Stephen A Somerstein’s Answers

Stephen A Somerstein

Brooklyn Criminal Defense Attorney.

Contributor Level 7
  1. Trespass Summons for being in the store while it's regular operation hours.

    Answered about 2 years ago.

    1. Stephen A Somerstein
    2. Christopher Jude Pelli
    3. Richard C. Southard
    4. Benjamin J Lieberman
    5. Howard A. Schwartz
    5 lawyer answers

    This is the law in New York: Once an owner of a store or other business establishment tells you you are not wanted on the premises, you commit trespass if you remain--even if you have done nothing wrong. In actual practice, this is the probable outcome in a case such as the one you describe: You will make one appearance in court, and depending on who is the judge and the prosecutor, the case will either be dismissed outright and the record sealed, or you will be offered an ACD (Adjournment...

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  2. Will I go to jail or get an ACD?

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Eric Edward Rothstein
    2. Joseph A Lo Piccolo
    3. Ronald John McGaw
    4. Joseph Potashnik
    5. Stephen A Somerstein
    6. ···
    6 lawyer answers

    The question "Would a Legal Aid Society be enough for this case?" is not a fair one. Legal Aid Society criminal defense lawyers are mostly as dedicated, experienced and effective as private lawyers. Like the private bar, some are better than others. That said, the case load of a Legal Aid, or other Court assigned attorney is frequently very heavy and can hamper their ability to give personal attention or provide the hand holding you can sometimes get from private counsel. Many private...

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  3. Seal case

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Stephen A Somerstein
    2. Alan Lloyd Joseph
    3. Brian C. Pascale
    4. Benjamin J Lieberman
    4 lawyer answers

    The information you provide is inconsistent. You state first that you got an ACD and then that you were convicted of PL 240.20. An ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal) means that in a larceny (shoplifting) case the matter is taken off the Court's calendar for six months (One year in drug and domestic violence cases). If there are no new arrests or further difficulties during that period the case is dismissed and the record sealed. With some specific statutory exceptions (such as...

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  4. I'm being charged with robbery in the 1st degree.

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Howard A. Schwartz
    2. Eric Edward Rothstein
    3. Aaron Mysliwiec
    4. Stephen A Somerstein
    5. Benjamin J Lieberman
    6. ···
    6 lawyer answers

    You are in a very dicey situation. All will depend on what your accuser says, his/her credibility and any other evidence the prosecutor may have. Critical, of course, will be the content of any statements you may have made to the police or the prosecutor. BE WARNED NOW---you have the absolute right to remain silent and you should do so, if you have not already, beginning now. The fact that your accuser owed you money is no defense to a charge of Robbery if the prosecutor can prove beyond a...

    3 lawyers agreed with this answer

  5. Anyway to determine if I'm eligible for a public defender other than going into the office?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Stephen A Somerstein
    2. John Leif Fossum
    2 lawyer answers

    Generally, your eligibility for a court appointed attorney--public defender or 18-B-is not determined until your first appearance before a judge at your arraignment on the charges for which you have been arrested. Whatever you do, do not miss that first court date. If you do, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. In New York State there are no fixed financial guidelines to determine your eligibility. The statute provides you are eligible for court appointed counsel if you cannot afford to...

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  6. If I accept a plea of E Felony with 5 years probation, is it even worth it continuing my education in Accounting & Corp finance?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Stephen A Somerstein
    2. Eric Edward Rothstein
    3. John J. Carney
    4. Marco Caviglia
    4 lawyer answers

    You have really not given enough facts for me to give you a complete answer you can rely on. But, based on what you have said so far I can give you some general advice. First, as a general matter a person should never enter a guilty plea if they are in fact innocent. That said, there are frequently good reasons to break that rule. Sometimes the risk of going to trial is simply too high and not worth it when measured against the consequences of the plea bargain being offered. Sad to say,...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  7. How many times can prelim be rescheduled because only witness never shows up?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Joseph A Lo Piccolo
    2. Eric Edward Rothstein
    3. Stephen A Somerstein
    4. John J. Carney
    4 lawyer answers

    Preliminary hearing? What's that? Although the Criminal Procedure Law still provides for preliminary hearings, in practice, they just do not exist in NYC. The prosecutors avoid prelims by going straight to the grand jury within the statutory time allowed. The defendant about whom you inquire must be in custody in a county outside NYC. To answer your question, the CPL requires a preliminary hearing or grand jury presentation within 144 hours of arraignment. Absent good cause for delay the...

    2 lawyers agreed with this answer

  8. Lawyer not refunding money back.

    Answered almost 2 years ago.

    1. Thomas Alan Holman
    2. Bret A. Schnitzer
    3. Stephen A Somerstein
    4. John B. Reilly
    4 lawyer answers

    As other attorneys who answered have said, you are entitled to a full accounting of the time this attorney has devoted to your cases. This is so even if you agreed to a flat fee. You have a right to fire your attorney at any time and demand an accounting and a refund for any amount left beyond a reasonable hourly fee for time actually spent. New York State disciplinary rules prohibit an attorney from imposing a non-refundable fee. According to the Rules of Court all clients have the right...

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  9. What legal action can I take if I entered a plea of guilty (in the interest of saving money/time) when I was actually innocent?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Stephen A Somerstein
    2. Theodore W. Robinson
    2 lawyer answers

    You can make a motion to the Court to vacate your plea and set aside the conviction. However, such motions are rarely granted. In order to have even a fighting chance you must state and be able to prove some compelling reason why your plea should be withdrawn. Such reasons can include that you were coerced or did not understand what was happening (however, at the time of your plea allocution it is likely the Court asked on the record if you were being coerced or if you understood and that you...

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  10. Will it affect my clearance? Will the command catch wind of the charges? Is there a Way I can get the possession charge dropped?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Marco Caviglia
    2. Eric Edward Rothstein
    3. Stephen A Somerstein
    3 lawyer answers

    I do not practice in Buffalo, NY, where I am assuming this occurred. I practice in NYC. Here, a first offender on a simple marijuana possession charge commonly gets an ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal) which results in ultimate dismissal at the end of one year. Sometimes it is coupled with a community service requirement or an obligation to watch some stupid anti mj film. In any event, it is a dismissal with a sealed record--as if it never happened under NYS law. This ability to...