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Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 09:05 am
Westchester County, located just north of New York City, is home to nearly 1 million residents across its 45 municipalities. While overall crime rates in Westchester remain relatively low compared to urban areas, the county still sees thousands of felony cases each year. Defendants facing felony charges require experienced legal counsel to guide them through the complex criminal justice system and protect their rights. This article provides an overview of felony defense in Westchester County, common charges, the role of the defense lawyer, and finding the right attorney for your case.
In New York State, a felony is defined as a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than one year. Felonies are the most serious category of criminal offenses. Some common felony charges in Westchester include:
Felony cases begin in local criminal courts but quickly move to the Westchester County Court if an indictment is handed down. The District Attorney’s office handles all felony prosecutions. Penalties for a felony conviction are severe and may include years in state prison. With so much at stake, having an experienced Westchester felony lawyer on your side can mean the difference between a fair outcome or a devastating conviction.
As in all criminal cases, the prosecutor represents the state while the defense lawyer advocates for the accused. But felonies bring added complexity. Pre-trial procedures like grand jury hearings and motions to suppress evidence require skillful legal work. Few defendants can effectively navigate a felony case alone.A Westchester felony lawyer serves many crucial functions:
Having a lawyer who knows the courts, prosecutors and processes in Westchester is invaluable. Their relationships and insider knowledge can inform strategy.
Those facing felony charges should seek counsel with proven experience in serious criminal defense. Factors to consider include:
Don’t leave justice to chance – consult top-rated Westchester felony attorneys for a free case evaluation as soon as charges are filed.
Once a felony arrest occurs in Westchester County, the path through the criminal justice system typically follows established phases:
This entire process can take many months. Having a knowledgeable felony lawyer in Westchester to guide you through the complexities is essential.
While felonies encompass a wide range of charges, some types of crimes account for many of the felony cases prosecuted in Westchester courts.
Various felony drug offenses are among the most common charges, including:
Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, MDMA, prescription medications and other controlled substances are covered by New York’s drug laws. The type and weight of the drug and the defendant’s criminal history impact the felony level.
Acts of interpersonal violence often lead to felony charges:
Sentence enhancements apply if victims are seriously injured or killed. Gang involvement also elevates charges.
With strict gun laws, illegal firearms trigger felony counts:
Minimum sentences apply based on the type of weapon, prior records and other factors.
Financial and fraud schemes lead to felony indictments:
Losses over certain dollar amounts mean more serious felony charges. Forensic accounting often proves vital in these cases.
Individuals facing felony charges in Westchester County can easily feel overwhelmed. The justice system seems stacked against defendants. Prosecutors have vast resources at their disposal. So turning to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the local courts and district attorneys provides important advantages.
Felony cases follow complex legal processes that baffle most laypeople. An attorney explains each phase, manages deadlines, and prepares clients for what to expect. This reduces stress and anxiety.
Prosecutors hold much of the power in criminal cases. A defense lawyer serves as an advocate to balance these scales of justice. They forcefully represent the defendant’s rights and interests at every stage.
Few defendants can effectively investigate their own cases. Lawyers utilize investigators, forensic experts and other resources to dig into the prosecution’s claims and develop counter-evidence. This lays the groundwork for strong defense strategies.
Over 90% of criminal cases end in plea deals rather than trials. Defense lawyers negotiate from experience to make the best agreements possible. This can dramatically reduce penalties.
Should a case go to trial, defense lawyers have the skills to cross-examine witnesses, present convincing counter-evidence and deliver compelling arguments to juries. Most defendants cannot match this.
If a conviction occurs, lawyers know how to present mitigating circumstances to judges and probation officers. This may open alternative sentencing options like deferred sentences, probation, rehab instead of prison, etc.
Skilled Westchester criminal defense attorneys draw from various legal strategies to contest felony charges and achieve the best outcomes for clients:
If police lack proper warrants or “probable cause”, defense lawyers can file motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence under 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. If granted, this can weaken the prosecution’s case.
Many felony charges rely on alleged confessions or incriminating statements made to police. Attorneys fight to have these thrown out if clients were denied rights, coerced, or improperly interrogated.
In assault, murder or other violent crime charges, lawyers may argue the actions were legally justified self-defense, not criminal offenses. Eyewitnesses and forensic evidence can bolster such claims.
There are cases where mental illness contributed to criminal acts. Successful insanity or diminished mental capacity claims can lead to psychiatric treatment instead of jail time.
It may be in a client’s best interest to trade a guilty plea for reduced charges instead of risking trial. Experienced lawyers craft favorable bargains with prosecutors.
First-time offenders often qualify for pre-trial diversion programs or probation at sentencing. Lawyers argue for these alternatives to alleviate punitive measures.The right legal strategies depend on the unique circumstances of each case. Trust an expert Westchester felony attorney to make the right calls.
Facing serious criminal charges is frightening. But taking some proactive steps can help ensure the best outcome:
The stakes are high in felony cases. With an experienced Westchester criminal defense lawyer guiding you, justice has a better chance of being served. Don’t leave your fate to chance – contact top-rated attorneys for a free consultation today.
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