If you have been accused of a crime in New York, chances are that you and your family are frightened, upset, and confused. You may not understand what the charges mean, or sometimes even know what you are being charged with. Criminal law in the state of New York is quite complicated, and your best bet at navigating those waters is to seek out a qualified New York criminal lawyer.
New York Criminal Law Includes:
If you or a family member has been charged with any of these New York crimes, you probably want to know what kind of punishment is attached. Though any number of factors are taken into account when deciding on punishment, and the best way to get an accurate assessment is to seek out a qualified New York criminal lawyer, there is a “formula” of sorts that you can use to get an idea of the potential penalties.
New York Criminal Law – Offense Levels
The first thing you need to figure out is the offense level for that particular crime. From most serious to least serious, New York criminal law organizes crimes like so:
A1 Felonies include what are generally considered the “worst” crimes, such as first and second degree murder, and kidnapping, first degree arson, possession, and the sale of a controlled substance. Violations, in contrast, are far less serious crimes, such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, loitering, and failing to respond to an appearance ticket.
Once you know the offense level of the crime for which you are being charged, you need to determine your own criminal history. If you have never been convicted of a crime – anywhere – then you should qualify for the “no priors” category. However, a New York criminal attorney can tell you that the New York system is a complicated one where convictions in other states and even other countries can negatively affect your status in New York, although Youthful Offender findings don’t count as convictions. Obviously, the more previous convictions you have on your record, and the more serious those convictions are, the higher the potential punishment you will face. The best way to obtain an accurate assessment is to work with a qualified New York criminal attorney.
Just to get an idea of the potential punishment you or a loved one might face, conviction for a B violent felony could mean up to 25 years in prison. If you have no priors, the minimum is 5 years in prison; a non-violent prior conviction raises that minimum to 8 years of imprisonment, and for a violent crime, you will face a minimum of 10 years of jail time. Prior convictions have little effect on the punishment you face for lesser offenses such as misdemeanors and violations, however; the maximum jail time for any violation is 15 days, and the maximum for class B and A misdemeanors is 90 days and 1 year, respectively.
Get Help from an Experienced New York Criminal Lawyer
The only way to know for sure where you stand with your specific set of circumstances, though, is to work with an experienced New York criminal lawyer who is familiar with the ins and out of such a complicated system. If you still have questions, contact a qualified New York criminal lawyer today.
By Eric Sachs