How do I know if I need a criminal defense attorney?2019-11-06T19:01:07-05:00

If you are accused of a crime, contacted by law enforcement or some other investigatory agency, or believe you may have committed a crime you should contact a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can intervene with the police and either prevent an arrest or, if you are going to be arrested, arrange for your surrender at a time and in a manner that minimizes embarrassment to you or your family. Hiring a lawyer may also protect you from being questioned by the police.

What should I do if I get arrested?2019-11-13T11:00:04-05:00

If you are arrested the first thing you should do is inform the arresting officer(s) that you choose to invoke your right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions. You should at that point tell the officer(s) that you wish to contact an attorney.

That old saying – “anything you say can be used against you” – is true. Quite often people think that they can give law enforcement a reasonable explanation to prevent being arrested. That typically does not work. More often than not that will get you deeper into trouble. Quite often the person being arrested doesn’t know what information law enforcement is looking to obtain from them and more importantly, what information they already have. Thus, a seemingly reasonable explanation of innocence quite often helps law enforcement build a stronger case against them.

The only way to ensure that you do not fall into that pitfall is to invoke your right to remain silent. After all, it is your right.

Why should I pay for an attorney when I could get legal aid for free?2021-02-25T13:39:00-05:00

Every accused person has a constitutional right to competent legal counsel in a criminal proceeding. However, not everyone has the financial ability to hire an attorney. As a result, free legal representation is provided by either the state or the federal government (depending on the forum) to those individuals who are considered indigent (i.e. poor/needy). However, if it is determined that you are not indigent, you will not qualify for legal aid.

Additionally, more often than not you are better off hiring an attorney of your own choosing as opposed to accepting an attorney that was assigned to you. This way you can determine if that attorney is appropriate for you and determine if that attorney is going to be able to give your case the attention that is needed. After all, it is your life and future that you are entrusting your legal representative with.

What is an arraignment?2019-11-13T11:01:25-05:00

An arraignment is your initial appearance in court in which you, as the defendant are formally informed of the criminal charges against you. At the arraignment, your attorney will receive the complaint stating the charges that have been filed against you. If you’re in custody, your attorney will have the opportunity to argue the terms of your release (i.e. bail or your own recognizance).

What is bail?2019-11-06T19:01:07-05:00

Bail is money or other property that is deposited with the court to ensure that the person accused will return to court when he or she is required to do so. After the defendant has returned to court as required, the bail will be returned at the end of the case. The bail is returned even if the defendant is ultimately convicted. However, if the defendant does not return to court when required or violates their bail conditions, the bail will be forfeited to the court and will not be returned.

What’s the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?2019-11-13T11:02:11-05:00

Crimes are generally divided into two categories depending on their level of seriousness – felonies and misdemeanors. Although, both are crimes and have very serious consequences for the accused, generally speaking, felonies are more serious than misdemeanors and carry much greater consequences in terms of incarceration and fines.

Under New York penal law, misdemeanors are divided into two categories – “A” misdemeanors (a maximum of one year of incarceration) and “B” misdemeanors (a maximum of six months of incarceration).

Felonies under New York penal law range from “A” felonies (the most serious) all the way down to “E” felonies (the least serious). The most serious of felonies (“A’) carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, while the least serious of felonies (“E”) carry a maximum sentence of four years incarceration.

Under federal criminal law, crimes are generally divided into two classes, felonies and misdemeanors. These are further subdivided into subcategories with differing periods of incarceration. Felonies range from “A” (the most serious with a maximum penalty of death and a maximum period of incarceration of life) to “E” (the least serious with a maximum incarceration period of one year).

Misdemeanors range from “A” (the most serious with a maximum incarceration period of one year) to “C” (the least serious with a maximum incarceration period of 30 days).

How do I know if I was the victim of securities fraud?2019-11-13T11:03:10-05:00

Securities fraud comes in many forms. If you are an investor, you should review the documents you receive from your brokerage firm and broker. These documents include the new account documents that were completed by either you or your broker. The new account documents are supposed to accurately reflect your investment objectives, risk tolerance, net-worth and income. This information serves as the basis for every recommendation the broker makes to you.

Additionally, you as an investor should review your trade confirmations and account statements. These documents should reflect the transactions that were authorized by you as the investor. Moreover, these documents reflect the amount of activity versus commission earned by the broker. The activity should make economic sense to you as the investor. For example, numerous opening and closing transactions initiated by the broker or brokerage firm in which the commissions generated are consistently greater than the profit to you as the investor does not make good economic sense to the investor.

Any departure from what the client actually provided to the broker and/or brokerage firm could be a basis for securities fraud. Indeed, a comparison of the activity in the account to information on the new account form can reveal such broker wrongdoing as:

  • Unsuitable securities recommendations
  • Unsuitable recommendation of the use of margin
  • Churning
  • Unauthorized trading
What is FINRA?2019-11-06T19:01:07-05:00

FINRA is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. It is a private company that acts as a self-regulatory organization. FINRA is the successor to the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. and the member regulation, enforcement, and arbitration operations of the New York Stock Exchange. It is a non-governmental organization that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets.

FINRA operates the largest securities dispute resolution forum in the United States, and has extensive experience in providing a fair, efficient and effective venue to handle a securities-related dispute. The resolution of problems and disputes is accomplished through two non-judicial proceedings: arbitration and mediation.

FINRA provides a forum for the resolution of disputes that arise in the securities industry. The vast majority of brokerage firms require clients to agree to arbitrate any disputes they may have with their broker and brokerage firm regarding their account through FINRA’s arbitration process, FINRA Dispute Resolution.

What is arbitration?2019-11-06T19:01:07-05:00

Arbitration is similar to going to court, but is usually faster, cheaper and less complex than litigation. It is a formal alternative to litigation in which two or more parties select a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, to resolve a dispute. The arbitrator’s decision, called an award, is final and binding. By arbitrating a claim you cannot have the same matter decided by a court of law. In resolving disputes through arbitration, a FINRA arbitrator or panel (consisting of three arbitrators) will listen to the arguments set forth by the parties, study the testimonial and/or documentary evidence, and then render a decision. When an arbitration case goes to a hearing, it can take up to 16 months for an award to be determined.

The arbitration hearing is similar to that of a trial. The Parties have opening statements, present and cross exam witnesses, introduce documents into evidence and have closing arguments. The arbitration panel renders an award after deliberations.

What is mediation?2019-11-06T19:01:07-05:00

Mediation offers a flexible alternative to arbitration. It is an informal process in which a trained, impartial mediator facilitates negotiations between disputing parties, helping them find a mutually acceptable solution. Both parties in a dispute must agree to mediation. However, FINRA does not require parties to mediate.

Mediation can be initiated at any time before arbitration commences and even during an arbitration case before it concludes.


Go to Top