Our office litigates both Criminal and Civil legal actions. Civil Practice, as a general matter, refers to all areas of legal practice that are NOT "Criminal Law" related or "Administrative Law" related. Administrative Law can be thought of as being handled in the Executive Branch (Administrative Branch where government "agencies" operate), whereas Civil and Criminal law are handled in the Judicial Branch of government (Three Branches of Government = Executive, Legislative and Judicial).
Typically, Criminal Law clients have never been swept-up in the legal justice system before and it can be a very intimidating, frightening and confusing experience. The stakes are high. A criminal conviction can cripple a client for life - jeopardizing future plans, seriously impairing future job prospects, damaging family and business relationships, jeopardizing immigration status, rendering client ineligible for some government and private-sector benefits, and stigmatizing the client in the community. A criminal conviction can even make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find suitable rental housing. Therefore, avoiding such a conviction is of paramount importance for every client.
Bruce is exceptionally adept at attaining favorable client results without the need for a trial, by virtue of his rigorous motion practice, coupled with his settlement negotiation experience. Weak, problematic and meritless prosecution cases, and prosecution cases which have serious legal or procedural 'flaws' are frequently dismissed via motions, while strong, well-supported client-defendant cases become obvious AFTER motion practice and those cases are frequently resolved in the client's favor.
Dismissals & Plea Offers
: Bruce has an uncanny ability to spot crucial weaknesses and legal \ factual flaws in a prosecutor's case. Once these flaws and weaknesses are exposed, dismissals and Plea offers are typically proposed by the prosecutor. Some flaws and weaknesses are fatal to a prosecutor's case, while other flaws and weaknesses are highly problematic, but not necessarily fatal to their case. Some flaws and weaknesses make it much more difficult, but not impossible, for the prosecutor to prove their case and due to heavy caseloads, they are very reluctant to gamble on such cases with a trial. Motions are often the 'instrument' that exposes these weaknesses. Bruce has an astute discerning eye for identifying these flaws and weaknesses, which enables him to properly advise clients as to the advisability of accepting a Plea offer, based on the strength of their case. Only "Clients" can ultimately make the decision as to any particular Plea offer.
Therefore, the criminal law client invariably has two crucial objectives: 1) To secure a defense lawyer who is highly competent, experienced, skilled, insightful and tenacious. 2) To secure a defense lawyer they can afford. Both of these conditions must be met for the criminal law client to be able to feel confident in the selection of an attorney. Our office has gone to great lengths to keep operating costs and overhead expenses down, without impairing the quality of services we provide. That enables us to offer low-ball competitive fees that make the hiring of a skilled attorney 'feasible' for the average client. Typically, a client is not interested in helping lawyers finance posh offices, with swank expensive furniture settings in high-class rental properties. Clients need to devote their cash-strapped resources to the primary issue of securing an effective skilled attorney whom they can afford. Our office is a 'no-frills' lean, mean fighting machine where the bulk of the clients' money is going towards what matters most -- a skilled, effective, experienced attorney and the costs of the litigation itself.
Criminal Law Practice is a significant practice area for our office. Bruce has extensive trial practice experience in Criminal Law, including appellate practice experience. Below is a listing of the types of Criminal Law issues our office handles. In general, our office handles the full gamut of New York Statutory Criminal Law issues. The list below is just a sampling of the cases we handle. This is NOT an exhaustive list.
DWI - DUI: Driving While Intoxicated -- Driving Under the Influence (of Alcohol or Drugs): 80-90 percent of our DWI--DUI clients have never been dragged into the Criminal Justice System before. Invariably they are scared and confused about what is happening, about what CAN happen to them and about what processes they will have to go through to resolve their case. Clients' primary initial concern is in preserving their driving privilege DURING and AFTER the litigation (prosecution) of their case. This primary concern is virtually always related to the profound fear that they will lose their jobs and their ability to provide for their family's needs if they lose their driving privilege at any juncture of the criminal process. For precisely this reason, a person who has been arrested for DUI--DWI would be well-advised to get an attorney as soon as they possibly can after that arrest. And for this same reason, our office prioritizes this legal issue at the very beginning of the client's case, by taking swift action to preserve and protect that driving privilege to the maximum extent possible under the circumstances. Persons who have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) are even more at risk, because the new New York DWI Laws are extremely severe for persons who have a Commercial Driver's License, even if they were NOT driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the alleged DWI. Therefore, it is worth repeating, any person who has been arrested for DUI--DWI would be well-advised to hire an attorney as soon as they possibly can after that DWI--DUI arrest.
Bruce previously was the Senior Litigation Attorney at the Anelli-Xavier Law Firm ("The DWI Guy") in Syracuse, New York, a law firm that handles primarily DWI cases. Prior to that, Bruce worked many years for the Public Defender's office where his caseloads averaged 250 active cases at any given time. Added to this experience is years of criminal practice experience Bruce has in his private practice. Bruce is a criminal "Trial" attorney, NOT a "Plead them all out" easy rider. Bruce encourages a rigorous litigation battle where a case has great merit and the stakes are high. He is not afraid to take good cases to trial and he has the experience and ingenuity to discern which cases are winnable good candidates for trial. At the same time, Bruce has the negotiating skills and legal acumen necessary to broker cases to exceptionally favorable results without needing to take every meritorious case to trial.
: Possession and Sale are the common charges in this area. Possibly more than any other criminal practice area, the Fourth Amendment "Search & Seizure" protections often play an important role in legal defense strategies. Bruce has handled hundreds of criminal cases and Drug Cases made up the majority of his caseloads. Where the arrest is the result of a police 'sting' operation or a 'reverse sting' operation, the issue of entrapment may come into play. Bruce is well-versed in the art and science of discerning from case facts, which defendant rights may have been violated and how those violations affect or weaken the prosecutor's case. The key thing to remember is that different 'rights' violations often have very different 'remedies' or consequences for the prosecutor. Some violations result in the 'suppression' of evidence obtained as a result of the violation, but ONLY
evidence that was obtained "as a direct result of" the violation. Other 'rights' violations result in dismissal of the entire case. Still other violations may have no adverse impact on the case at all . . . if the resulting evidence is not crucial to the prosecutor's case. For example, an illegally obtained defendant statement that he "lives out of state" has no adverse case consequences if the issue of defendant's "state of residence" is not relevant to the prosecution of the case. There is no viable substitute for a highly experienced attorney who knows the applicable laws and procedures thoroughly.
Prostitution & Sex Crimes: Prostitution cases can involve the prosecution of the alleged prostitute and\or prosecution of the alleged 'john' who allegedly utilized the services of the alleged prostitute. Where the arrest is the result of a police 'sting' operation or a 'reverse sting' operation, the issue of entrapment may come into play. Skillled attorneys have had considerable success in defending prostitution cases. An attorney's willingness and ability to thoroughly investigate the case facts and research the applicable law is indispensible to a competent defense of these cases, as well as any criminal case. Sex Crimes, more than any other kind of criminal case, strongly depend on the ability of the attorney to remain open-minded and objective, without allowing himself to become 'prejudiced' by the mere 'accusations' being charged. Not every attorney has this crucial ability.
: Identity of the alleged perpetrator can often be a crucial linch-pin issue in these cases. More often than not, the prosecution of these cases turn on the testimony of alleged eye-witnesses, who often are much less certain of their observations than the prosecutor would like to admit. Successful Defense of these cases often depends on the legal acumen of the attorney and his ability to cross-examine and challenge unreliable evidence, witnesses and testimony.
Crimes Involving Firearms: These cases do NOT have the "slam-dunk" certainty that many often presume. Bruce successfully got a post-9\11 "Possession of a Firearm on an Aircraft" case dismissed by showing that under the known facts and applicable law, the defendant's firearm possession did NOT violate the controlling law. Once again, there is no substitute for rigorous competent attorney legal research and case-facts investigations.
White Collar Crimes
: These cases are typically much more complex than any other kind of criminal prosecution. It demands that the attorney have the ability to competently unravel the complexities of the case without losing sight of the pivotal legal issues that lie beneath the surface. Once again, not every attorney has this ability. White Collar Crimes include such crimes as computer crimes, bank fraud, embezzlement, stocks fraud, Ponzi Schemes, and other swindles that typically are perpetrated by documents or other indirect methods other than actual physical break-ins constituting burglary-type offenses. That is to say, burglary and robbery are usually deemed to constitute 'crimes of violence' while White Collar Crimes are NOT. After seeing the injurious consequences of the Madoff Ponsi Scheme swindle many are beginning to question whether such crimes should really be deemed to be "non-violent."
Felony & Misdemeanor Cases: Misdemeanor cases are cases in which the crime is punishable by a jail term of one year or less. Felony cases involve jail terms of more than one year. Felony cases are much more serious in nature and can result in the loss of certain rights (Voting Rights - Right to Bear Arms) upon a conviction. It is more likely that a Felony conviction will make it very difficult to find employment, campared to a Misdemeanor, although even a Misdemeanor can have that effect, depending on the nature of the misdemeanor offense involved (Misdemeanor crimes of violence for example). It is vitally important for the client that the attorney have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the myriad consequences that a felony or misdemeanor conviction can have on the client in the future. For example, some convictions can result in deportation, while others may not. Some convictions could result in the client's eviction from and long-term ineligibility for public housing.
Murder--Homicide--Vehicular Homicide--DWI Homicide
: Some of these types of cases depend on the 'intent' of the accused. While for other types of cases intent is not relevant. Where intent is NOT relevant, often the case will turn of whether the conduct of the accused was "criminally negligent" or "criminally reckless" in nature. In some cases, such as some DWI Homicide cases, "criminal negligence" or "criminal recklessness" is presumed once intoxication, for example, at the time of the offense is proven. Accurate Identification of the perpetrator is often at issue in these kinds of cases. Once again, successful Defense of these cases often depends on the legal acumen of the attorney and his astute ability to cross-examine and challenge unreliable evidence, witnesses and testimony.
Battery--Assault--Criminally Negligent and Criminally Reckless Conduct: Battery refers to 'physical injury' or 'harm' inflicted upon another person, while Assault refers to 'threats' of physical harm made by an accused. Assault charges are more rare than Battery charges because they are much more difficult to prove. A mere verbal threat, standing alone, does NOT constitute a criminal offense. The verbal threat must be accompanied by 'an act' in furtherance of the threat that causes the alleged victim to reasonably believe that harm or serious physical injury is imminent and is about to occur. In Battery cases, often but NOT always, the case hinges on the willingness of the alleged 'victim' to prosecute the accused and\or to testify against the accused. For example, in Domestic Violence Cases, often the alleged victim later refuses to prosecute or sign a complaint or testify against the accused. In these cases the prosecutor has discretion as to whether to proceed with prosecution without the alleged victim's cooperation. Many factors are involved in the prosecutor's decision. For example, if the alleged victim intends to become a witness on behalf of the defendant, a conviction could be nearly impossible where the alleged victim is the sole witness in the case. Further complicating matters, often in the midst of extremely bitter, acrimonious divorces or break-ups in relationships, the animosity and bitterness and anger can be so intense that either party may well be capable of fabricating false criminal accusations against the other partner. This is quite common in Battery and Sexual Abuse cases. Needless to say, such a defendant desperately needs to hire an attorney whose open-mindedness and objectivity cannot be poisoned by the bare accusations charged.
Not Every Criminal Legal Issue Could Be Listed Here. If you have a criminal legal issue not listed here call our office to confirm whether we handle such cases. As a general matter, we handle all New York Statutory Criminal Offenses.