Whether you’re guilty of committing a crime or not, understanding how a felony charge will affect your life is crucial. From a record that will follow you forever to strained relationships with loved ones, this is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s also vital to comprehend the different classifications for crime in New York and what factors can influence the sentence you face. Keep reading to learn more about what can impact the severity of a felony charge and how a Rockland County criminal defense attorney can help you navigate these allegations.
What Constitutes a Felony in New York State?
Many states have their own unique ways of classifying and penalizing those facing criminal charges. New York divides criminal offenses by misdemeanors and felonies, with each category containing different classes of crime. Misdemeanors can be classified as Class A or B, while felonies range from Class E to Class A, with A being the most severe. Within these classes, the crimes are divided between violent and non-violent.
Generally, those who commit a crime where the penalty is at least a year in prison can face felony charges. Each class of felony has a maximum sentence of time spent in jail, and generally, it’s known that certain charges can fall into specific classes. For example, rape is almost always a Class B violent felony, which imposes a maximum of 25 years in prison.
There are a number of factors that the courts will take into consideration when charging and sentencing someone with a crime. This is especially relevant to offenses known as “wobblers,” which can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the aggravating factors. These are any circumstances that contribute to the circumstances surrounding a crime. Aggravating factors include the following:
- Whether or not the defendant has a criminal record
- If the crime was motivated by race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation
- What weapons, if any, were used during the crime
- If there was a child present
- Whether or not there was prior planning or premeditation
While these are not the only factors a court will take into consideration when charging someone with a felony, these do play a significant role in determining how severe a criminal charge is.
Do I Need an Attorney?
When facing a criminal conviction, ensuring you enlist the help of an experienced attorney as soon as possible is vital. Unfortunately, a criminal record can have intense ramifications for the rest of your life, so doing what you can to mitigate the consequences and charges against you is vital.
If you’ve been charged with a felony, the Law Offices of Kevin T. Conway is here to help. Our dedicated legal team will do everything in our power to help provide you with the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.