Protecting the Legal Rights of Individuals Accused of Misdemeanors in New York
Criminal offenses in the state of New York are divided into two categories – misdemeanors and felonies. Because misdemeanors are considered less serious offenses, many people are under the mistaken impression that they do not need to fight a misdemeanor case or that a conviction cannot result in significant legal penalties. In reality, any allegations of criminal misconduct are a serious issue that could potentially result in significant legal penalties, including fines, probation, community service, and even jail time. In addition, if you are convicted of a criminal offense, you will have a criminal record that can hold you back both personally and professionally. For these reasons, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible after you have been accused of a crime.
New York Misdemeanor Charges
The state of New York has criminalized a wide variety of conduct. Some examples of misdemeanor offenses include the following:
- Sexual misconduct
- Issuing a bad check
- Reckless endangerment of property
- Public lewdness
- Creating a hazard
- Unlawful assembly
- Theft of services
- Fortune telling
- Issuing a false financial statement
- Misapplication of property
- False advertising
- Inciting to riot
- Reckless driving
New York Misdemeanor Penalties
New York misdemeanor offenses are grouped into 3 categories – Class A, Class B, and those that are unspecified. The penalties associated with a misdemeanor conviction depend on the severity of the offenses. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, and can be punished with up to one year in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000. Class B misdemeanors, on the other hand, are punishable by up to 3 months in jail and fines of not more than $500. Finally, unspecified offenses have their maximum penalties included in the law that defines the offense.
A Criminal Defense Attorney can be of Assistance
Fortunately for people who have been accused of a misdemeanor offense, there are often many defenses available. When you retain a skilled attorney, he or she will thoroughly evaluate your case and identify any procedural or substantive weaknesses that may exist in the prosecution’s case against you. Some of the more commonly raised defenses include the following:
- Self-Defense – This defense is raised in response to allegations of violent crimes such as assault. Generally, it involves establishing that the defendant’s use of force was justified as a response to another’s use of force or threat of the use of force. Whether or not a particular use of force was justified or unjustified is based on a variety of factors, so it is important for anyone considering raising the issue of self-defense to speak with an experienced attorney.
– Perhaps the most well-known criminal defense strategy, establishing an alibi means introducing evidence that the defendant was in a different place at the time during which the crime was committed. The kinds of evidence used to establish an alibi can include cell phone location data, eyewitness accounts, and surveillance footage, among others.
- Alleging constitutional violations – Most criminal cases are based on evidence that is gathered against the defendant through the course of an investigation conducted by law enforcement. There are significant legal limits and what police officers (and other state actors) can and cannot do during the course of an investigation, and any violations occur can be the basis for a motion to suppress evidence. If evidence is successfully suppressed, it means that it cannot be used against you in court, often significantly weakening the state’s case.
An attorney can have a significant impact even in cases in which there is no legal defense available. Most cases, in fact, are resolved through the plea bargain negotiation process, in which the defendant pleads guilty to a less serious offense or in exchange for the prosecutor recommending the judge impose a reduced sentence. Importantly, many prosecutors will not negotiate directly with a defendant, making it essential to retain an attorney in order to receive a plea bargain arrangement.
Call Hirsch & Hirsch, LLP Today for a Free Consultation with a New York Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of a misdemeanor criminal offense in the state of New York, do not make the mistake of trying to handle the matter alone. In many cases, the assistance of a skilled New York criminal defense lawyer can have a significant impact on the way a case is resolved and may even result in the entire case against you being dismissed. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 516-486-8500 or send us an email through our online contact form.