New York City Criminal Attorneys (mostly the court-appointed ones that don’t really want to handle your case) sometimes like to pretend that the justice system works very differently than it does–specifically how it does on television. Police officers may lie to you in order to get you to confess. This is legal. That is why I tell everyone to never ever speak without an attorney present. I don’t care if it is at the scene of a crime or during the booking process. Anything you say to a police officer is fair game in court. In a court of law the word of police officers counts for a lot more than people realize. It doesn’t matter if the police officer was distracted at the time of the arrest. I doesn’t matter if he is the worst guy in the world. His testimony will always count more than yours. One thing that New York City defense attorneys all know is that police officers may have all the best intentions in the world towards serving justice but they are as human as anyone else. They can and do routinely get the facts wrong. They forget. They misheard you. They attribute something you said to someone else…these things happen.
All too often people go to court without attorneys because they believe that they have a clear-cut case. They think they have their witnesses lined up. They have alibis. They want to save money on what they believe is “open and shut” and represent themselves–after all, Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting did it and came out on top. You are not a mathematical genius and life is not a movie. All it takes is one police officer remembering that you said something differently when they questioned you or that your alibi said it differently to them and there goes your open and shut case.
I realize that a lot of NYC Criminal attorneys don’t always give the rest of us a good name–especially the ones that are court appointed, but we are still your best defense against going to jail. You DO need someone there to prevent you from saying something you shouldn’t. You DO need someone to tell you that a police officer can’t make a deal. You DO need someone to appear with you in court, because life is not the movies.
Your best defense lies in the two Constitutional rights: 1) the right to remain silent and 2) the right to have an attorney present. Even if law enforcement or the DA acts as though they are your friends…even if they tell you that anyone who asks for an attorney is guilty…ask for one anyway. Your best hope lies with a NYC Criminal Attorney.