Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ithaca Cortland New York Criminal Defense: It's Equity, Equity, Equity!

You know how they say in real estate, "location, location, location?" Well in my mind sometimes I like to think "Equity, Equity, Equity" when it comes to criminal defense practice. I have cases where it just makes sense to bring up an equity argument and/or create an equity package. "Package" can include drug/alcohol evals & issues, financial issues, job issues, family issues, licenses, etc. Having and/or creating a tailored equity package is often crucial to your success.

So let's begin by discussing what equity is and what equity isn't. Equity is not well, "it's just not fair." Generally speaking the government (the prosecutor), the alleged charges, and the Court does not have to be fair (based upon your definition).

Equity is when a criminal or even non-criminal charge (because of it's nature) can affect certain people very differently because they come from different backgrounds, have professional licenses, and/or positions of employment/jobs where "the sentence" and/or plea to "that charge" would affect them dramatically different. NOTE: Some prosecutors have remarked to me, "equity smequity everyone is special," while others will openly entertain an equity argument.

Prime examples:

Violation Level Offense:

In a marijuana violation: The affect of a plea of guilty to this (non-criminal) charge could be the inability for SOME PEOPLE to be eligible for federal student loans and financial aid. This would not affect those not in college, not planning on attending college, and/or not receiving any federal aid.

Case example: Kid found with 4 oz. of pot btw thats alot of pot). I argue to the judge, and the prosecutor, with appropriate motions, and other proof that he is attending college, and receiving federal aid. Judge allows ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal) motion, charges to be dismissed as long as he completes a substance abuse program, and one year with no new arrests.

Misdemeanor Level Offense:

In a DWI case: Someone with a professional license with a DWI conviction would be now facing an administrative professional license hearing, and the consequences resulting from that hearing because ANY criminal conviction in New York State would be considered an instance of professional misconduct.

Case example: Nurse found DWI. Equity package presented to the prosecutor. Judge allowed plea to reduced charge of DWAI (a traffic violation), no resulting "professional" license ramifications.

Case example: Military Sgt. facing a DWI offered a DWAI in full satisfaction based upon circumstances of deployment, drug/alcohol counseling, and prior service record.

Felony Level Offense:

In a DWI felony case: Felony convictions can sometimes cause termination of job, and destroy all future hopes of employment.

Case example: High ranking College professor with DWI felony. Equity package presented with other job information history offered a DWI misdemeanor in full satisfaction. The prosecutor offers, and Judge allows case to stay at the misdemeanor (local village) level.

Of course, these examples should be balanced by the others where the prosecutors and/or judges did not offer and/or allow reduced pleas to reduced charges. Every criminal case, situation, person, and circumstance is different. No one can promise and guarantee any result or outcome. No attorney can promise or guarantee a result.

I only promise one thing, that I will do my best to help those I represent and nothing more.