New York NYPD Disciplinary Defense Lawyers

Members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) sign up to make a difference. They’re often deeply committed to New York City and its residents, and they’re committed to making the city a safer place to live.

When a police officer faces disciplinary charges or a criminal investigation, it can feel as though the world has turned upside down. The work you once held as a source of pride is now under scrutiny – and your career, livelihood, or even liberty may be on the line.

If you’re in this situation, don’t wait. Talk to the experienced NYPD defense lawyers at the Brill Legal Group today. 

Proceedings that NYPD Officers May Face

Being a New York police officer isn’t an easy job. Many members of the NYPD dedicate their lives to the work precisely because it is not easy.

Among the difficult challenges officers face are situations in which they must make split-second decisions with life-or-death consequences – not only for the officer but for others as well. Disciplinary proceedings may result if a supervisor believes your in-the-moment decision was somehow incorrect or improper. 

The New York City Police Department is overseen by several departments, agencies, and boards – which means that an NYPD officer may face questions or charges from several sources. Accusations of misconduct may come from sources such as:

  • Internal Affairs
  • CCRB
  • OIG
  • DOI
  • Union officials
  • Other sources

Regardless of the source of the charges or complaints against you, an experienced attorney can help you understand the claims and build a strong defense that protects your legal rights

OATH Hearings

The Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) is New York City’s independent administrative law court. The OATH Hearings Division holds hearings on a wide range of issues from various city agencies, including the NYPD. 

Those summoned to OATH hearings are not required to have an attorney. However, there are several important reasons to work with an attorney if you’re facing a summons to an OATH hearing. Your attorney can help ensure you meet deadlines, receive an opportunity to build your case and protect your legal rights throughout the process. 

Missing an OATH Hearing can have serious consequences. A person summoned to an OATH Hearing who doesn’t appear may be held in default. If you’re held in default, you automatically face the default penalty – which may be higher than the penalty you’d face if you had attended the hearing and lost. 

OATH Hearings are open to the public. While public hearings are often important, they can also address matters that a member of the NYPD would prefer to keep private. Your attorney can help you handle a summons in a way that reflects the need for discretion in any given situation. 

Receiving a summons to an OATH hearing can be a nerve-wracking experience. You may not fully understand why you’ve been summoned, and you may be unprepared for a matter that may end up implicating your behavior or imperiling your career. Work with an experienced attorney to understand the basis for the summons and your options for addressing it. 

NYPD Trial Room Proceedings

Charges related to a police officer’s work are typically heard in the NYPD Trial Room. The NYPD Trial Room is overseen by the police commissioner and deputy commissioner – two parties who take the NYPD’s reputation seriously and who work hard to prove that the NYPD can address charges that arise among its own ranks. 

Proceedings in the NYPD Trial Room

The police commissioner has the power to discipline members of the NYPD under the NYC Administrative Code. To do so, the commissioner or a deputy must issue written charges against an NYPD member. Charged can be prosecuted by the Department Advocate’s Office. 

The NYC Administrative Code also gives police commissioners and their deputies other powers related to the ability to issue written charges. For instance, the commissioner or a deputy may:

  • Issue subpoenas requiring witnesses to testify,
  • Issue subpoenas for any documents or related evidence in a case, 
  • Issue other types of orders and mandates related to the work of examining and bringing charges, 
  • Compel compliance with a subpoena, order, or another mandate, and
  • Hold proceedings related to the charges or evidence. 

During a Trial Room proceeding, the Deputy Commissioner Trials or a designated representative hears evidence and reaches findings of fact. These findings are typically issued in a written report along with recommendations, which are sent to the commissioner. The commissioner can accept, modify, or reject the recommendations. 

When a guilty finding supports them, recommendations may be for forms of discipline that the NYC Administrative Code gives the police commissioner the power to enact on NYPD officers. These may include fines, reprimands, removal, suspension, or dismissal from the force. 

NYPD officers who face charges have the opportunity to address those charges in Trial Room proceedings. When an officer faces charges, however, they go up against a prosecutor from the Department Advocate’s Office – a professional with long experience in prosecuting charges against NYPD officers. To build a case, you need the help of an experienced attorney. 

Guilty Findings and Their Consequences

When a Trial Room proceeding ends in a guilty finding, the police commissioner can impose one or more penalties. Possible consequences of a guilty finding may include:

  • Warning and admonishment, 
  • Dismissal probation of up to one year,
  • Suspension without pay for up to 30 days, or
  • Dismissal from the police force. 

If you face the consequences of a guilty finding, you have the right to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Filing an appeal comes with its own challenges, however, including the need to understand and comply with court rules for appeals. A seasoned attorney can help you understand these rules and follow them, as well as focus on the merits of your appeal. 

The Trial Room focuses on the NYPD as a whole – which means that those overseeing your hearing don’t have your side of the story at the front of their minds. You need an experienced NYPD defense lawyer on your side to make sure that your side is heard fully. Only when all the facts are on the table can a Trial Room decision reflect a fair understanding of the reality of the situation. 

Working with the Police Action Litigation Section

The Police Action Litigation Section (PALS) works to support police officers who face civil litigation related to police actions. PALS workers may take steps like

  • Preserving and collecting evidence in cases in which the NYPD or any of its members may face allegations of misconduct,
  • Representing law enforcement and the NYPD’s interests when a claim challenges NYPD policies, 
  • Assisting the New York City Law Department with discovery during police action cases, and
  • Training NYPD members and others on issues like representation, indemnification, defending against lawsuits, and implementing NYPD policies, procedures, and recordkeeping protocols. 

While PALS can offer support, working with PALS is not the same as working with an experienced attorney. PALS staff members do not represent the legal interests of individual members of the service directly. Rather, they work to support the NYPD generally when civil litigation is brought by an outside party against the department or any of its members. 

In some cases brought against the NYPD or a member, it may become clear that the interests of the NYPD as a whole and the interests of the individual member are at odds. In cases like these, the primary focus of PALS is to support the interests of the NYPD, not of the individual member. Choosing an attorney whose sole responsibility is to protect your interests can help ensure that you receive a strong defense. 

When you choose an NYPD defense lawyer, you gain an ally who can coordinate the work done by PALS, a union attorney, and other parties who support you. Your attorney streamlines the process, giving you a single experienced point of contact who can answer your questions and help the process move forward more smoothly. 

Choosing an NYPD Defense Lawyer Who Will Fight for You

Attorneys Peter Brill and David Gray of the Brill Legal Group understand how Trial Room and other proceedings work because they once worked within the system itself. Attorney Peter Brill’s career includes nearly 15 years working with the detectives’, lieutenants’, and captains’ unions. David Gray’s past experience includes time spent as an assistant department advocate. 

Today, both attorneys focus on representing NYPD police officers through their private practice. By doing so, they can put their full resources into representing their client rather than negotiating the delicate politics of police unions or the NYPD. 

As a member of the NYPD, you’ve dedicated your life to defending the city you call home. When you need someone to stand up for you, reach out to the legal team at the Brill Law Group. We strive to represent each of our clients with skill and determination. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Your conversations with our law firm are confidential.

Thank you Peter Brill and your office for your commitment and honesty in regards to my case. You made me feel comfortable since day one to have you as my lawyer and I will never forget that. Your strategy saved my pension and I am truly grateful. Your knowledge in caselaw and your professionalism in court was exceptional and it made a difference in my case. Thank you for your guidance through the toughest time of my life.

- E.V.