Assault covers a range of crimes in New York, from misdemeanors to serious felonies. The charge will generally be more serious where there is more serious injury, a weapon was used and/or the injury was intended. Harassment, which is a violation and not a crime, is often charged with Assault. Unlike Assault, Harassment does not require a physical injury. There are many possible defenses to Assault, and the best defense will depend on the facts of the case.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a crime and can result in a permanent criminal. A driver can generally be charged with DWI for a blood alcohol content level of at least .08 % or for refusing a chemical test. Depending on the facts, DWI can be a misdemeanor, felony, or a traffic infraction known as Driving While Ability Impaired. We are here to help you understand the charges and possible penalties for DWI-related crimes and help prepare your best defense.
There are two types of weapons possession crimes in New York. The most common involves per se weapons: guns and several styles of knives and other weapons that are listed in the law. The other may be charged in connection with the unlawful use of any object against another person. Weapons possession crimes may be misdemeanors or felonies, and may be charged with other crimes such as Assault and Robbery. Most weapons possession crimes involving guns carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
“Domestic Violence” covers a wide range of crimes wherein the accused and the complaining witness are related by blood or marriage. In New York, the most commonly charged Domestic Violence crimes include Assault, Harassment, Contempt, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Criminal Mischief, Strangulation, Larceny, and Robbery. The degree of the charges, whether a violation, misdemeanor or felony, depends entirely on the facts of each case and the charged crimes.
Most Forcible Touching and Sexual Abuse crimes are misdemeanors, but in some situations, these two crimes are felonies. In addition, some Forcible Touching and Sexual Abuse crimes may trigger mandatory registration with the Sexual Offender Registry. While it may be possible to reduce the two crimes to non-criminal outcomes, prosecutors take these crimes seriously and often push for those charged with Forcible Touching or Sexual Abuse to attend sexual offender treatment programs.
A Felony Sex Crime conviction carries serious consequences including a possible mandatory prison sentence, burdensome terms of post-release supervision and registration as a Sex Offender. However, an arrest for an allegation of Rape, Criminal Sexual Act, Sexual Abuse or Aggravated Sexual Abuse doesn’t necessarily mean a conviction. The advice of a skilled and aggressive defense attorney early in an accusation of a Felony Sex Crime may make all the difference.
In New York, a person may be issued a Desk Appearance Ticket—or DAT—to appear in court at a later date rather than be arraigned within 24 hours of arrest. The DAT return date, usually 30 to 90 days in the future, gives a defense attorney the advantage of a head start in working on your case. If you’ve been issued a DAT, don’t delay in contacting a defense attorney, whether the alleged crime involves, theft, assault, drug or marijuana possession or another crime.
This misdemeanor theft crime, also referred to petty larceny, is generally charged when the property alleged to have been stolen is valued at $1,000 or less. In New York, Petit Larceny is most commonly charged for shoplifting, but can be charged in connection with alleged theft of any property. Petit Larceny may even be charged instead of the felony crime Grand Larceny in shoplifting or other theft cases wherein the property value does not greatly exceed $1,000.
In New York, Grand Larceny is a felony crime and is charged when the value of property alleged to have been stolen is more than $1,000, the property is taken directly from a person or the property is a credit or debit card. There are several felony degrees of Grand Larceny, determined by the value of the property allegedly stolen. Even if Grand Larceny is charged, it is often possible to reduce the charges to a lesser crime, a violation or even a dismissal.
A wide array of drugs—from narcotics and hallucinogens to concentrated marijuana—are covered under New York’s controlled substance possession and sale laws. Drug possession laws range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on quantity. However, sale of even the smallest amount of any drug is considered a felony—even a single pill. The most common drug possession and sale charges in New York involve cocaine, crack, heroin, ecstasy and prescription painkillers.
Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, which may be a misdemeanor or a felony, requires only that a person possess stolen property. The charge may be sustained whether or not there is evidence of how the property was acquired. Criminal Possession of Stolen Property may be charged alone, but is more often charged in combination with Larceny. The degree of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property charged is determined by the value of the property allegedly possessed.
Common forms of Forged Instruments in New York include fake identification, altered credit cards, counterfeit tickets, counterfeit money and fake license plates. However, mere possession is not sufficient to support a conviction: the defendant must have known that the item was forged and possessed it with intent to deceive. The seriousness of the charge is determined by the type of instrument alleged to have been forged, and may be a misdemeanor or a felony.
Burglary is a felony in New York, whereas Trespass is usually charged as a misdemeanor. Burglary involves trespass into a building with an intent to commit a crime inside. The degree of Burglary charged depends on factors such as the type of building and whether weapons are involved. Trespass is charged when a person is found in a place that is off limits, such as beyond the subway turnstile without paying a fare, in a park after closing or on a rooftop where access is barred.
Robbery, which is prosecuted vigorously in New York, is similar to Larceny. However, a Robbery charge requires one additional element: the use of actual force or the threat of force to steal property. The degree of force may be slight, but force must be present. All of the degrees of Robbery are felonies. The two most serious degrees, both of which involve firearms, carry mandatory minimum prison sentences and mandatory periods of post-release supervision.
Identity Theft, which involves assuming the identity of another person for personal gain or to cause financial harm, ranges from low-level misdemeanors to serious felonies in New York. Assuming the identity of another person takes many forms, including using another person’s credit card number or other identifying information. The seriousness of the crime usually depends on the value of the alleged information appropriated or the money obtained using the stolen identity.
Following an arrest, arraignment is the first crucial step in the criminal process. In some cases, if the crime is considered low level and the person arrested has valid identification, a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) may be issued, which means that arraignment is scheduled for a later date. At the arraignment, the charges are filed and bail may be set. In some cases the prosecutor may make an offer to resolve the case. If no offer is made or no resolution is reached another court date will be set.
Unfortunately, New York has not followed the national trend of decriminalizing marijuana. In New York, possession and/or sale of marijuana remains a crime with one exception: possession of a small amount of marijuana not burning is a violation. The specific charge depends on both the amount of marijuana possessed and the circumstances of the possession. However, marijuana possession and sale are generally not treated as harshly as alleged drug crimes in New York.
Former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Andrew M. Stengel provides aggressive representation for misdemeanors and felonies in New York City, Westchester, Nassau and the surrounding counties.
If you have never been arrested before—and even if you have—you deserve an experienced criminal lawyer who will go above and beyond: to devote an extraordinary amount of energy on your case and take the time to explain the criminal process to you and answer every question that you have. Whether the charge is Driving While Intoxicated, Assault, related to Domestic Violence, Possession of a Weapon, Sale / Possession of a Controlled Substance or Marijuana, Forcible Touching, to name just a few, Andrew M. Stengel is that criminal defense attorney.