An experienced New York City criminal defense attorney is critical any time you are accused of a crime. This is true irrespective of what the crime is classified as. The New York Penal Code divides different kinds of crimes into different categories. The biggest distinction within the Penal Code is whether the particular crime charged is a misdemeanor or whether it is a felony. A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by no more than one year in jail, whereas a felony is a crime punishable by more than one year in jail. The next biggest distinction is whether the crime is considered a "violent" crime or a "non-violent" crime. The application of whether a crime is violent or non-violent legally only matters within the context of felonies. As will be explained below, all misdemeanors are treated the same way in terms of sentencing structure. Moreover, the designation of whether a crime is "violent" has little to do with the circumstances of the case itself and has more to do with whether the New York legislature classified the particular charge as a violent one or not. For example, Robbery in the First and Second Degree are considered "violent," whereas Robbery in the Third Degree is considered "non-violent." So anytime a person is charged with Robbery in the First or Second Degree, that person is charged with a "violent" crime regardless of the specific facts or allegations. Conversely, any time a person is charged with Robbery in the Third Degree, that person is not charged with a violent crime.
The significance of whether a person is charged with a violent crime occurs after the person has already been convicted of the crime. To put it in its most basic form, violent crimes have the potential to carry stiffer penalties than other crimes. However, any criminal conviction, whether "violent" or "non-violent," is serious and the ramifications to the person's life are immense. Misdemeanors, although considered crimes, do not bear these distinctions. Misdemeanors fall into two categories: class A and class B misdemeanors. All class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail. All class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail. A judge has absolute discretion to sentence anyone, irrespective of their criminal record, to any amount below that if they are charged with a misdemeanor. The judge may even issue a sentence of "time served." One important thing to note is that a person who is charged with a B misdemeanor is not entitled to a jury trial if that is the highest level of crime he is charged with. That means that a judge is going to be the trier of fact in that case.
Below is a list of crimes, both misdemeanors and felonies, that don't neatly fall into categories like "drug crimes," or "white-collar crimes." However, these crimes can be just as serious and they bear discussion. Many of these crimes were enacted to proscribe behavior that some may consider immoral. Crimes against prostitution and soliciting a prostitute come to mind. Other crimes listed below address behavior that is considered a disturbance of the peace. Disorderly Conduct falls into this category. Other crimes like "Resisting Arrest" and "Escape" are also listed.
Click below for a more detailed explanation regarding these crimes. If you, or a loved one, is accused of any crime, do not hesitate to contact John Buza for a free consultation.