal law in this city, answering some common questions people have about the system, and providing tips for anyone currently facing criminal charges.
Believe it or not, we deal with over 1,200 cases every single year. That’s a lot of experience under our belt! From white collar crimes to drug offenses, we’ve worked on just about every type of criminal case you can imagine. But it’s always an eye-opening experience for people when they’re thrust into the criminal justice system for the first time. It can be downright scary not knowing what to expect or how the process works.
That’s why we’re here to shed some light on the ins and outs of criminal defense in NYC. We’ll chat about:
And we’ll sprinkle in some wild stories from our years in the trenches too! Think of this as your guide to surviving the NYC criminal justice system.
If you’ve been arrested in NYC, the first thing you’ll encounter is the booking process. You’ll have your fingerprints and mugshots taken, and the police will seize any property you have on you as evidence. Then you’ll be placed in a holding cell until your arraignment.
The arraignment usually happens within 24 hours of the arrest. This is where you’re formally charged, informed of your rights, and given the chance to enter a plea. There are three main pleas:
Many factors determine what someone chooses to plead, which is why having an experienced criminal defense attorney there to advise you is so important. Never try to handle your arraignment alone!
If you enter a not guilty plea, your case will head to pretrial proceedings. This involves filing motions, negotiating with the prosecution, and preparing for trial. Less than 5% of criminal cases in NYC actually make it all the way to a jury trial. Why is that?
Well, many cases end up being dismissed or resolved through plea agreements. As your attorneys, we leverage our courtroom experience and negotiation skills to secure the best outcome possible. Sometimes that means getting charges reduced or avoided altogether through an agreement.
But if no agreement is reached and the case goes to trial, that’s when things get serious. Both sides present evidence and arguments before a judge and jury (unless you opt for a bench trial with only a judge). Then the verdict is reached and penalty determined if found guilty.
The whole process usually takes months to play out. Our average case takes about 200 days from arrest to resolution. So having an attorney guide you through the myriad of pretrial procedures is crucial. Next we’ll go over some of the common criminal charges we see in NYC and typical defense strategies.
There are thousands upon thousands of different criminal statutes and offenses in New York. But we consistently see certain charges that make up the bulk of our caseload over the years. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common and our tips for building an effective defense:
With over 30,000 drug arrests every year, we have extensive experience defending NYC drug charges like:
For drug possession, we aim to get evidence thrown out or charges reduced by revealing sloppy police work. Did they have reasonable suspicion for the search resulting in discovery of drugs? Were proper protocols followed? Attacking the validity of the search and seizure of evidence is key.
With drug distribution charges, the stakes are higher. We meticulously examine the circumstances of any alleged sale or transaction. Can they definitively prove intent to sell or distribute based on the amount recovered? Was the defendant caught “red-handed” in the act of dealing? Often times the circumstances are ambiguous and we can craft a strong defense challenging their ability to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
For larger amounts or drug trafficking, mandatory minimums come into play. But precedent rulings have provided some leeway in sentencing if certain conditions are met. We work tirelessly to place defendants within parameters that limit sentencing exposure.
Illegal firearm possession and use charges have also kept us very busy over the years. Some of the specific weapons crimes we often defend include:
The penalties for these felonies can be severe. But so many of the circumstances around NYC stop and frisks resulting in weapon recovery have been unconstitutional. We’ve had tremendous success challenging improper searches and getting illegally obtained evidence thrown out.
When a weapon is found, we investigate every facet of the context. Was it discovered in plain sight or concealed? Did they have a permit for it? What was the intent behind possessing it? Was it registered properly? We find every angle to cast doubt on the prosecution’s arguments.
And with firearm use charges, we leverage our relationships with forensics experts to scrutinize ballistic and firearm analysis the prosecution relies on. Our intimate knowledge of NYPD testing procedures allows us to expose flaws in their analysis when possible.
Assault, battery, domestic violence, robbery – NYC has certainly seen its share of violent crime over the years. We routinely defend clients against charges like:
With assault allegations, we meticulously analyze the intent and circumstances surrounding the incident. Was it self-defense? Was the alleged weapon actually involved? What level of injury or harm was inflicted? Clarifying these details can mean the difference between felony charges and misdemeanors.
For domestic violence disputes, the dynamics between accuser and accused play a major role. We investigate the history of the relationship and credibility of accusers very closely. Many times charges stem from personal conflicts and a rush to judgment by police.
And with robbery/burglary allegations, we determine exactly what (if anything) was actually stolen or damaged? Does the evidence undeniably tie our client to the crime? Or is there room for reasonable doubt? Leaving no stone unturned while scrutinizing the strength and validity of the prosecution’s evidence is key.
Sex crime allegations can permanently ruin someone’s life. So we devote maximum effort to defending clients against charges like:
With rape accusations, DNA evidence plays a major role. We work with the best private labs to reexamine any DNA samples from the prosecution. Results can be revealed that contradict the initial findings and shift momentum in our favor.
For child pornography allegations, we thoroughly examine device ownership and timelines. Can they definitively prove our client downloaded the illegal material? Or is it possible someone else accessed the device? Installing spyware to access devices without permission happens more than people realize. Introducing doubt around access and ownership can demolish the prosecution’s case.
Many sex crime allegations stem from personal conflicts or misunderstandings too. We’ve seen defendants vindicated after proving the accuser had ulterior motives like extortion. So digging into the accuser’s background and credibility is key.
Our white collar cases regularly involve allegations like:
Defending complex financial crime accusations requires niche expertise and resources. These cases typically involve combing through enormous document trails – bank records, ledgers, computer files, communications, etc. Working closely with forensic accounting specialists, we analyze the prosecution’s financial evidence and craft counter narratives.
Uncovering sloppy or assumption-laden work by investigators is also crucial. We look for inconsistencies, procedural errors, or conclusions that outpace actual evidence. And extensive pretrial negotiation is critical for these cases. The goal is often reaching agreements that avoid catastrophic damage and penalties.
Getting arrested can be a terrifying experience, especially if it’s your first time. Here are some steps we recommend if you find yourself in handcuffs in NYC:
Remain Silent – Apart from identifying yourself, do not make any statements to police without a lawyer present. What you say can absolutely be used against you. Wait to discuss the facts with your attorney first.
Request Your Phone Call – Use your one phone call to contact an attorney or loved one immediately. They can begin taking steps to arrange for your release from custody.
Decline Requests for Search – Police may try to get consent to search you, your belongings, or property. Always deny these requests and wait to consent only if your lawyer advises it later.
Ask for Police Report – When released, request a copy of the initial police arrest report and any other documents related to your case. These contain vital details.
Catalog Injuries – If you suffered any injuries during your arrest, make sure to photograph and document them extensively. This preserves crucial evidence if police used excessive force.
Locate Witnesses – Make a list of any potential witnesses to the incident leading to your arrest and their contact information. Their accounts could prove invaluable later to contradict police testimony.
Keep Detailed Notes – Write down as much as you can recall about the circumstances surrounding your arrest while it’s still fresh. Our memories fade quickly. Don’t trust you’ll remember everything clearly when the time comes to fight the charges down the road.
Following these steps ensures you have the best foundation of information and evidence to build your strongest defense case possible. But the most important takeaway is contact a NYC criminal defense lawyer immediately. The sooner we get involved in the process, the better positioned we’ll be to protect your rights and future.
Picking the right lawyer to defend your freedom and future is a big decision. Here are some key factors to keep in mind as you evaluate attorneys:
As former prosecutors ourselves before going into defense work, we’ve been on both sides of NYC courtrooms. We know how prosecutors build cases and where the weaknesses often lie. And after 20+ years focused exclusively on criminal defense, our record speaks for itself. Over 98% of our clients avoid incarceration.
We have the experience, knowledge, resources and passion to provide the tireless defense you deserve. If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t leave your future to chance. The call is free, so contact us 24/7 at 333-574-9294 to discuss your situation and options.
In over twenty years practicing criminal law in New York City, you can bet we’ve got some wild stories to tell! Here are just a few memorable moments from our time in the trenches:
There was the time our client was arrested for marijuana possession. But after months of investigation, we discovered the cop who busted him lied about even being on duty that day! We subpoenaed department records and proved he falsified the bust to get overtime pay. All charges dismissed!
In another drug case, our client was accused of intent to distribute cocaine found in her purse. But we had the “drugs” independently tested only to discover it was powdered milk, not cocaine! Some shady police work led to her bogus arrest and we made sure all charges were dropped immediately.
One of our cleverest wins was for a client facing robbery charges for allegedly stealing a woman’s purse. After taking the woman’s statement, we sniffed out inconsistencies and interviewed security guards from nearby businesses. We eventually obtained surveillance footage that proved our client simply picked up a discarded purse off the ground! Just an innocent bystander, not a criminal.
Sometimes simple forensic analysis changes everything. We defended a shooting case where the angle of the bullet entry wound didn’t match our client’s height or position. This physical impossibility led to acquittal. The science didn’t lie, our client was innocent!
False accusations happen more than people realize. In one disturbing case, our client was accused of improper sexual conduct by a minor female relative. After an extensive investigation, we not only proved that her claims were impossible, but that his accuser had made nearly identical accusations against other family members. Her history of fabrications set him free.
So those are just a few of our war stories from the criminal defense trenches over the years. Each case is unique with its own twists and turns. But what they all have in common is our fierce determination to uncover the truth and reveal the real story. Not the one spun by overzealous or dishonest police and prosecutors.
And now you’ve got the inside scoop on how the NYC criminal justice system really operates! You’re armed with knowledge and tips for navigating this complex process. We hope this “conversation” has helped demystify criminal defense and let you see it’s built on human stories – often far from the black and white scenario presented.
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