The grand jury is a group of people called together by a jury summons to investigate a felony crime. That group of people are called Grand Jurors. The grand jurors are placed in a room and asked by a prosecutor to listen to testimony and consider various types of evidence, i.e. documents, videos, audio recordings. Unlike at a jury trial, there is no judge present during a grand jury proceeding and only the prosecutor presents the evidence to the grand jurors. The standard of proof during a grand jury proceeding is “more likely than not,” unlike the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used during a trial. The only purpose of the grand jury is to decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed with felony charges against someone. If the Grand Jury decides that there is enough evidence to proceed with felony charges against someone, this is called an "indictment." The person has been “indicted”. When a grand jury votes to indict someone, it means that one has only been charged with a felony crime. The person has not been found guilty of any crime.
Every criminal defendant may or may not testify in a Grand Jury proceeding. A criminal defendant and his/her lawyer will review the facts of the case and make that decision when the time comes.
Every criminal defendant needs a criminal defense attorney. Innocent people can end up in jail. Therefore, a good and experienced criminal defense attorney is needed to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Your attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that justice prevails.
NO. You are not required to give any statements to police officers or prosecutors following your arrest. You have the right to remain silent and you should do just that. No matter what law enforcement officers say to you in order to get you to speak to them, remember to exercise your right to remain silent and remain silent. The reason you should remain silent is because anything that you say to any law enforcement officers can and WILL be used against you by the prosecution during your criminal trial. Immediately after you have been arrested, if you choose not to make any statements to the police, you must inform the police that you do not wish to speak with them without a lawyer present.
Immediately. As soon as you have been detained and arrested by a law enforcement officer, you should waste no time in contacting a legal professional. The sooner you hire an attorney, the less likely you will incriminate yourself and the sooner your rights will be protected.
New York - If a law enforcement officer suspects that you have been driving while intoxicated, the officer has the right to choose which breathalyzer test they would like to give you once they have made an initial traffic stop. The officer must give you a breathalyzer test within 2 hours of you operating a motor vehicle. If they discover that your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is at .08% or greater, the officer would subsequently have reason to arrest you for a DWI offense. You can also be arrested for what is called “Common Law DWI” if your BAC is below .08%.
Although you can refuse to comply with standard field sobriety testing without consequences, such as the One-Leg Stand, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your license will immediately be suspended. By enlisting the help of a New York criminal defense attorney after failing a chemical breathalyzer test, or after refusing to take a chemical breathalyzer test, we can take steps to challenge the validity of your results, your stop by law enforcement, and your refusal to take the breathalyzer test.
New Jersey - If you get arrested for a DUI, you have to take a Breathalyzer test. When you get your license in New Jersey, you automatically give your consent to take the Breathalyzer test in the event that you are stopped by the police. This consent is known as "implied consent." If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test and you refuse, you will be detained and brought to a hospital and the hospital staff may draw your blood.
There are a few ways in which a person is said to have refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test. When asked, you must expressly say “yes” or expressly agree to submit to the test. If you respond with “maybe”, “I guess”, “I have no choice”, “whatever”, or just silence, all those things will be considered refusals. Once it has been determined that you have refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test, the officer will charge you with Refusing to Submit. Even if you refuse, you can and most likely will still be charged with the DUI. So, you run the risk of being charged with both the DUI and the Refusal and will be facing two separate charges.
If you are convicted of a Refusal, your driver’s license will be revoked for at least seven months, you will pay between $300 and $2,000 in fines and fees and you will be required to participate in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program for a minimum of 12 hours. The penalties for Refusal are separate and can be in addition to any penalties that you might get for a DUI conviction.
Crimes in New York are classified as petty offenses, violations, misdemeanors, and felonies according to the severity of punishment associated with the particular crime.
A felony is any serious crime punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year. Felonies include arson, murder, rape, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and many drug related offenses. In addition to imprisonment, a convicted felon may lose their voting rights, be excluded from certain types of work, be prohibited from holding certain licenses, and can lose certain types of housing benefits.
A misdemeanor is an offense that is considered less serious than a felony and is punishable by imprisonment of one year or less. Misdemeanor offenses include petty theft, prostitution, criminal mischief and some drug offenses. Punishment frequently involves probation or community service, and a convicted defendant can lose some of his or her privileges. Petty offenses include traffic violations and infractions of minor ordinances.
Indictable Offenses – these are offenses carry a sentence of at least one year. This is the equivalent of a Felony in New York. Indictable offenses are broken down into different degrees:
i. First degree crimes can include murder, manslaughter, and rape.
ii. Second degree crimes include sex crimes, aggravated arson, burglary, kidnapping, white collar crimes, and drug crimes.
iv. Fourth degree crimes include stalking, some robbery offenses, some DUI offenses, and forgery.
This is not an exhaustive list.
Disorderly person offenses/petty disorderly person offenses – these offenses are the equivalent of misdemeanors in New York. If convicted of a disorderly persons offense, these crimes generally carry a maximum of 6 months in prison and up to $1000 fine. If convicted of a petty disorderly person’s offense, these crimes generally carry a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.
If a person who is not a citizen of the United States is convicted of certain crimes, he or she can be deported. This includes lawful permanent residents living and working in the United States. Pursuant to U.S. immigration law, if a noncitizen is convicted of an aggravated felony, a crime of moral turpitude or any one of a number of other listed crimes (such as violations of laws relating to domestic violence, controlled substances and firearms), he or she is at risk of removal or deportation. In addition to deportation, a conviction may adversely affect a lawful permanent resident's ability to become a United States citizen. If you are not a United States Citizen, enlisting the help of an experienced New York criminal defense attorney is important. An experienced attorney can take steps to ensure that you are not removed from the United States, or otherwise lose your lawful status in this country
Probation is a type of criminal sentence that allows a person to stay in the community rather than serve time in prison. You are required to comply with certain conditions, such as drug testing, regularly reporting to a probation officer, and to have no further contact with the criminal justice system.
Parole, also known as Supervised Release, is when a prisoner is released into the community prior to the end of their sentence. Conditions of parole are similar to those of probation.
New York – once you are convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony crime, you will have a permanent criminal record of that conviction in the State of New York. A person with a permanent criminal record in the state of New York cannot expunge that record.
New Jersey – once you are convicted of an indictable offense, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense, you will have a permanent criminal record of that conviction in the state of New Jersey. New Jersey has several rules that allows you to expunge certain crimes even after getting a permanent criminal record. It is important to contact experienced criminal defense attorneys to help you identify and expunge any and all criminal charges that can be expunged.