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NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

Are the Charges Against You Legally Sufficient?


Are the DA's Charges Against You Legally Sufficient?

When you are charged with a crime, the DA's Office must file formal charges that states the facts of their case against you. These charges be "facially sufficient." In other words, the facts of the DA's case must be specific and detailed enough to make out the elements of the charges against you. If they are not, then your attorney may be able to file a motion to have the charges dismissed.

The New York County Criminal Court recently issued a decision that is a reminder to good criminal defense attorneys to carefully review the charges in an accusatory instrument for facial sufficiency. In People v. McGinnis, the court dismissed an accusatory instrument as facially insufficient, holding that the facts alleged in it failed to support the charges. 2013 NY Slip Op 23353 (Criminal Ct, New York Co 10/15/2013). In that case, the defendant was charged with Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution, which is a criminal charge in New York. The DA's Office had attempted to use standard and non-specific language to state the facts of their case and the court found that the language did not make out the elements of the crime.

It stated that there is a "need for an individualized recitation of the facts which set forth the elements of an offense based upon actual observation." Id.

This ruling is a practical reminder about the importance of reviewing the complaint and looking for any possibly way to file a motion to dismiss. At the Law Offices of Lance Fletcher, we carefully review our client's charges and can file a "Motion to Dismiss" when we find mistakes or omissions made by the District Attorney. We have successfully gotten charges dismissed for facial insufficiency on several different occasions, including charges of Driving While Intoxicated, Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Petit Larceny, and others. Contact us today for a Evaluation initial consultation.