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Westchester Felony Lawyer

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 09:05 am

Westchester Felony Lawyer: Fighting for Justice in New York’s Suburbs

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.

Overview of Felony Cases in Westchester County

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:

  • Drug offenses – Possession, sale, or trafficking of illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, prescription medications, marijuana, etc.
  • Violent crimes – Robbery, assault, domestic violence, sex crimes
  • Weapons charges – Criminal possession of a firearm, switchblade, gravity knife, etc.
  • Fraud/theft – Identity theft, embezzlement, insurance/credit card fraud
  • DUI – Aggravated drunk driving charges

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.

The Vital Role of the Felony Defense Lawyer

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.Westchester felony lawyer serves many crucial functions:

  • Investigate the charges – Explore weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Locate witnesses, alibis and other evidence to counter the allegations.
  • Negotiate with the DA – Work toward plea bargains or pre-trial diversions to lessen charges or avoid prison time.
  • File motions – Challenge issues like improper police conduct or constitutional rights violations.
  • Mount a defense – If a trial occurs, thoroughly cross-examine witnesses, present counter-evidence and make arguments to raise reasonable doubt about guilt.
  • Advocate at sentencing – Argue for the lightest penalties allowed by law if a conviction occurs.

Having a lawyer who knows the courts, prosecutors and processes in Westchester is invaluable. Their relationships and insider knowledge can inform strategy.

Finding the Right Westchester Felony Lawyer for You

Those facing felony charges should seek counsel with proven experience in serious criminal defense. Factors to consider include:

  • Years handling felonies – Look for 8-10+ years specifically dealing with major cases in Westchester courts.
  • Courtroom litigation skills – Opt for trial lawyers over those doing just plea deals and paperwork. You want vigorous courtroom advocacy.
  • Resources – Choose attorneys in firms with teams of lawyers, investigators and support staff to build the strongest case.
  • Credentials – Seek out honors like Super Lawyers, 10 Best, etc. and check lawyer ratings on Avvo or Google.
  • Style and communication skills – The right lawyer matches your needs – aggressive or low-key. Ensure they clearly explain the process and involve you in decisions.
  • Fee structure – Felony defense can get expensive. Look for fair rates and payment plans.

Don’t leave justice to chance – consult top-rated Westchester felony attorneys for a free case evaluation as soon as charges are filed.

Overview of the Felony Court Process in Westchester

Once a felony arrest occurs in Westchester County, the path through the criminal justice system typically follows established phases:

Arrest and Charging

  • Suspect arrested, given Miranda rights
  • Booked at police station, fingerprints/photos taken
  • Prosecutor’s office reviews police arrest report
  • Charges filed based on evidence collected


  • Suspect appears in local court before a judge
  • Charges read, bail set or denied
  • Defense lawyer argues for release
  • Suspect enters plea (often “not guilty” at this stage)
  • Judge sets dates for future hearings

Grand Jury Review

  • Prosecutors present evidence to a grand jury
  • Grand jury decides if charges merit indictment
  • If indictment issued, case sent to County Court

Pretrial Proceedings

  • Lawyers exchange evidence through discovery
  • Defense attorney files motions contesting issues like improper search, etc.
  • Plea bargain negotiations may occur
  • Judge rules on motions


  • Jury selection occurs
  • Prosecution presents case and witnesses first
  • Defense cross-examines witnesses, presents counter-evidence
  • Closing arguments, jury deliberates and returns a verdict


  • If guilty, judge reviews pre-sentencing reports from probation department
  • Defense lawyer argues for leniency
  • Judge imposes sentence within statutory guidelines

This entire process can take many months. Having a knowledgeable felony lawyer in Westchester to guide you through the complexities is essential.

Common Felony Offenses in Westchester County

While felonies encompass a wide range of charges, some types of crimes account for many of the felony cases prosecuted in Westchester courts.

Drug Crimes

Various felony drug offenses are among the most common charges, including:

  • Possession – Having illegal drugs, especially in larger quantities.
  • Sale/distribution – Selling or sharing drugs with others.
  • Trafficking – Transporting drugs into Westchester from outside areas.
  • Manufacturing – Making drugs like methamphetamine.

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.

Violent Crimes

Acts of interpersonal violence often lead to felony charges:

  • Assault – Causing injury to others, especially with a weapon. Different degrees based on severity.
  • Robbery – Taking property by force or threat of force. Armed robbery is most serious.
  • Domestic violence – Physical abuse of a household member like a spouse.
  • Sex offenses – Rape, abuse, endangerment of children and vulnerable persons.

Sentence enhancements apply if victims are seriously injured or killed. Gang involvement also elevates charges.

Weapons Offenses

With strict gun laws, illegal firearms trigger felony counts:

  • Criminal possession – Having a loaded handgun without a license.
  • Criminal sale – Transferring handguns illegally.
  • Possession of other weapons – Switchblades, stun guns, brass knuckles etc.

Minimum sentences apply based on the type of weapon, prior records and other factors.

White Collar Crimes

Financial and fraud schemes lead to felony indictments:

  • Embezzlement – Theft of money from an employer.
  • Insurance fraud – Filing false claims with insurers.
  • Identity theft – Using stolen personal data of others.
  • Forgery – Faking documents for financial gain.

Losses over certain dollar amounts mean more serious felony charges. Forensic accounting often proves vital in these cases.

The Benefits of Hiring a Westchester Felony Lawyer

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.

Better Understanding of the Process

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.

A Strong Voice in the System

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.

Investigation and Defense Building

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.

Plea Bargaining Experience

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.

Courtroom Litigation Skills

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.

Alternative Sentencing Options

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.

Key Defense Strategies in Westchester Felony Cases

Skilled Westchester criminal defense attorneys draw from various legal strategies to contest felony charges and achieve the best outcomes for clients:

Search and Seizure Challenges

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.

Invalidating Confessions

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.

Self-Defense Claims

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.

Mental Health Defenses

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.

Plea Bargains

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.

Probation and Diversion

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.

Finding a Westchester Felony Lawyer – Next Steps

Facing serious criminal charges is frightening. But taking some proactive steps can help ensure the best outcome:

  • Remain silent – Don’t try to explain away charges to police. Wait to share your full story with your lawyer first.
  • Hire a lawyer ASAP – Invoke your right to counsel immediately. The earlier in the process, the better.
  • Follow lawyer guidance – Comply with their advice each step of the way. Trust their experience and judgment.
  • Be honest with your lawyer – Don’t hold anything back. They need to know the full truth to mount an effective defense.
  • Avoid social media posts – Prosecutors monitor platforms for incriminating evidence.
  • Ask questions – Make sure you fully understand the process, options, and potential outcomes.
  • Attend all court dates – Show judges you take the charges seriously.

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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