“I am a translator, seeking to demystify the legal process for my clients to ensure their ability to achieve healing and resolution.”
- What are some of the types of criminal cases your firm handles?
Leavitt Legal handles all kinds of criminal cases, including DWI, domestic violence, larceny offenses, white collar crimes, juvenile crimes, federal crimes, sex offenses, violent crimes, drug crimes, rape, theft crimes, probation violations and many others.
- What are some of the possible penalties I might face if I’m convicted?
Depending on the crime, upon conviction, a defendant may face incarceration, fines, court fees, driver’s license suspension, sex offender registration, mandatory drug or alcohol rehabilitation, court-ordered counseling or anger management classes. The severity of penalties one may face will depend on the specific offense as well as the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any.
- What should I do if I’m arrested?
If you or someone you know is arrested for any type of criminal offense, ranging from aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle to serious felony charges, the most important thing you can do is consult a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. You should NOT talk to the police. Their job is not to help you but to convict you. Choosing to exercise your right to remain silent and retain legal counsel is essential in a successful defense and could be the difference between being released while your case is pending.
- At what point should I involve a criminal defense lawyer?
Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is something you should do as early in the process as possible. In fact, even if charges have not yet been formally filed against you, it is a good idea to at least consult a lawyer. You may be in danger of facing formal criminal charges at any moment and a lawyer may be able to take action that would help you avoid criminal prosecution in the first place.
- What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
All criminal offenses are categorized depending on their severity and what penalties may be imposed. Misdemeanors are lesser offenses than felonies and may be punishable by up to one year in county jail. Felonies may be punishable by imprisonment in state prison. In New York, misdemeanors are handled in local town or village courts while felonies are handled in county or supreme court. Just because you are charged with a felony does not mean that you cannot get your charges reduced. Experienced counsel can be the difference between ending up with a felony record and getting your charges knocked down to a misdemeanor.
- What should I do if an officer or investigator asks to search my home, car or person?
It will never help you to be belligerent, especially to law enforcement. However, you never have to agree to a search and you never should agree to let the police perform a search — of your person, your car or your home. Police officers frequently request permission to conduct a search because they do not have sufficient evidence to constitute probable cause for a search. Consenting to the search can make an otherwise unlawful search perfectly legal. The police may try to pressure you to consent, but you are perfectly within your rights to respectfully say no.
- Can the prosecutor use statements I made against me that were made prior to my receiving a Miranda warning?
Many people think that if the police didn’t read them the Miranda warnings that their case will get thrown out. This is not necessarily so. A failure to read your Miranda rights could result in statements not being used against you, but there may still be other evidence the police can use in your case. Also, as a general rule, the police are not required to provide a Miranda advisory of rights until a person is “in custody” and they will sometimes not formally arrest a person in order to get as many statements as they can. Being “in custody” essentially means that a reasonable person would not feel free to leave and you might be “in custody” even before a formal arrest. If you answer questions prior to being in custody (or spontaneously after an arrest not in response to a question from the police), this information might be used against you in your criminal case. The lesson to keep in mind is that you should not speak to the police regardless of whether you have been read your Miranda advisory of rights.