New York Criminal Defense and Family Law
If you are dealing with a situation that requires legal assistance –whether for a criminal offense matter or family law issue – you’ve come to the right firm.
For 26 years, the Brooklyn and New York City-based law firm of Schwartz & Krysinski, L.L.P. has helped individuals and families overcome the most difficult times in their lives.
From all types of criminal charges to family conflicts involving divorce, custody disputes and restraining orders, we ensure our clients’ rights are protected and battle to deliver the best possible outcomes.
Howard A. Schwartz and Nicole L. Krysinski together offer more than 40 years combined legal experience practicing at the state and federal level.
Clients can rest assured they will be professionally represented, treated with respect and compassion and cared for to the best of the firm’s ability.
To receive a consultation and discuss how our experience, resources and legal skills can be applied to your advantage, call us at 718-208-6094 or917-309-3678.
The partners can also be emailed at either firstname.lastname@example.org or Nicole@brooklynlaw.net.
Vigorous Criminal Defense for the Accused
If you are currently under investigation or have been charged with a crime, this will likely be one of the most terrifying times of your life. There are potentially serious direct and collateral consequences when a person is involved in the criminal justice system. It is important to realize that no matter what the accusation, you are entitled to a strong defense. Being charged with a crime, no matter what the evidence, does not necessarily need to result in a finding of guilt.
First and foremost, remain calm and maintain composure. Don’t be combative or abusive when interacting with law` enforcement. It will never help the situation, and can be dangerous. If the police ask you to make a statement or bring you to an interview room, you have the right to remain silent and request that a lawyer be present before making a statement or answering questions.
For immediate assistance, call us at 718-208-6094 or 917-309-3678. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The criminal justice system in New York imposes harsh punishments on those who are convicted of breaking certain laws. If convicted of a crime, you could face jail time, hefty fines, probation or other penalties. Additional collateral consequences may include losing your drivers’ license, employment or educational opportunities, security clearance, immigration status, or child custody privileges. A conviction can be a permanent mark on your record and can damage your reputation. Convictions can be a detriment to credit requests and housing.
When you become a client, our number one goal is to get the charges against you dismissed or to minimize your punishment.
We will exhaust all possible defense strategies to maximize the potential of winning.
Here are just some of the things we can do as your legal representation:
- Conduct pre-arrest investigations, arrange voluntary surrenders, appear at arraignment, produce pre-trial motions and conduct hearings, trials and sentencing procedures.
- Conduct a thorough pre-trial investigation to obtain and analyze evidence including police reports, lab reports and witness testimony
- Fight to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained
- Consult experts who can strengthen your defense including forensic specialists, toxicologists, medical examiners and others
- Negotiate with prosecutors and judges to attain a dismissal or an advantageous plea deal
Criminal Defense Practice Areas:
- Violent Crimes including assault, robbery and domestic disputes
- Theft and Property Crimes including larceny, forgery and securities fraud
- Drug Crimes
- Federal crimes
- White Collar Crimes
- Juvenile Offenses
- Civil Rights Violations
- Probation Violations
Violent Crimes Defense
Being investigated or arrested for a violent crime is an extremely serious situation. It can be even more traumatizing if you’ve been wrongly accused or if there were mitigating circumstances that need to be considered.
A violent crime in New York involves the use of force, violence, or threats against another person. It can be committed with or without a weapon and often leaves a victim seriously injured or dead. Such crimes include: murder, manslaughter, assault, rape, kidnapping, arson, domestic battery, armed robbery and weapon charges. Violent crimes are aggressively prosecuted in New York and often result in lengthy prison sentences, probation, orders of protection and a permanent criminal record.
When determining punishment, a court will consider several factors, including how severe the victim’s injuries are, whether or not a weapon was used, the background of the defendant, and what, if any, motives or intentions were part of the alleged activity.
Common Defenses for Violent Crimes:
- Self defense/Justification
- Mistaken identity
- Coerced confession
- Improper conduct of law enforcement
Were You Arrested for Drunk Driving?
Being pulled over for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is an unsettling experience. New York has the toughest criminal DWI laws in the country. An aggressive DWI attorney can help you minimize the impact a DWI charge has on your life.
An arrest for drunk driving may result in jail time, suspension or revocation of driver’s license, expensive fines, mandatory alcohol screening and treatment programs, and the installment of an interlock ignition device on your vehicle.
When facing DWI charges in New York, you can expect to go through a criminal process in court and an administrative process through the Department of Motor Vehicles. The sooner you call us after your arrest, the better. We can help you preserve your rights and contest the suspension of your driver’s license.
Under New York’s “prompt suspension” law, your driver’s license will be suspended at your arraignment. Our DWI attorneys can challenge the suspension and help you obtain a hardship license, which allows you to drive to and from work, to medical appointments, and to and from court. Hardship licenses are often granted if you have not had a prior DWI/DWAI conviction in the last 5 years.
Drunk Driving Charges in New York
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI): This is the least serious DWI offense in New York and is considered to be a traffic infraction. You will be charged with a DWAI if you are impaired by the consumption of alcohol and your BAC is at least .05% but less than .08%.
Penalties for First Time DWAI:
- Fine up to $500
- 90 day license suspension
- Up to 15 days in jail
- No criminal record
DWI based on blood alcohol: . At least a 08% BAC and this charge is considered a misdemeanor
Common Law Intoxication: Operating while in an allegedly intoxicated condition based on common law grounds it is often charged when you refuse a chemical test.
Penalties for DWI
- $500-$1,000 fine
- Probation up to 3 years
- License revocation for six months
- Up to one year in jail
- Criminal record
Aggravated DWI: .18% BAC or above
- Fine up to $2,500
- One year license revocation
- Up to one year in jail
- Interlock Ignition device installed on all vehicles
Felony DWI: You can be charged with a Felony DWI if you have a prior conviction for DWI within past 10 years, or if a child 15 years or younger was a passenger in the car.
Penalties for Felony DWI:
- $1,000-$5,000 fine
- Probation up to 5 years
- License revocation up to one year
- Ignition interlock device
- Up to 4 years in state prison
DWI Defense Strategies
Even if your BAC level is above the legal limits, there are ways to beat a DWI charge. Here are just a few defense strategies we may utilize in your case:
Improper Traffic Stop: If the police officer did not have probable cause to believe you committed a crime and pulled you over, any evidence collected might be inadmissible in court.
Inaccurate Breathalyzer Test Results: New York uses the Intoxilyzer 5000 Breathalyzer to measure BAC. This breath-testing machine can produce false results based on a number of different variables including: medical conditions, improper testing by the arresting officer or the use of a device that was not properly calibrated or maintained.
Unreliable Blood Test Results: Questions can be raised as to whether or not the blood test were tampered with or mishandled in the chain of custody.
Violation of Civil Rights: If the arresting officer failed to read you your Miranda rights, any admission of guilt or evidence collected subsequently may be inadmissible.
Facing Drug Charges?
Both state and federal laws prohibit the illegal possession, sale, manufacturing, and distribution of certain controlled substances. These substances may include “street” drugs like cocaine, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and crystal meth or prescription medications like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Oxycodone.
State and federal prosecutors and investigators take the “war on drugs” very seriously and are likely to pursue the harshest sentence they can for drug-related crimes. In fact, many offenses committed in New York carry mandatory minimum sentences. Being convicted for a drug crime can lead to incarceration, substantial fines, probation, court-ordered drug treatment programs, suspension of driving privileges, community service, and random drug testing. It can also severely affect immigration issues, housing, employment and education.
The severity of punishment depends on the type and amount of the drug involved, whether the drug was sold, manufactured, or distributed, use of weapons, and the existence of a prior criminal record.
For example, possession of a drug with intent to distribute is more serious than simple possession. If you possessed 25 grams or less of marijuana for personal use, you would be fined $100. In contrast, if you were to sell half an ounce of cocaine it would be punishable by one to nine years in prison.
Defense Strategies for Drug Crimes
In order to successfully combat drug charges in New York, you need a highly competent drug crime defense lawyer who understands the crucial differences in state and federal drug laws and who has experience defending these cases in various court systems.
Schwartz & Krysinski, L.L.P. is well equipped to tackle any drug-related charge you are facing. When you retain us, we immediately begin to conduct an investigation into your case to make sure your rights were not violated in any way. Based on our research and investigation, we will develop a defense strategy tailored to your case. Potential defenses we may want to explore include:
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Lack of probable cause for a traffic stop or search
- Lack of knowledge of drug offense
- The drugs do not belong to you
- You were a victim of entrapment – police manufactured crime
- Underlying issues that impact the situation
Alternative Sentencing Resolutions for Drug Crimes
If you have been charged with a drug crime but have an underlying substance abuse problem, there may be ways to avoid a sentence of imprisonment. The lawyers at Schwartz & Krysinski, L.L.P., believe that drug addiction is a health issue and not a moral failing.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, we will negotiate with the prosecutor and judge to pursue treatment instead of criminal punishment. We will advocate for acceptance into a drug diversion program, which will enable you to achieve a full recovery and prove that you will be a good steward of society upon completion of the program. In some situations it can lead to the dismissal of criminal charges.
White Collar Crimes
A white-collar crime is a non-violent offense that typically involves committing deceit or fraud to achieve financial gain. These crimes may include embezzlement, healthcare fraud, securities and investment fraud, money laundering, mail/wire fraud, insider trading, copyright infringement, forgery, cyber crimes, tax evasion and more.
Those who are accused of white-collar crimes are often skilled professionals such as executives, accountants, doctors, fund managers, and government officials.
White-collar crimes may be prosecuted under federal or state law or both. These cases usually involve in-depth investigations performed by a federal regulatory agency like the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or the IRS.
The penalties for white-collar crimes have become increasingly harsh after the Enron scandal and may include prison time, house arrest, monetary restitution for victim, stiff fines, community service, and forfeiture of property.
It’s not uncommon for a federal agent to visit you at your home or place of business or to serve a grand jury subpoena or search warrant for certain documents before they even make an arrest. We understand that, as a professional, you have worked hard to become successful and that a criminal investigation or hearing can be humiliating and detrimental to your career and personal life. If the government has contacted you, it’s critical that you contact our firm right away. We can help you protect your accounts and assets and fight any charges that come your way. Often important decisions are made prior to an arrest.
Defense Strategies for White Collar Crimes
- Source the money, prove that money got into a certain account in a different way than the government alleges
- Were you coerced into carrying out illegal activities you would never have done otherwise?
- You were a victim of Entrapment
Compassionate Solutions for Family Conflicts:
There’s nothing more stressful or emotionally draining than dealing with a family conflict. Whether it’s ending a marriage, establishing a child custody arrangement, negotiating maintenance payments, or requesting an order of protection, most people dread having to confront upsetting family matters.
At Schwartz & Krysinski, L.L.P., we recognize the complexity and sensitivity that surrounds family dynamics and will be supportive and compassionate as you go through this difficult time. Our goal is to guide you through the legal process as quickly and smoothly as possible so you can move forward in your life.
Our family law attorneys take the time to fully learn about your current situation and work with you to develop a tailored action plan that aims to accomplish the goals you would like to achieve.
Family Law Practice Areas
- Divorce (division of property, spousal support/maintenance)
- Child custody
- Visitation and parenting schedules
- Grandparents rights to visitation
- Domestic Violence and orders of protection
- Child abuse and neglect
- Child support modifications
- Child custody modification and parent relocation
- Stepparent adoptions
Getting Divorced in New York
If you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, you’ll need a trusted and experienced divorce attorney to help you close this chapter in your life.
The legal process of divorce will require you to confront personal matters that will greatly impact your future. Some of these matters include determining the division of property, paying or receiving spousal support and child support, and establishing child custody and visitation. Having the right divorce attorney by your side will give you peace of mind that your rights are being protected.
Divorce cases are handled by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, not Family Court. In order to file for divorce, you would go to the Supreme Court in the county where you or your spouse now live. You can go to your local Family Court for help with child support, child custody, child visitation, spousal support/maintenance and paternity.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce in New York:
Uncontested Divorce: If you and your spouse mutually agree on all the key issues in your divorce, you are a good candidate for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce saves you the time, stress, and expense of battling out your differences in court. Instead, you’ll be able to complete the divorce process in private while you finalize a settlement that meets your needs. Even if you anticipate an amicable divorce, it’s important to hire a qualified divorce attorney to represent your interests.
Contested Divorce: If you and your spouse disagree about the terms of the divorce, you will most likely need to resolve your conflicts in court with the assistance of a judge. In a contested divorce, there are a number of procedural steps that need to be followed including:
- Preparing, filing, and serving divorce summons/complaint
- Non-filing spouse must respond to summons/complaint
- Both spouses must engage in discovery or information gathering process to disclose financial assets and debts
- Pre-trial motions and hearings
- Settlement proposals and negotiations between spouses’ attorneys
- If discussions break down and no compromise can be achieved, prepare for trial
- Complete trial, decisions to be made by judge
Dividing Marital Property in New York:
The assets and debts you and your spouse have accrued during your marriage will be divided in accordance with New York’s equitable distribution laws. Some of this marital property includes: bank accounts, IRAs, pensions, stocks and bonds, home, vehicles, furniture, jewelry, etc.
The judge will not necessarily split 50/50, but will take into consideration several factors to determine what is fair for both sides. Factors taken into account may involve length of marriage, each spouse’s financial contribution to marriage, age and health of each spouse, need of the custodial parent to occupy marital residence, any award of spousal maintenance, etc.
Our divorce attorneys can assist you with issues surrounding property valuation and will make sure you get a fair and equitable settlement.
Child Custody and Visitation in New York
The stakes are always higher when there are children involved in a divorce. Kids often experience a wide range of emotions that may include anger, sadness, confusion, and resentment. They may also struggle to adjust to a new reality where their parents don’t live under the same roof anymore.
At Schwartz & Krysinski, L.L.P., our top priority is making sure that you and your spouse develop a fair custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your children. We are skilled negotiators who aim to achieve mutually beneficial compromises. We also understand that sometimes, an amicable resolution isn’t always possible. When this happens, you can expect us to fight for you in court.
Custody in New York is divided into two parts: Residential/Physical Custody and Legal Custody.
Physical custody refers to where the children live and legal custody indicates which parent has the authority to make major decisions related to the children’s upbringing as it relates to education, medical care, religious affiliation, and extracurricular activities, etc. Whoever has primary physical custody is considered the custodial parent. The non-custodial parent can be granted visitation. While the divorce is pending, a temporary child custody order can be put in place until a judgment of divorce is granted.
When determining custody and visitation, a judge will always act in the best interests of the children. Some factors the court will consider include: who has been the children’s primary caretaker; physical/mental health of both parents; each parent’s relationship to the children; the children’s preference if old enough to decide; history of alcohol/drug abuse/child abuse/neglect; etc.
Child Support in New York
The custodial parent is entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent. In New York, child support is calculated by taking into account the income of both parents. Child support is based on a formula that calculates gross yearly salary minus yearly social security paid and yearly Medicare tax paid. This number is then multiplied by certain percentages per the number of children involved.
For one child: multiply by 17%
For two children: multiply by 25%
For three children: multiply by 29%
For four children: multiply by 31%
For five or more children: multiply by no less than 35%
Modifications to child custody and child support can be made if/when there has been a change in circumstance.
Spousal support or maintenance in New York
A judge will consider many factors when addressing a request for spousal support/maintenance including: income of each spouse, how property was divided, length of marriage, age/health of spouses, educational needs of spouse with less income, standard of living both spouses had during marriage, conduct during the marriage, and more.
Spousal maintenance can be granted on a temporary or final (post-divorce) basis.
To learn how our experience, resources and legal skills can be applied to your advantage, call us: 718-208-6094 or 917-309-3678.