Being accused of a crime in the Bronx area has the potential to change your life for the worse. You can either spend several years in jail or serve a life sentence. This can create a havoc not only in your life but also in the lives of your loved ones. It is thus important you take necessary steps to defend yourself in court. The first and most important thing you need to do is to understand what you are actually dealing with. This includes knowing which level of crime you are accused of, possible penalties and potential defenses.
Level of Crime Charges in the Bronx
Crime charges in Bronx are based on the New York State Penal Code. Anyone who violates the laws stipulated in the code is said to have committed a criminal offense. The offenses are categorised into felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies involve serious offenses whose sentences exceed one year. Misdemeanors involve offenses for which a judge may impose a sentence of not less than 15 days but not exceeding one year. Felonies are further divided into class A, B, C, D and E. Misdemeanors are divided into class A and B.
Class A felonies consist of major crimes such as terrorism, first-degree murder, drug trafficking and arson in the first degree. Class B involves an attempt to commit a class A felony, insurance fraud in the first degree, bribery in the first degree and grand larceny. Class C includes vehicular assault, manslaughter in the second degree, forgery in the first degree and criminal solicitation in the first degree. Class D and E include reckless endangerment, labor trafficking, coercion, identity theft, unlawful imprisonment and computer trespass.
Class A misdemeanors include sexual misconduct, petit larceny, theft of services and fraudulent accosting. Class B misdemeanors include issuing bad checks, prostitution and loitering.
Possible Penalties for Crimes Committed in the Bronx
Someone convicted of a crime may be sentenced to imprisonment, probation or given a fine during disposition. The judge may issues probation during verdict based on the nature of the crime committed and the history and character of the offender. For class class A and B felonies committed by drug offenders and sexual violators, the period of probation shall be for life. For class A misdemeanors, the probation period shall not exceed six years. For Class B misdemeanors, the period shall be no more than three years.
In scenarios where the judge decides that the offender is not safe for the public, he may issue a prison sentence. A class A felony may attract life imprisonment. Class B and C do not exceed 25 and 15 years respectively. Class D will not go beyond seven years and class E four years. All misdemeanors do not exceed one year.
Once can also be fined for the crime committed. Those with felony charges pay an amount not less than $5,000. A class felony A crime will attract up to $50,000 while class B will not exceed $30,000. A class C will attract $15,000. Those with misdemeanors will pay up to $1,000.
The first thing you need to do when accused of a crime in the Bronx is to look for ways to build your defense. The first issue to look at is the legality of your first encounter with the police. Collect as many details as possible regarding your first experience. If the police did not have a solid basis for detaining you, all the evidence collected must be suppressed, and they will have no case.
Remember that each criminal charge in the Bronx has a different consequence. There are laws and procedures put in place to guide the prosecution process. You need to identify all the facts surrounding the case, including the prosecutor’s evidence and witnesses. You should also research the law and discuss your case with the prosecutor.
There are certain circumstances that can change the course of defense in a criminal case. For instance, people aged below 16 years are considered not criminally responsible for conduct. Those aged 13, 14 and 15 years are only held responsible for conduct if they commit acts related to murder. Anyone who is below 19 years is eligible for the “Youth Offender” treatment in Bronx.
Hire a Qualified Lawyer
The New York justice system is very broad and complicated. There are a lot of procedures involved, from the point of arrest to prosecution. You need someone who has a legal experience by your side during these tough times. A criminal defense lawyer understands all the aspects of criminal law. He knows how to gather critical evidence and identify certain legal loopholes that might boost your defense. Fighting the war knowing who is exactly is in the front-line will yield successful results.
However, not all lawyers have what it takes to represent a client in court and deliver desirable results. You need someone who is skilled and experienced in the field of criminal defense. You also need a lawyer who specializes exclusively in crime-related cases. Those who combine criminal defense with other legal areas such as personal injury and divorce will not give your case the attention it deserves.