Have you been charged with felony assault in New York? If you have, one of the most, if not THE most important decisions you will have to make is obtaining competent legal counsel. Make no mistakes about it; your immediate and long-term future is resting in the hands (or more accurately, the mind) of that attorney. Indeed, the outcome of every case is determined by two components: 1) the facts and circumstances of the case; and 2) the skill and competence of counsel. Skill and competence is not just knowing the law, it also entails actually taking time to listen to gather all relevant information about the case and client.
With that said, let me give you a case study.
Listen and Learn
Two of the most important things an attorney should do in an initial client meeting is: 1) listen to the potential client’s story 2) to learn all of the relevant facts.
A number of years ago a potential client contacted me after having consulted with several other criminal defense attorneys. In this particular instance, the potential client was faced with the prospect of being indicted by a grand jury on some serious felony charges. He contacted me after an acquaintance of his recommended he do so.
The potential client explained that he and some friends, along with a crowd of other unknown people, had witnessed a car accident and a subsequent fight. When the police arrived to disburse the crowd, for some reason they singled him out and began to use undue force against him. He was subsequently arrested and accused of attacking a police officer. He was ultimately charged with a litany of crimes, including:
- One count of assault in the second degree (NY Penal Law 120.05);
- One count of strangulation in the second degree (NY Penal Law 121.12);
- One count of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree (NY Penal Law 195.05);
- One count of resisting arrest (NY Penal Law 205.30); and
- Two counts of disorderly conduct (NY Penal Law 240.20).
In speaking with him, I was able to gather all the relevant facts, including location, witnesses and the extent of his injuries. I was also able to determine that one of his friends had captured the altercation on video with their phone. He explained that he didn’t think the video would be helpful because, he was told by the other attorneys that it didn’t show anything. Specifically, he said the attorneys told him the video was too short and too shaky to be useful.
Although previous attorneys deemed the video of the incident useless, I wanted to see it for myself. Being a former competitive athlete, and someone who still runs to this day, I’ve come to learn that thorough preparation often determines who wins and who loses.
The video was indeed short and shaky. In fact, parts of it made the Blair Witch Project look like a still picture. However, when viewed properly, the video was not only useful, it was in-fact the proverbial “game changer.” When the video was slowed down and viewed frame-by-frame, it actually showed that the potential client didn’t assault anyone. To the contrary, he was the one that was actually assaulted. Armed with this information, I was able to effectively advocate for my client.
You often hear the old cliché: “in New York, a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich”. Well, in this case, when presented with my client’s testimony and the video, the grand jury went “vegan.” They voted no true bill and all charges were dismissed.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney
Navigating the criminal justice system is difficult and has serious consequences. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is one of the single most important decisions you will make in your life. Make sure you hire an attorney that takes time to understand you as a person and your case in its entirety.
At the Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. each case is handled from the initial stage with the thoroughness of going to trial. This enables me to not only understand the strengths of the defense, but more importantly, to effectively convey to the prosecutor the weaknesses of their case.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in New York call the Law Office of Kevin J. Deloatch, Esq. at (646) 792-2156. The results of all criminal prosecutions are determined by the facts and circumstances of your specific case and the skill and experience of your defense attorney. Call today for a free consultation.