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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23555
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I came home from work (I was working nights) and my husband

Customer Question

I came home from work (I was working nights) and my husband wasn't home. We live in a very small town so I went to look for him. I found his bike parked in front of a residence of a person we both knew, so I went and knocked on the door, the persons son unlocked the door and I went in and asked where Manuel (my husband) was the kid pointed towards the back bedroom. When I entered I saw my husband and this woman putting their clothes on. I said a few words to him then looked over at her and went to punch her and my husband grabbed me, I grabbed ahold of her hair, we tumbled to the floor, all the while I was trying to hit her but my husband had grabbed my arms from behind so was unable to land any punches, when he got me totally pinned and i had let go of her hair she punched me in the side of the head and ran and hid. Me and my husband left. I was yelling all kinds of things apparently I threatened her life. anyways she called the cops and I was arrested and am being charged with 4 felonies #1. burglary (I didn't steal anything and was let in). #2. Terrorist threats. #3. Battery with intent to commit GBI. and #4. False Imprisonment (because I had ahold of her hair). She has since dropped the charges but the DA is going with it. I got a trial readyness hearing on November 3, 2015 and my public defender is telling me that I'm looking at a year in prison. I am 42 years old and have a clean record. Can they really do this to me. I have only been able to talk to my public defender briefly before my court hearings . I have tried setting up appointments with no success, I have not been able to even tell him my side of the story. I feel as if I am being pushed through the system. Its going to trial and I have nt had one meeting with my so called attorney aka public defender. Help what should I do?***@******.***
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Public defenders have heavy caseloads and spend all of their days in court. Unlike private attorneys who can pick and choose the cases they take on and have plenty of time for office visits, public defenders generally meet with their clients on their court dates. The exception is that when they are on trial, they devote all their time to the trial case and other lawyers in the office pick up their other cases so that they are free to get the trial all the attention it deserves.

All criminal defendants, whether they have public defenders or private attorneys, feel that they are being pushed through ths system. There is a great deal of pressure from the judge on down to keep the cases moving and to press for a speedy disposition. If you're not accustomed to that, it is very intimidating to criminal defendants. However, you did apparently tell your public defender that you are not guilty, and if you aren't interested in resolving this matter with a plea agreement, then the case will have to move towards trial. They are the only two real choices that any criminal defendant has.

Public defenders are highly experienced lawyers because of the volume of cases that they handle, and they know how to try and win cases. So even though you can't make an appointment with your public defender, that doesn't mean he or she is not on top of the issues and can't provide you with a good defense. However, if when you talk to him or her you can't get the answers you need to feel that your lawyer is looking out for your best interests, you can tell the judge that your lawyer is not willing to communicate with you, ducks your phone calls, won't set up a time and place to discuss your case and that you want your lawyer to be removed from the case and a new public defender appointed for you.

Prior to doing that, however, you can call your public defender's office and ask to talk to your lawyer's supervisor. A complaint to a PD's supervisor generally goes a long way to solving a problem. He can get on your lawyer's case and require him to return your calls and/or to make more time for you and to give you the representation you deserve.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you the info you provided about my public defender does set my mind at ease a little, but what about my charges it was a little scuffle and she dropped them, can they really put me in prison? The only witness they have is the arresting officer and not only did he get names all mixed up on the police report but he was stuttering all through the preliminary hearing. What I really want to know is what kind of a defense do I have? I am not a violent person, I've been with this man for 21 years and it is a good thing that he grabbed me or someone probably would of gotten hurt. Isn't there some kind of defense like temporarily insanity or something?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Yes, there's an extreme emotional disturbance defense possibility for a crime committed in passion. Whether that's the best way to handle your case is going to depend upon all of the facts and circumstances and is something you need to discuss in detail with your lawyer.

This case looks overcharged. That is, although broadly the DA can make out the elements of this offense, it doesn't look like the burglary is a strong charge and the rest can possibly be mitigated by your having caught your husband in the act of cheating on you.

Nevertheless, the charges as alleged are serious ones and thus it is your lawyer's professional obligation to let you know what your risks are if you turn down a plea offer to resolve the case. Incarceration is allowed for these charges and if you are convicted after trial, you can expect to have to do some time.