Sometimes prosecutors can be all “bark” and no “bite.” In the case of two clients charged with Burglary in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 140.25), this was precisely the situation. Prosecutors claimed that our clients committed the crime of Burglary in the Second Degree after they allegedly went to a neighbor’s home, got into a physical altercation and broke out a window. If convicted, the clients each faced a minimum of 3.5 years and a maximum of 15 years in state prison. Despite the allegations, our clients adamantly denied going into the complainant’s home, attacking the complainant or breaking a window in the home. In fact, one of our clients sustained a much more significant injury than the alleged victim and suffered a deep laceration requiring sutures as well as various other lacerations inconsistent with the breaking of window glass. Further investigation revealed that although they were present at the location of the incident, another person was initially arrested and released.
At arraignment, the New York criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC convinced the judge to release our clients. Upon their release, Saland Law PC argued with prosecutors over the merits of the case as well as the evidence. After some time, prosecutors offered an “A” misdemeanor and probation to each of our clients. They even claimed it was a “one time offer.” Upon rejecting that offer because of the strong evidence in our clients’ favor, prosecutors stated they would proceed on a felony and scheduled a date for a felony hearing.
As expected, on the date of the felony hearing, prosecutors reduced the case against our clients to the “A” misdemeanor previously offered. Then, prosecutors offered a lesser “B” misdemeanor. Upon rejecting the “B” misdemeanor (in this case it was our opinion that offering a misdemeanor where the top count was already a misdemeanor was not a real offer), we explained that we would demand a trial on the case unless a violation (not a crime) was offered. Upon consulting with a supervisor, the prosecutor returned and offered our clients the violation of Harassment in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 240.26). This was rejected as this type of plea does not seal in the same manner as other violations and may be visible to those who might want information about our clients’ past.
Ultimately, after negotiating further, prosecutors offered both of our clients a Disorderly Conduct (New York Penal Law 240.20). After discussing the evidence and probability of a complete acquittal of all charges at trial, our clients accepted the violation as opposed to risking a possible conviction on other charges. In the end, our clients avoided any criminal record, jail and probation.
Sometimes the best way a New York criminal lawyer can defend a client is to try to mitigate conduct by displaying the client’s character and worthiness of an offer. Other times, when the evidence is more favorable, the approach may be exponentially more aggressive and confrontational. This may even include fighting the case through trial. Because no two cases are alike and the result in one case does not guarantee similar results in another, the defense you implement must be thoroughly vetted with your own legal counsel. Fortunately for these two particular clients, the best defense was identified and implemented to avoid a criminal record.
Comprehensive information on New York Burglary laws can be found through the respective links above. Additional information about the types of cases handled by Saland Law PC, as well as some case results, can be found on the respective link as well. Extensive information on various criminal statutes, cases in the news and criminal court decisions is also located on the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog (NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com).
Saland Law PC, a New York law firm focused on representing clients in criminal investigations, arrests and trials, was founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. The New York criminal lawyers at Saland Law PC represent the accused throughout the New York City region.