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The Importance of Preserving Appellate Rights in New York Criminal Trials

Generally, a defendant in a New York criminal trial does not go to trial expecting that they will be found guilty. On the one hand, if a defendant is innocent of the crimes charged or believes the case against them to be weak, they will fight the case in hopes of being found not guilty. On the other hand, if a defendant believes the case against them to be a strong one, they will normally negotiate a plea agreement through their attorney.There are some cases, however, that fit somewhere in the middle. For example, consider a New York gun possession case in which a gun is recovered from a person by a police officer. If the gun is admitted into evidence, the prosecution will not have a difficult job at trial, needing only to prove that the defendant possessed the gun. However, the defendant may have a strong motion to suppress the gun from evidence, based on the police officer’s conduct leading up to the search and seizure.

In this case, the defendant would litigate a motion to suppress the physical evidence in the case, namely the gun. If successful, the prosecution would be unable to admit the gun into evidence, and in many gun possession cases, the prosecution will withdraw at this point. However, if the defendant’s motion is denied, there is often little to be gained by proceeding to trial – at which the prosecution need only prove that the defendant possessed the weapon.

In this situation, it may make sense for a defendant to litigate the motion to suppress and then, if unsuccessful, negotiate a plea agreement. However, if a defendant is not careful, they may end up waiving their right to appeal the court’s decision on the motion. A recent case serves as a good illustration.

The Facts

The defendant was charged with possession of a gun after the police arrested him. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the gun, as well as any statements he made to the police, arguing that the police did not have probable cause to arrest him. The judge denied the defendant’s motion. The defendant then pleaded guilty in exchange for the court’s conditional promise to give him a certain sentence. As a part of the plea agreement, the defendant agreed to waive his right to appeal the case.

After he was sentenced, the defendant filed an appeal, arguing that the trial court ruled incorrectly on the motion to suppress. However, the appellate court refused to hear the defendant’s case because he had entered into an agreement under which he waived his right to appeal.

Each case is different, and some motions may be worth preserving the right to appeal, even if it means foregoing a plea agreement with a negotiated sentence. Anyone charged with a possessory offense should consult a dedicated New York criminal defense attorney to discuss their case in depth before deciding how to proceed.

Have You Been Arrested on a Gun Charge?

If you have recently been arrested for the possession of a gun, contact the dedicated New York gun crime attorneys at the law firm of Tilem & Associates. At Tilem & Associates, we provide knowledgeable, strategic advice to our clients throughout the process to ensure that their rights are preserved and that our clients are left in a good strategic position, regardless of what happens at trial. To learn more about how we can help you fight the charges you are facing, call 877-377-8666 to schedule a free consultation today.

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