Departments


District Attorney's Association of New York

District Attorney's Office

Derek P. Champagne (District Attorney)

355 West Main St. - Suite 466
Malone, NY 12953-1826
518-481-1544
518-481-1545
Description:

     The Franklin County District Attorney investigates and prosecutes violations of state and local criminal statutes to ensure the public's safety in Franklin County.
     The primary duty of the District Attorney is to represent the people when criminal actions have occurred, which includes presenting cases to grand juries for indictment, negotiating plea agreements, and representing the People during hearings, trials and appeals. 
     The District Attorney also conducts a number of programs related to drug enforcement, aide to victims of domestic violence, and assistance to merchants to recover losses from fraudulent checks.

 

 

Hours of Operation:

Mon - Fri: 8:00am - 4:00pm

Sat - Sun: Closed

Officials:
Derek P. Champagne ()
Phone: 518-481-1544
Links:
Inmate Information Search

Inmate Information including identification and location, crimes of conviction, sentence terms and release dates.

New York's Most Wanted Fugitives

Includes list of most wanted, list of captured most wanted, and contact infomation for request and submission of information.

Drug Traffickers Find Haven
New York Times article (February 16, 2006)
North Country Marijuana Trafficing
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
FAQs:
I am the victim of a crime. What do I need to know?

    Victims do not need their own attorneys. However, as a witness for the State, victims have a responsibility to assist in the prosecution of a criminal case to the extent they may be required to sign an affidavit and provide testimony at a grand jury and at trial.
     As a victim, you are under no obligation to speak about the facts of a case with anyone other than a representative of the District Attorney's Office. People who ask you for details concerning a case should be prompted to identify themselves; if who decide to answer a question about a case, you are obligated to tell the truth.
     Further, victims have certain rights in the criminal justice system. Depending upon the type and disposition of the case, you may be entitled to:

  • Make a statement to the Department of Probation for consideration by the judge when determining the defendant's sentence. 
  • Make an oral statement to the court at the defendant's sentencing.
  • Request that restitution be considered as part of the defendant's sentence.
  • Be notified of the final disposition of the case.
  • Make a written or oral statement to the New York Division of Parole for consideration when determining whether to parole an inmate from a state correctional facility 
  • Receive an automated and/or written notification of the release of an inmate from a city or state correctional facility.
  • Protection from employer dismissal or penalties for attendance as a witness at a criminal action, as long as the employer is notified at least one day in advance. Wages, however, may be withheld for the period of time the witness attends the criminal action.
     

If you are advised not to appear in court, or you are threatened or harassed, you should immediately contact the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case or the main office at 481-1544.

 

 

 

Links

New York Crime Victims Board
Program upholding the rights of crime victim, information provided includes

  Victim compensation & information

  Direct Reimbursement of Forensic RAPE/Sexual Assault Examinations(FRE)

  Victom Assistance Program
   
The National Center for Victims of Crimes
Educational material, Resources, and program directories about assitance for Victims of Crimes. 


I am a victim/have witnessed domestic violence. What do I need to know?

     Every year, 6 million people nationwide are victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence can involve physical, verbal, emotional, economic, or sexual abuse. The abuser may be your husband, wife, domestic partner, parent, or child, or any other household or family member. These questions and answers will give you information about domestic violence and tell you how the District Attorney's Office can help.

I want the abuse to stop. What should I do?

     First and foremost, you should call 911 for help immediately. If you are unable to do so, you should go to a police station nearest to where the abuse has occurred. You should also seek medical attention and have photographs taken of your injuries. Remember any evidence of the abuse, such as broken furniture, a ripped telephone cord, or torn clothing is helpful in the investigation and prosecution of your case.

My abuser has been arrested. What happens now?

     After arrest, the abuser will appear before a judge. This process is called an arraignment. An attorney will represent the abuser, and an Assistant District Attorney will represent the People of the State of New York. The case against the abuser is brought in the name of the People of the State of New York, not your name. At arraignment, the judge can set bail, hold the abuser in jail without bail, or release the abuser who must then return to court on a future date. Usually the abuser is arraigned within 24 hours.

BEWARE: The abuser may be released at any time after arraignment.

What do you mean my abuser can be released? Don't I get any protection?

     At arraignment, the Assistant District Attorney can ask the judge to issue an order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that instructs the abuser to refrain from having any contact with you whatsoever. In addition, it can order him or her to refrain from certain conduct, including harassing, intimidating, threatening, assaulting, or stalking you. If the abuser violates the order of protection, he or she can be re-arrested.

Now that I have this order of protection, how safe am I?

     An order of protection cannot guarantee your safety. Therefore, it is important to have a safety plan. Our office can assist you in obtaining court-related information and social services to help provide for your safety and ease any emotional trauma. Our office can help you arrange to speak with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to your case and obtain a copy of the order of protection issued in your case.

In addition, our office can help you obtain a variety of other services including: 

  • Referrals to battered women's shelters
  • Individual or group counseling
  • Help with public assistance applications
  • Advocacy with other agencies on your behalf
  • Provide you with a cell phone for emergency 911 use (applies to high-risk situation)

Can you still help me, if I don't want my abuser arrested?

     In order to proceed in Criminal Court, you must have a criminal case, and a criminal case requires an arrest. However, you also have the option to file a petition with Family Court when a family offense has been committed against you. Family Court is a civil court, and a proceeding will not result in a criminal record for the abuser. In order to proceed in Family Court, you and the abuser must:
be related by blood,

  • be legally married,
  • be formerly married, or
  • have a child in common.

Links

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Hotline for reporting and requesting assistance regarding to Domestic Violence.  Assistance is available in English and Spanish with access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

A not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to eradicate domestic violence and to ensure the provision of effective and appropriate services to victims.

Office on Violence Against Women

The mission of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) is to provide federal leadership to reduce violence against women, and to administer justice for and strengthen services to all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This is accomplished by developing and supporting the capacity of state, local, tribal, and non-profit entities involved in responding to violence against women.


I am a victim of rape by intoxication. What do I need to know?

     A 22 year-old goes out with her friends one night and drinks way too much. She wakes up the next morning, violated and frightened and only remembers small bits and pieces of the night before. What she does remember is the face of a man on top of her. She was so intoxicated that she was unable to resist. Now, she worries that she might be pregnant or infected with a Sexually Transmitted Disease. She wonders where her friends went. She has become another victim of a serious felony: Rape by intoxication.
     Face the facts: If she's intoxicated, asleep or unconscious, she cannot give legal consent, even if she said "yes"
Face the law: Rape by intoxication is a serious felony that can carry a sentence of in state prison. 
    Drink responsibly: Binge drinking is dangerous to your health and can impair your judgment. If your friend tries to take advantage of a woman who is intoxicated or passed out, tell him to stop and explain that it's illegal and not right. Pay attention to the signs of intoxication, including slurred speech and vomiting 
    Stay with your trusted friends at all times: Have a safety plan for you and each member of your group to get home and decide ahead of time how much you can safely drink while maintaining good judgment. Stick to that limit. Make sure you can count on your friends to watch out for you.
    Practice safe habits: Don't accept a drink that is open, as it may contain a date rape drug. If your friend decides to drink, never leave her unattended; give her water to prevent dehydration; and put her on her side if she becomes sick so she doesn't choke on her vomit. If symptoms worsen, call 911 as she could have alcohol poisoning. Always lock your doors and windows, and if you are looking after a friend, make sure that doors and windows are locked before you leave her house.
    Get Help: Call 911 if the crime just occurred, or call police or Sheriff dispatch to report the crime; or call a crisis hotline to get help.
Preserve evidence: Don't bathe, douche, urinate, eat, drink, smoke, gargle, brush teeth, or chew gum,  and don't wash any clothing 
    Finally: Understand that this is NOT your fault; there's a whole network of professionals ready to help you


I am victim/witness of elder or child abuse. What do I need to know?

Elder Abuse
     Elder abuse is as any crime or violation that involves a victim who is 60 years of age or older. Such crimes include:
     * Domestic abuse or neglect at the hands of a family member or partner, caregiver, or other individual 
     * Financial exploitation committed by a stranger, relative, companion, home aide, or other professional providing services to a senior
     * Virtual eviction by drug dealers who have taken over an elderly person's residence or building

Child Abuse
     If you know or have reasonable suspicion to believe that a child is being abused or neglected, call the state Central Registry at 1-800-342-3720. In case of emergency, call 911 immediately.
     If you call the State Central Registry, Child Protective Services (CPS) may assign a case worker to investigate. In certain cases of physical or sexual abuse, the case will also be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office.
     If the Police Department makes an arrest, the defendant will be prosecuted in Criminal Court. If the abuser is related to the child, CPS may file a simultaneous petition in Family Court. The proceeding in Family Court is a civil proceeding and does not involve criminal sanctions. A law guardian represents the child in Family Court.

 


Is driving with a suspended or revoked license a serious crime?

     Driving with a suspended or revoked license is a serious crime in New York and if you are suspected of committing this violation, you could be charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle.  This charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on circumstances of the individual case.
     Usually a driver's license is suspended for failure to respond to one or more summonses, however a license can also be suspended or revoked for Vehicle and Traffic law offenses such as Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs.  Likewise, an insurance lapse, three speeding convictions in an eighteen month period or the accrual of over 11 points on a person's license can result in a license suspension.   
     Fifty percent to 75 percent of drunk drivers whose licenses are suspended continue to drive. Thirty-two percent of suspended second time offenders and 61 percent of suspended third-time offenders received violations or were involved in crashes during their suspensions. Generally, unlicensed drivers are 4.9 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than properly licensed drivers.
 *(MADD) Mothers Against Drunk Driving Statistics 
     Do not drive if your license has been suspended.  Driving with a suspended license is a serious offense punishable by fines and jail time. Further, do not ignore summonses, DMV notices or insurance issues. Contact the DMV or consult with an attorney who can check the status of your license or driving privileges before getting behind the wheel. If you are charged with driving with a suspended license, be sure to get the matter resolved promptly, so your driving privileges may be lawfully restored.

Links:

Franklin County Motor Vehicles

NY DMV


How can I protect myself against online fraud?

     Generally speaking, when you buy or bid on goods online, you should be careful about divulging your personal financial information and carefully select the vendors you deal with. To avoid being defrauded by online vendors, keep the following guidelines in mind:  

1.  Restrict your purchases to nationally-known sellers or vendors you know you can trust.

2.  Always make sure a website is secure before providing any financial information. Secured websites can be identified by the yellow locked padlock or key icon appearing at the bottom of your browser's window; or by web addresses preceded by the letters "https."

3.  Do not give out personal financial information to vendors unless you are absolutely certain the vendor is legitimate.

4.  Use antivirus software, a firewall and anti-spyware to keep your computer safe and secure. Update these programs regularly to protect against the latest threats.

5.  Use a secure online payment service such as PayPal. You can also make purchases by credit card, which, unlike a debit card, offers some protection in the event of a dispute.

6.  To avoid unauthorized charges, print a record of what you pay for and always cross-check your online purchases with your bank or credit card statement.

7.  Do not keep your personal financial information, including account passwords, on a USB flash drive instead of on your computer.

8.  Turn your computer off when you are not using it. If your computer is left on, scammers can install software and control it remotely to commit cyber crime.

     If you have been defrauded by a company online, contact your local police to file a complaint.

 

Links

New York State Better Business Bureau Regarding Identity Theft


My child is being bullied. What do I do?

Unfortunately, bullying occurs on a daily basis in schools and schoolyards throughout the state.  In some instances, cases have escalated to assaults that have resulted in police involvement. It is important to recognize that children who are bullied experience real suffering that can interfere with their social and emotional development, as well as their school performance.

  • Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Typically, it is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms, such as:
    • hitting and/or punching (physical bullying)
    • teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying)
    • intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying)
    • sending insulting messages by phone or computer e-mail (cyber bullying).

  • Warning Signs that your child is being bullied:
    • Appears sad, moody  or depressed when he or she comes home
    • Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
    • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs)
    • Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
    • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
    • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches


 

  • How you can help if your child is being bullied:
    • Take it seriously -- don't minimize the experience.

    • Contact your child's school to report what is going on.

    • Bolster your child's self-esteem in other areas. Help them find an activity where they fit in.

    • Don't assume the bullying has stopped if your child stops talking about it.

    • Give consistent advice.

    • Encourage your child to seek help and report all bullying incidents.


What are the dangers of driving while using electronic devices?

    There is no question that any distractions while driving can play a part in causing car accidents.  Recent studies show that cell phone use while driving is particularly risky behavior, especially when practiced by teens.  For example, a number of fatal accidents involving teenagers that have occurred within the last few years have been directly linked to driver text-messaging.  This practice, which requires a driver of a vehicle to take his eyes off the road for a period of several seconds at a time to type into the cell phone and then to receive and read  typed responses, is particularly hazardous.

    Several states, including New York, restrict cell phone use while driving. The law in New York prohibits hand-held mobile telephone use while driving.  However, state cell phone driving laws vary, with some states focusing on cell phone use by novice drivers as the emerging highway safety problem. 

    The benefits to having a cellular phone with you when driving can be great.  According to SafeNY.com, nearly half of all cell phone owners claim to have used car phones to report car trouble, medical emergencies, crimes and drunk or reckless drivers.  When traveling alone, particularly for long stretches on isolated roads or in darkness, cell phones can be a tremendous comfort.  However, it is important to recognize that any task a driver performs while driving can be a potential distraction.  For this reason, I would encourage all drivers to turn off your cell phones, Blackberrys and PDA's while driving, and allow voice mail to pick up your calls during this time.   

    It is important to remember that parents can be the strongest influence on teenage driving habits.   Always set a good example.  Don't drink and drive, obey traffic signs and signals, buckle up, and don't use electronic devices while driving.


What should I know about animal neglect?
     The law requires that animal owners provide their pets with an outdoor shelter appropriate to their breed, physical condition and the climate. Violations of this law, State Agriculture and Markets Law Section 353-b, are punishable by a fine of up to $100 for a first offense and increased fines for further offenses.

     Several factors must be considered to determine whether this law is being violated.

     First, if an animal is large and has thick fur, it may be very happy outside in midwinter, while a small, short-haired breed could become cold quickly. Second, the health of an ill or injured animal may worsen in bad weather; and a very young or very old animal regardless of breed, may also be more vulnerable.

     Third, the shelter must be appropriate to the climate. Inclement weather can involve extremes in temperature, rain, sleet, ice, snow or wind. A shelter must provide sufficient protection for any type of weather. For example, shade and fresh water should be provided on a hot summer day and a shelter must be structurally sound with a waterproof roof and insulation for protection against precipitation and cold.

     Finally, a shelter must also allow an animal to stand, stretch, turn and lie down comfortably and be free of waste, dirt and trash in order to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment.

North Country Animal Shelter: PO Box 813, NY 12953, Phone: 518-483-8079


Images:
Derek Champagne with U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Glenn Suddaby
Judicial Process

 

© 2014 Franklin County, Franklin County