Charged with a Crime in New York?
Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain Charges and Penalties
A criminal conviction can drastically affect the rest of your life. You may face the possibility of jail time, fines and other penalties, and your reputation may be damaged. Additionally, a conviction may prevent you from finding work and/or housing in the future. Since so much hangs in the balance, you should always work a criminal defense lawyer with a history of success. Even innocence is not always an ironclad defense – law enforcement and prosecutors may not care about your side of the story, but will simply focus on getting a conviction. An attorney can work to enforce your rights and expose any misconduct or negligence that may have led to your arrest. In many cases, a good lawyer can get your charges or penalties reduced, minimizing the negative impact on your life.
If you have been arrested or someone you know was taken into police custody, then you should find a lawyer as quickly as possible. No matter what kinds of charges you face, from a misdemeanor to a felony, finding an attorney you trust is essential. To speak with a local New York criminal lawyer today, consult our local listings.
What Are the Basic Types of Criminal Charges?
The type of criminal charge you face may vary depending on the nature of the alleged crime. Although each state has its own specific classifications, the general types of charges are:
- Infraction. An infraction is the least serious type of charge you can face. In fact, some states handle infractions as civil cases, rather than criminal cases. Traffic violations and other minor offenses usually fall into this category. Jail is generally not a possibility for infractions, so you are not entitled to a jury trial and the state will usually not appoint you a lawyer. However, you can still hire one of your own.
- Petty offense. Some states categorize low-level criminal conduct as petty offenses. This may include illegal acts like gambling, disturbing the peace, public indecency, pollution violations and theft of items of low value.
- Misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a more serious charge and county courts typically handle these cases. Common misdemeanor charges include assault, criminal trespass, theft and certain drug crimes, including possession and sale.
- Felony. This is the most serious type of criminal charge and state and/or federal courts usually handle these cases. Common felonies include murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, vehicular homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and certain drug crimes.
In some cases, a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to reduce the severity of the charges you face. If the court reduces your charge from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor, for example, then the repercussions you face may be much less serious.
What Is the Penalty for a Misdemeanor in New York?
Each state has its own system for classifying misdemeanor and felony charges, and penalties may vary as well. New York has three types of misdemeanor offenses: Class A, Class B, and unclassified misdemeanors. The category of unclassified misdemeanors includes both more and less serious offenses.
For each of the three categories:
- Class A misdemeanors may result in no more than one year in jail and no more than $1,000 in fines. Typical Class A crimes include, but are not limited to, petit (petty) larceny, carrying a gun without a permit, second-degree criminal impersonation, unauthorized radio transmission, and third-degree identity theft
- Class B misdemeanors may result in no more than three months in jail and no more than $500 in fines. Typical Class B crimes include, but are not limited to, Issuing a bad check, fortune-telling, prostitution, and unlawful assembly.
- Unclassified misdemeanors include any offense not defined in the Penal law (other than a traffic violation) for which a sentence of imprisonment of greater than 15 days but not in excess of one year may be imposed. Some unclassified misdemeanors include, but are not limited to, aggravated unlicensed driving, driving while intoxicated, and reckless driving.
What Is the Penalty for a Felony in New York?
In New York, a felony is defined as an offense for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year may be imposed.
There are nine categories, some being subcategories to allow for violent and nonviolent circumstances surrounding the incident. Depending on the severity of offense and the degree of potential punishment incurred, penalties can vary from a term of probation to life imprisonment. Additionally, the Penal Law authorizes the imposition of a fine not exceeding the higher of $5,000 or double the amount of the defendant’s gain from commission of the crime.
In New York, felony charges and penalties include:
- 'A' Violent Felony: Life, 20-25 years. This includes crimes such as aggravated enterprise corruption, aggravated murder, arson in the first degree, and conspiracy in the first degree
- 'B' Violent Felony: 5-25 years. This includes crimes such as gang assault in the first degree, assault in the first degree, aggravated assault upon a police officer or a peace officer, attempted murder in the second degree, and manslaughter in the first degree.
- 'B' Non Violent Felony: 1-3, Max 25 years. Includes crimes such as conspiracy in the second degree, criminal facilitation in the first degree, aggravated vehicular homicide, criminal mischief in the first degree, and grand larceny in the first degree.
- 'C' Violent Felony: 3 1/2 to 15 years. Includes crimes such as aggravated criminally negligent homicide, aggravated manslaughter in the second degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree, strangulation in the first degree, burglary in the second degree, and robbery in the second degree
- 'C' Non Violent Felony: No Jail, Probation, 1-2 years to 15 years. Includes crimes such as the attempt to commit class B felony, criminal solicitation in the first degree, criminal facilitation in the second degree, aggravated vehicular assault, and vehicular manslaughter in the first degree.
- 'D' Violent Felony: 2-7 years. Includes crimes such as reckless assault of a child, assault in the second degree, menacing a police officer or peace officer, and stalking in the first degree.
- 'D' Non Violent Felony: No Jail, Probation, 1-3 to 7 years. Includes crimes such as criminal solicitation in the second degree, conspiracy in the third degree, vehicular assault in the first degree, and reckless endangerment in the first degree.
- 'E' Violent Felony: No Jail, Probation, 1 1/2 to 4 years. Includes crimes such as persistent sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse in the fourth degree, and falsely reporting an incident in the second degree.
- 'E' Non Violent Felony: No Jail, Probation, 1 1/3 to 4 years. Includes crimes such as criminal solicitation in the third degree, conspiracy in the fourth degree, criminal facilitation in the third degree, and reckless assault of a child by a child day care provider.
Additionally, many factors are involved in sentencing, which often consult circumstances such as prior convictions that the defendant may have, and the age of the defendant (juvenile/youthful offender frequently resulting in leaner sentences, for instance).
Need a New York Criminal Defense Lawyer? We Can Help
If you are facing any level of criminal charge, then a qualified lawyer may be essential to protecting your future. Additionally, if someone you know is currently in police custody, then you may wish to reach out to a lawyer on his or her behalf. To find a New York criminal defense lawyer in your area, then consult our attorney listings. If you have general question about criminal law or certain charges, then do not hesitate to ask the lawyers.