Just because you are arrested and charged with a felony or other crime does not mean that your fate is sealed. The term “innocent until proven guilty” is real, and from a legal perspective, it means just that: the law presumes your innocence unless and until a jury rules you guilty or you plead guilty in court.
Make no mistake—a felony conviction can have catastrophic implications on your life. Felonies are the most serious type of crime and come with the harshest penalties, including periods of incarceration, enormous punitive fees, losses of freedoms such as your right to vote, difficulty finding work, and more. Not to mention the impact a felony conviction may have on the lives of those you love. For these reasons, if you are accused of a felony, it’s imperative that you defend yourself.
Steps to take after being charged with a felony in Yonkers
If you are accused of a felony, there are a number of steps you should take to protect your rights and give yourself the best possible chance at avoiding the serious penalties you could face:
- Do not speak to police or submit to questioning – As you will be alerted upon your arrest, you are not under any obligation to answer questions or say anything else to those who arrest you. If you do, you could unknowingly incriminate yourself. Instead, exercise your right to remain silent until you have a chance to consult your attorney.
- You have the right to legal representation – You are entitled to representation from an attorney if you want it. You may have a criminal defense lawyer you know on hand—if so, your first call should be to him or her. If not, you can look one up, or you can ask for a public defender free of charge (it’s your Constitutional right). Any of these legal professionals can be summoned and support you during questioning or other processes.
- Find out the charges against you – You have the right to know what felony you are being charged with. Whether or not you are informed of this explicitly at the time of your arrest, your attorney should obtain a copy of your arrest warrant and any other crucial documents.
- Be honest with your criminal defense attorney – This should go without saying, but your lawyer cannot defend you effectively without knowing the full truth. Any information you tell your attorney cannot be used against you in court since it is confidential.
- Avoid posting bail immediately – Never post bail without consulting your attorney. As much as you may want to leave custody right away, there may be strategic reasons to delay posting bail—for instance, your lawyer may be able to have your bail set at $0 or have other plans for your defense.
- Attend all court proceedings – Once you do leave custody, it is of the utmost importance that you attend all court proceedings and other meetings or hearings as your lawyer advises. Failure to appear can be grounds for an arrest warrant and could lead to more time in custody.
Contact a trustworthy criminal defense lawyer for help with your felony charge in New York
When you are arrested on suspicion of a felony or other serious crime, you need a defense lawyer you can rely on for support as you fight for your freedom. Remember that an arrest does not equal a conviction, and you may be able to lessen or avoid the penalties you’re facing with help from a qualified professional. To learn more, call (914) 222-8161 or contact Sayegh and Sayegh Law online today.