While each case is unique, below are the answers to frequently asked questions regarding criminal defense in the Hudson Valley region and rest of New York State.

If there is a warrant for your arrest, call a criminal defense attorney immediately. A warrant can be issued after a criminal proceeding has been initiated if the individual has not complied with an order of the court, for example, attending a hearing, paying a fine, or properly completing conditions of probation.

The accused is brought to the police station where he/she is photographed and fingerprinted. You may be brought to see a judge for the arraignment or given a ticket to appear in court.

An arraignment is the initial formal proceeding before a court where you will hear the charges filed against you. The defendant will enter a plea of not guilty. The arraignment happens after a criminal complaint is filed by the police and prosecutor and the individual was arrested and charged.  Bail is determined by the judge at the arraignment. Your lawyer will fight for your release. You will be given another court date for your next appearance.

This largely depends on whether you are charged with a felony, a misdemeanor, or a violation and how long it’s been since your first court appearance. Some appearances are conferences to discuss your case, or to set up a schedule for motions (written legal arguments to the court) or hearings or to provide an update to the court regarding a particular issue in your case. A court appearance can also be used to resolve your case by way of a negotiated plea bargain or to conduct a trial.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should talk to your criminal defense lawyer about raising the issue at the next appearance.

  • Law Enforcement Contact or Arrest.
  • Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Arraignment and Bail
  • Discovery – all the paperwork in your case
  • Plea Bargain – discussion between your lawyer and prosecutor.
  • Preliminary Hearing or Grand Jury Proceedings
  • Pre-Trial Motions
  • Trial
  • Sentencing (conviction or plea bargain)
  • Appeal

Once you are arrested, your liberty is at stake. You must retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you get the best deal possible. The court will provide an attorney if you are indigent.

Any plea bargain offer should be evaluated very carefully with your lawyer. You want to make sure your rights are protected and that you understand what you are agreeing to. You want to understand all your options.

A “state” criminal charge is a violation of the law of a state that is prosecuted in the state court system. While a “Federal” criminal charge is a violation of Federal law that is prosecuted by the US Attorney’s office in the Federal court system. Not all criminal defense attorneys are experienced in both state and federal courts, so it is important to find one where the attorney has practiced and where they have defended similar case as yours.

An order of protection is issued by the court to limit the behavior of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person. It is used to address various types of safety issues, including, but not limited to situations involving domestic violence. Family Courts, criminal courts, and Supreme Courts can all issue orders of protection.

An order of protection may direct the offending person not to injure, threaten or harass you, your family, or any other person(s) listed in the order. It may include, but is not limited to, directing the person to:

  • stay away from you and your children
  • move out of your home
  • follow custody orders
  • pay child support
  • not have a gun

Criminal charges will have a direct impact on a non-citizen, even a legal permanent resident. The more serious the alleged criminal offence the more serious the impact will be. You should work with a criminal defense attorney and an immigration lawyer

While criminal offenses vary greatly in terms of severity, felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanor charges. The technical distinction is one of maximum punishment. If a crime carries a maximum incarceration of one year or less, it is a misdemeanor; more than a year and it rises to a felony. Serious crimes such as murder, rape, arson, robbery, grand larceny, and kidnapping are felonies; petit larceny, minor drug, etc., are misdemeanors. With many crime categories, such as drug offenses, assault, and theft, whether it is a misdemeanor, or a felony depends on the severity of the offense. Regardless of charge, it’s imperative you hire a criminal defense attorney to help you every step of the way. If you are charged with a felony your experienced criminal defense attorney will work to reduce your charge to a misdemeanor.

Probation is an alternative to prison. Probation includes checking in with a probation officer, may include attending programs.

Parole often occurs after release from prison and helps a person complete their criminal sentence outside of jail after having completed a portion of their prison sentence. 

A dismissal occurs when the prosecution or judge drops your case after reviewing it and deciding the evidence against you isn’t strong enough to prove the case. I can also occur as part of a plea bargain designed by your experienced defense attorney, the prosecutor and judge.

New York state in 2017 passed a record-sealing law. Those eligible can have - felony and misdemeanor convictions – sealed from public view after a ten-year waiting period. Not many crimes are eligible for sealing. You need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your cases for sealing.


You’ll receive a free, no-risk evaluation of your charges, typical sentences, the evidence against you, and other important aspects of your case.


State and federal cases accepted. Lisa gets to know you and listens to your side of the story without judgment.


Lisa is a seasoned trial and appellate attorney with more than 30 years of criminal law experience, including experience as a prosecutor.


Lisa Pelosi serves New York City and all of the Hudson Valley. 

About The Law Firm of Lisa Pelosi

I have been practicing criminal law for over thirty years in the NYC and Hudson Valley. Having been a Prosecutor, I am very familiar with all aspects of Criminal Law.

I have handled thousands of cases and look forward to sharing my experience with you. I am available 24/7, call me at 845-999-9394 so we may discuss your case. I do not charge for the consultation. I answer all calls myself. Finding the right criminal defense attorney begins with calling me. Being arrested or having a loved one arrested is very stressful. In many cases I will come to your neighborhood to meet with you.

There is no case too big or small. I handle cases from DAT's, Shoplifting to Homicides. I have experience as a Prosecutor and defense attorney and have handled all types of cases. I am a former SEX CRIME, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and CHILD ABUSE PROSECUTOR and have expertise defending clients charged with these crimes.

I will explain each and every aspect of the criminal justice system to you. We will work together to resolve your case. You will not plead guilty to something you did not do and I will fight for you and against a system that often denies you your constitutional rights.

Please visit my website to learn more about the work I have done to help people who have been charged with a crime.

My offices are in Poughkeepsie (the Hudson Valley) and Manhattan. Tenemos abogados defensores que hablan español en la firma de abogados.

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Lisa has been nothing but amazing since she took over my case. I have been dealing with an insane amount of BS from my ex-wife, who had me face Misdemeanor charges, so she can leverage our divorce. Lisa took the case when I was at a dead-end with the DA and my previous attorney wasn't able to get to a satisfying resolution. Lisa has her magical way of making things work, and after only a couple of weeks, the case has been resolved. The reason I chose her over so many other lawyers I interviewed, was the sense of justice.

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