Criminal defense

Criminal Defense

Brooklyn Defender Services has been defending people accused of crimes in Brooklyn for over 25 years. Experienced and qualified attorneys, specialized in criminal law, meet with every person we represent within 24 hours of their arrest, before they appear before a judge. Our attorneys conduct full investigations of the evidence; analyze and argue legal issues pertinent to each case; and advocate for our clients with the prosecutor and judge regarding pre-trial issues, such as bail and orders of protection. Our team of attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals and other experts prepare cases for trial, explore all opportunities for negotiated plea bargains to reduce additional consequences, and advise our clients of their options. As we work towards the best outcome for the people we represent, we provide a wide range of supports, including jail services for clients who are detained, social work resources for clients and access to a wide range of legal services for issues like housing, benefits, education and employment.

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Specialized Criminal Defense Units

Adolescent Representation Team

Specialized attorneys, social workers, and youth advocates provide representation and other services to young people ages 12-21 in Criminal Court, Supreme Court, and Family Court. We also provide age-appropriate services for young people, including education advocacy and advocating for young people who are aging out of foster care.

Integrated Defense Practice

The Integrated Defense Practice is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys, social workers and paralegals representing clients who have both an arrest and a family court matter, such as an ACS case or custody case. Highly specialized in the intersection of these legal systems, our team works closely with housing, education and employment attorneys to ensure our clients receive the resources they need.

Mental Health Representation Team

The Mental Health Representation Team consists of specially-trained attorneys and social workers who are experts in working with and for people who have been accused of a crime and who are living with serious mental illness or a developmental disability. We attend competency evaluations and hearings, provide referrals to appropriate community resources, appear in the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, develop unique legal defenses, and address the needs of incarcerated people with mental illness or developmental disabilities.

Homicide

Our certified homicide attorneys bring decades of experience to the most serious and complex charges in the criminal legal system. Specially-designated investigators, social workers and mitigation specialists work hand-in-hand with attorneys to analyze evidence, speak with witnesses and maintain contact with our clients, who are often in pre-trial detention for an extended period of time. Our Forensic Practice staff helps homicide attorneys analyze complicated scientific evidence and prepare for trials where the validity of this evidence may be called into question.

Immigration Support for the Criminal Practice

Named after the Supreme Court case that ruled people are entitled to advice about the immigration consequences of their case, “Padilla” attorneys have specialized knowledge about the intersection of immigration and arrest.

Women’s Defense Project

The Women’s Defense Project is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys and social workers who serve cisgender and transgender women who have experienced a history of violence, exploitation and abuse that has directly or indirectly led to their involvement in the criminal legal system.

Veterans Defense Unit

On behalf of people who have served in the military, our Veterans Defense Unit is a team of lawyers, social workers, and paralegals with specialized training in veterans' issues. Our staff have extensive experience working with the Veterans Administration, local service providers and Brooklyn Veterans Treatment Court where we can seek to connect veteran clients with alternatives to incarceration, including substance abuse and mental health treatment, as well as education, employment, and housing support.

Criminal Defense Services

Forensic Practice

Our Forensic Science Practice is a team of attorneys who focus on forensic science and digital surveillance issues in criminal cases. Our team reviews cases with attorneys to identify forensic issues and provides direct case support in cases where scientific evidence is part of the case.

Investigation

Our team of investigators works alongside attorneys and other advocates to methodically formulate and implement an investigation strategy that is unique to each case. This encompasses finding videos, talking to witnesses, honing in on the details that the police and the prosecution might have misconstrued and following up on additional witnesses and evidence that were missed or unknown to the police.

Jail Services Project

Our Jail Services Project addresses urgent needs related to basic civil rights and conditions of confinement for our clients who are incarcerated. We work to secure access to essential medical, mental health, safety and education needs through individual administrative advocacy, participation in Board of Corrections hearings and numerous working groups. We monitor and document the conditions incarcerated New Yorkers experience and advocate for their rights and well-being.

Science & Surveillance Project

Our Science and Surveillance Project provides technical support to attorneys in criminal cases and engages in larger systemic advocacy. The team investigates government and private entity use of new science, surveillance, and data analysis techniques to educate our staff, communities, and representatives on those techniques as well as advocate against the weaponizing of junk science and biased algorithms. The Science and Surveillance Project is also focused on the civil rights implications of mass surveillance and unlawful practices by police.

Criminal Defense Staff

Our team of attorneys, paralegals, social workers, and other specialists have decades of experience providing a broad range of legal advocacy and support to clients facing criminal charges.

A criminal defense attorney standing confidently outside of Kings County Criminal Court.
After working with the [BDS Mental Health Representation Team], my life started coming together. I got employment. My kids went to college. They are doing great. They are watching me make strides towards my goals.
Ms. G, BDS Client
An illustration of an attorney standing to defend her client in court.

Over

80%

of NYC's total jail population are held pre-trial, most held only because they cannot afford bail.