When I started my practice I pretty much took any case that walked in the door.   I soon discovered that there were some areas of law I enjoyed a lot more than others and where I was happier with the quality of my work.  (The two do go together.)   The bulk of my practice is in criminal defense and Family Court.  I limit my practice to Otsego and Delaware Counties.

             I have been doing criminal defense work for almost 40 years and have handled thousands of cases.  In that time I have handled almost every imaginable case from speeding tickets to major felonies, including murder, kidnapping, and child abuse.  I have done many jury trials in my career with good results.  I am familiar with the local judges and district attorneys and enjoy a courteous, professional relationship with all.  Over the years I have taken many Continuing Legal Education courses to stay on top of the law.

             Since 1992, I have been appointed as a Special District Attorney when the District Attorney’s office in a county has been disqualified from handling a case.  I have handled over 50 of these cases in three different counties, presenting cases to Grand Juries, and trying a number of felony cases.  Because of this experience, I am better able to put myself in a prosecutor’s shoes when I examine a case for a client, and have a better idea how a District Attorney might view the case.

             The first thing I do when handling criminal defense cases is meet with my client and review all the paperwork.  Information is key.  Discussing the case and reviewing the paperwork is the only way that I can see what the options are for handling the case.  Some cases are best handled with a plea bargain.  Others call for an aggressive defense including extensive document preparation, motions, and a jury trial.  Often, I will not have a definite opinion of which is best option until I have gotten other information, like witness statements and police reports.

             During all stages of a case I keep my client up to date on what is happening.  Clients receive copies of all correspondence and motion papers.  If an offer is made to settle the case by the District Attorney, I will promptly discuss it with my client, including the advantages and disadvantages of accepting an offer.  I am always willing to answer questions either in person,  on the phone, or by email.  The choice of a plea bargain or trial is ALWAYS up to the client.

Thomas Hegeman

Attorney at Law

8-12 Dietz St., Suite 204, Oneonta, NY 13820

Office:  607-432-7952

Fax:      607-432-7987