Earned, unearned, or the result of far too many gritty television dramas, New York law enforcement officers often have reputations as corrupt or willing to bend the law themselves. If your experience with a corrupt member of law enforcement ended with your being arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you need an experienced, aggressive attorney to help you make things right.
How law enforcement can violate your rights
Law enforcement officers aren’t there to protect your rights. If they stop or search you, it is up to you to protect your rights. They’re there to improve conviction rates. From failing to adhere to Miranda rights to coercing false confessions to tainting, moving, or even intentionally planting evidence, there are many ways in which a corrupt law enforcement officer can make people appear guilty when they aren’t. It may seem like an impossible fight, and it might be, on your own.
If you were the victim of racial profiling, had your Miranda rights, such as the right to an attorney, violated, or experienced any other kind of law enforcement misconduct during your arrest or pre-trial incarceration, the right attorney can help you fight for your rights and may even be able to have the charges against you thrown out by the courts. Police misconduct and scandals have been happening in New York for a long time.
How to protect yourself if your rights are violated
First and foremost, you should ask for an attorney as soon as your arrest is finalized and you are in jail awaiting arraignment. Then, you should make a point of taking notes or carefully committing to memory pertinent details outlining how your rights were violated. If someone was present at your arrest, any video or photos they have can be helpful. Writing down notes or calling a trusted individual and having him or her record your testimony about what happened will help you retain details that will fade over time. As soon as you are able to speak with your attorney, be sure to inquire as to how they want you to proceed.
How a skilled attorney can help
From their outstanding reputation and relationships with other members of the Bar Association to their knowledge of case law and experience in fighting for clients who have been mistreated by police, the right attorney can make all the difference to those facing criminal charges. Whether it’s filing a motion to suppress a confession that was coerced or taken out of context, requesting full records of your arrest, or asking the arresting officer the right questions when he or she is on the stand, experienced criminal defense attorneys will do everything they can to use the system’s mistreatment of you to your advantage when it comes to criminal defense.
Court-appointed public defenders are keen to reduce their workload and keep things simple. They aren’t going to have the time or impetus to fight for you the way a paid, independent defense attorney will. They will have to defend a variety of clients on numerous charges every day; they will likely not be an expert in criminal defense or case history relevant to your charges.