Jamestown Criminal Defense Lawyer
Are you being charged with a criminal defense in New York? You need an experienced New York criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact dedicated Jamestown criminal defense lawyer Scott F. Humble for a free consultation. Let his 30+ years of experience work for you.
There are two main types of cases that appear in courts of law: civil cases and criminal cases. While civil cases tend to concern disagreements between two people, especially when one person accuses the other of wrongdoing, criminal cases involve individuals who have allegedly committed illegal acts. In criminal cases, defendants have only one choice in order to prove their innocence: the guidance of an experienced Jamestown criminal defense lawyer. If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a crime in the state of New York, read on to learn more about what you can expect over the course of your upcoming case.
Which Types of Unlawful Activities Count as Crime in New York?
A great many illicit acts fall under the umbrella of criminal activities under New York law. Fraudulent activity is a major category, with embezzlement, extortion, forgery, and money laundering all common cases of criminal deception. Inappropriate actions in public, which include disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and indecent exposure, also count as breaking the law. While it comes as no surprise that murder and manslaughter, both voluntary and involuntary, are considered crime, there are numerous illegal acts that are non-fatal but still of equal weight; textbook examples include battery, domestic violence and spousal abuse, sexual assault, stalking, and mistreatment of minors (abuse, neglect, and pornography). The cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, trafficking, and possession of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are all criminal acts under New York law. Additional examples of criminal activity according to the state penal code are arson, corruption, hate crimes, perjury, and trespassing, among many others.
Even though all the above count as criminal activity, they are not all treated the same in a court of law. There are three levels of criminal acts under New York State’s laws: violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. Though violations are subject to criminal cases, they are not necessarily considered crimes. As such, the maximum sentence for a violation, such as vandalism or exposing another person’s intimate parts, is 15 days in prison and a fine of up to several hundred dollars. Misdemeanors, in contrast, are crimes in the eyes of the law, and the three kinds of misdemeanors (class A, class B, and unclassified) all have different penalties. Common examples of misdemeanors include first-degree harassment and some forms of credit card fraud. Similar to a misdemeanor, a felony comprises several categories (A-I, A-II, B, C, D, and E), and penalties can range from one year to life in prison. Felonies vary widely in scope, including both violent actions such as first-degree murder as well as non-violent offenses such as possession of certain illegal drugs.
How Common Is Crime in New York State and New York City?
Crime in the Empire State, from Long Island to the Canadian border, is at a forty-year low. According to New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, the year 2016 saw 376,676 property and violent crimes reported throughout the state. While this statistic may seem startling, this crime rate is in fact the lowest since 1975. Between 2007 and 2016, the most recent ten years for which data is currently available, the total number property and violent crimes fell to its present level from a high of 460,995 incidents, representing a reduction in crime above 18 percent. The amount of reported crime in New York, both in the five boroughs of New York City and the remaining 57 counties on Long Island and the mainland, has steadily decreased each year since 2012.
The state of New York calculates its annual crime rate by taking into account a mere seven discrete types of criminal activity: aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, murder, rape, and robbery. Over the past ten years, six of these seven major crimes decreased in frequency and overall number across New York State. Following the FBI’s expansion of the legal definition of rape in 2015, the number of cases of this crime did in fact increase, but it is unclear whether this rise is due to the change in definition, a genuine upsurge in occurrences, or some combination of the two. While violent crime (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) decreased a mere 2.6 percent between 2007 and 2016 within New York City itself, there was a more pronounced downtrend of 15.2 percent throughout the rest of New York State. Though the majority of these seven types of crime are more frequent in upstate New York and Long Island, at least half of all violent crimes in the state of New York occur in the five boroughs alone.
How Are Criminal Cases Typically Organized in New York Courts?
The first step of every criminal case is the arraignment, and this event forms the basis of everything to follow. The defendant appears in court, typically with her or his criminal defense attorney also present, and if the defendant cannot afford an attorney, the court will assign one to the defendant. If the defendant agrees to plead guilty, he or she will be sentenced soon after. If the defendant and the criminal defense attorney decide instead to plead not guilty, the case will go to trial.
Before the trial, both the prosecutor and the defendant’s criminal defense attorney will share information with one another in a stage known as discovery. During this period, both sides will attempt to bolster their cases by accumulating evidence and interviewing those who were involved in the crime. Next, the trial will be held in front of a judge or a jury, and the prosecutor will have the duty to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime. If the defendant’s attorney is able to demonstrate that the prosecutor’s argument is incomplete or incorrect, the defendant may be found not guilty.
Experienced Jamestown Criminal Defense Lawyer Fighting For You!
Verdicts in criminal cases often lead to life-altering consequences, whether the sentences involve jail time, probation, community service, fines, or other penalties. Experienced Jamestown criminal defense lawyer Scott Humble has over 30 years of experience helping clients accused of committing crimes in the state of New York, and we would be honored to represent you in court. Schedule a free consultation today with experienced Jamestown criminal defense lawyer Scott Humble today. He will fight tirelessly to ensure that justice prevails in your criminal case.