February 26, 2020
How to beat the odds: The consequences of being the accused in a criminal case and how to overcome the obstacles they present.
The People of the State of New York against "You"
The majority of criminal cases are not black and white. It is rare to see a case where the evidence is so overwhelming that any jury would convict. Plus, someone accused of a crime is presumed innocent. If you are being prosecuted for the first time, have no criminal record, are being falsely accused, or the allegations against you are part of an incomplete story, then this article is for you. The criminal justice system is designed to prevent an innocent person from being convicted. All the rights given to the accused are the means to this end; even though guilty people are sometimes acquitted as a consequence. The Government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for a reason. Therefore, the People of the State of New York against "You" should mean nothing more than an accusation. But that's not the reality.
The reality in Long Island and New York City
The collateral consequences
The reality though is that an allegation is enough to radically change your life. You will become unemployable. Employer's don't hire people who have a pending criminal case. Colleges will close the door in your face. If you were going to apply to college, forget it. In most situations, they won't accept you. Many colleges also require students to report being arrested. That generally means that they'll throw you out. They'll call it something like "temporary leave." But that's just a nicer way of saying they are kicking you out. You might get an "honorable mention" in the media. If so, that privacy you enjoyed goes out the window. Your name and the accusation against you will be burnt into the pages of the Internet forever. Even if your case gets dismissed, the Internet doesn't forget. These are a few of the consequences you might experience before you even step foot in a courtroom.
Certain allegations are worse than others. For example, someone accused of possessing marijuana will have a different experience than someone accused of a crime involving domestic violence. Why is that? An allegation is just that, nothing more. What about the presumption of innocence? There are many reasons why, but that's a topic for a different day. The presumption of innocence has been whittled away. You go from the accused to the defendant. Sure, your name will be above the word defendant on paper. But in court you will always be referred to as the defendant. The government will strip away your individuality. They will throw you into the massive group of other people who are also defendants. Your name becomes irrelevant. You are now another defendant. Another face in the crowd.
The waiting game
You’ll do a lot of waiting. You’ll wait in a long line to get into court; slowly moving towards the entrance of the courthouse with the other people labeled as defendants. You’ll wait in an overcrowded courtroom. There are consequences if you don’t show up on time. But judges are immune. Some judges take the bench at 10 am or even later. Those same judges wouldn’t hesitate to issue a warrant for your arrest if you were late. You'll wait for your case to be called. And sometimes when it is called, you’ll still have to wait because the prosecutor might not have your file. When you’re just another defendant, another name on a file, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
But the worst part is waiting for your case to be resolved. Waiting for someone to hear what you have to say. Waiting to be looked at without skepticism. Waiting to break free from the massive crowd of people the government is prosecuting. Yeah, there will be a lot of waiting. So, what are you going to do while you wait? Here’s some suggestions.
What you can do about it
- Live your life to the fullest
- Discover a hobby
- Educate yourself
- Fight Back with the Law Office of Chad J. LaVeglia
Don’t wait for life to happen. Continue living your life the best you can. It’s important to keep moving forward. Don’t wait for your case to be over to do that thing you were planning on doing. While you likely won't be able to get a job or be accepted into college, take what you already have and figure out how to make it better. Take the opportunity to challenge yourself.
If you’ve ever wanted to try something new, give it a shot. Maybe you’ve always wanted to play a sport, sing, dance, act, collect stamps, become a YouTube sensation, etc., the possibilities are endless. A hobby will keep you busy and help keep you from losing your momentum.
Try learning something new. Online colleges don’t have doors to close on you and libraries keep their doors open. Enroll in online classes. Learn something you enjoy. Whatever you learn will help you in the future. Knowledge is never a bad thing. You could learn how to be a car mechanic or quantum mechanics. The options are limitless. It’s also a good idea to get a basic grasp of the criminal justice system and the process you are going through. Even though your attorney should have explained it to you, educating yourself will fill in the gaps and reinforce what you know, and teach you some things you might not know. The New York State Unified Court System provides helpful information about the court process and system. References can be found by clicking --> Basics of a criminal court case. Don’t overdo it though. Just learn enough to know what’s happening.
The system has so many obstacles built into it that hiring a good defense attorney is paramount. We are persuasive, knowledgeable, and resilient. We have the ability to persuade the judge and prosecutor (assuming they are reasonable), and if necessary, a jury, to see the why. That is, why you should get a specific outcome under the circumstances of your case.
We understand the significance of having a criminal case hanging over your head which is one reason why we seek to resolve your case quickly and efficiently.
We have even more to offer. Call us to schedule a free meeting. You will never be just another face in the crowd to us.
This article is not legal advice. It is an attorney advertisement. It is intended for educational purposes only and is based on the author's experience and interactions representing thousands of criminal defendants and opinion. This is not a legal analysis. You must speak with an attorney for legal counsel. Nothing in this post creates an attorney client relationship. You rely on this information at your own risk and hold the Law Office of Chad J LaVeglia PLLC harmless for any consequences that my arise by your reliance on this information. In other words, if you rely on this information, you're fully responsible for the consequences.