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Accessory and Conspiracy

In New York Penal Law, if two or more people plan or commit a crime together, each person is equally guilty. The accessory and conspiracy laws apply broadly, and a person can be arrested and charged for merely being present when a friend commits a crime.  In these cases, the judge can punish each defendant with the same sentence even if one person committed the entire crime.

A case with multiple defendants can be the most complicated because a defense lawyer must deal with the prosecutor and the other defense lawyers who might try to cut deals. In poorly planned defenses, the majority of evidence comes from the defendants testifying against each other in exchange for reduced sentences.

A common example helps to explain these types of cases: James, Ty, and Cindy walk down the street together, and James pulls out a knife and robs a woman’s purse. In New York, Ty and Cindy also could be arrested and charged with Second Degree Robbery just as if they had held the knife and grabbed the purse themselves.  The prosecutor may pursue either an accessory or conpsiracy theory of the case (or both), and a defendant must prove that he did not know about the crime before it happened and did not help to plan or participate in it.  Each defendant must have their own lawyer, and so the prosecution plays the defendants against each other.

Most people think that friends will stick together. In reality, this rarely happens unless the lawyers coordinate a unified defense. In the end, one defendant usually will flip on the others. A defendant needs a skilled lawyer to negotiate with the prosecution and with the other defense lawyers. If a codefendant cuts a deal and chooses to testify, a good lawyer will emphasize to the jury the unreliability of this bought testimony.

The law can become complicated in cases with multiple defendants, especially in robbery and drug conspiracy cases, and a defendant needs a vigilant defense lawyer to exploit the complex technicalities in the law. If the prosecution proves the case against all of the defendants except for one, that defendant’s case will be dismissed! A lawyer even may be able to get a client’s case severed entirely from the codefendants, which can provide a major strategic advantage.

For the best outcome in these types of cases, a defendant needs a personal lawyer to carefully investigate the facts, to argue the fine points of the law, to plan overall strategy for the entire defense, and to protect his client against a codefendant who tries to cut a deal. Also, a personal lawyer can quickly contact a client to pass along an offer of immunity, giving him an edge and putting him in the best strategic position (public defenders can be slow to contact a client).

The Law Office of Adam Bevelacqua will represent a client's individual needs and will work with the other defense lawyers to create a unified strategy.  A client will receive all plea offers on the same day of the offer and will receive protection against unreliable codefendants who might lie to the prosecutor to cut a deal. 

Contact the Law Office of Adam Bevelacqua at (917) 656 - 7076 or bevelacqualaw@gmail.com and speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately.