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[D.A.T]Should I go with Legal Aid or Hire an Attorney?

Brooklyn, NY |

This is the first time I got a Desk Appearance Ticket, I do not know how the whole process goes, I did speak with Legal Aid on the phone and the gentlemen said they usually get resolved in a day. I do not know if this is true or not, but I want to know if Legal Aid is sufficient. The D.A.T. i received is for PL 120, I did enough research to know what to expect in terms of sentencing. What I do want to know is, how would legal aid usually handle these cases, especially for someone with no prior? Thank you.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. You just can't "go" with Legal Aid - you have to be indigent. Legal Aid is court appointed by a Judge for poor people. Assault cases do not usually get resolved in one day because the DA has to speak with the complaining witness and no DA will have been assigned to the case yet. I suggest you retain a good criminal defense lawyer.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  2. DAT's for assault do not get resolved in a day absent unusual circumstances..
    You don't go with Legal Aid. You get it if you qualify.
    Legal Aid has good attorney's but each case is handled differently and no one can predict the outcome. Your goal is a dismissal or a non-criminal violation however it's never a guarantee. The final outcome is fact specific to your case.
    Good Luck!

    Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
    Immediate Past President, Criminal Courts Bar Association 11'-12'
    Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo
    1103 Stewart Ave, Suite 200
    Garden City, NY 11530
    516-408-3666 (o) / 516-408-3833 (f)

    I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.

  3. If you are entitled to Legal Aid, speak with the assigned attorney and decide for yourself if you are confident in the attorney. Some Legal Aid attorneys are fantastic and some are not. The same is true with private attorneys. You should be represented by someone you have a good relationship with and who you are confident in.

    It is always advisable to contact an attorney. For a consultation, please contact my office at 516-669-3295. We are located in West Babylon, NY and proudly offer very low rates and free consultations. <a href="">Please visit us on the web.</a>

  4. A DAT for an assault charge is almost never resolved in a single court appearance. The reason is that the DA will not know the extent of the injury and therefore will not offer any plea. Although you will be able to use Legal Aid for the arraignment on the DAT, continued representation by Legal Aid is only available if you are indigent. If not, and since the case will not be resolved in one day, you should definitely hire a lawyer to represent you from the start. There are many qualified lawyers on this site; call a few for fee information and then hire the one you find most trustworthy.

    I have been chosen by Superlawyers as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in NYC. I was a First Deputy Bureau Chief in the Brooklyn DA's Office and have over 30 years of criminal law experience. Phone: 212-766-3366;

  5. Legal Aid is set up to help indigent people or those with very low incomes. They have strict income guidelines that you have to fall under. If you are above these guidelines, you need to hire an attorney.

  6. Unfortunately research cannot tell you what to expect with an Assault charge as the outcome varies widely, moreso than almost any other misdemeanor charge. Since, it's a DAT, it's unlikely that the case has been reviewed prior to your court appearance by an ADA. It's customary that the case is postponed for the DA to "investigate" among other things, the interest and injuries of the complaining witness. The real work of the attorney is to get your version of events in front of the ADA investigating the case to help get you a favorable disposition. If you are convicted by plea or trial of Assault or Attempted Assault, you will have a permanent criminal record that cannot be erased or expunged under existing NY State law. It is not unusual for these cases to drag on for 3-6 months or even longer. If you have the means to hire an attorney, I would strongly consider it.

    Richard Southard
    I am a former Deputy Bureau Chief with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office who has been specializing in criminal law for over 16 years. I offer free consultations by telephone, in-office or by video-conference.

    All answers are for information purposes only. Answering this question or any future questions does not form any attorney-client relationship. Be mindful, that answers are limited by the limited facts presented by the questioner and are not meant to take the place of competent legal advice by an attorney fully informed of all the facts surrounding your case. However, be aware that nothing posted in a public forum such as this can be deemed confidential or privileged communication.

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