The New York Penal Code describes criminal facilitation in the fourth degree as occurring whenever someone helps another person a crime. According to the New York Penal Code, there are four different variations of criminal facilitation, with criminal facilitation in the fourth degree being considered the least severe. There are two factors that determine whether someone has specifically committed criminal facilitation in the fourth degree. The first factor is whether a person believes that they are helping another person commit a crime. The second factor is whether the person being helped is under the age of 16. If the facilitator is over 18 years old, and the person they are helping is under 16, then the facilitator can be charged with criminal facilitation in the fourth degree.
Examples of Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree
When a person knowingly helps a person commit a crime, by providing them with the means to do so, then it is criminal facilitation in the fourth degree. For instance, if the facilitator drives another person to a location to buy drugs, then the facilitator could be charged in the fourth degree. It’s also worth remembering that if a person is underage when they commit a crime, then a facilitator could also be charged in the fourth degree.
There are many ways in which a person could indirectly help another to commit a crime. If a person gives someone a ride, knowing full well that the person intends to do something illegal upon arrival, then that could be considered criminal facilitation in the fourth degree. In addition, helping underage people to break the law is also one of the most direct ways to be charged with criminal facilitation in the fourth degree.
Defending Against Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree
One of the strongest defenses against this charge is to prove that the facilitator was coerced into helping the unlawful party. This is referred to as a valid duress defense and can offer protection to those who were forced into helping the commission of a crime. If NYC criminal lawyers can prove that their defendant was not acting of their own accord, then they can potentially get these charges dropped.
Aside from a valid duress defense, the other main defense is to question the prosecutor’s evidence. It is not enough for the person who committed the crime to simply claim that they had helped. There must be evidence beyond this testimony that links the person who committed the crime with the facilitator. If that testimony is the only valid evidence that the prosecutor has, then they cannot pursue these charges.
Sentencing for Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree
Since criminal facilitation in the fourth degree is considered a class A misdemeanor, sentencing can involve up to a year of jail time for someone found guilty. In addition to this jail time, someone found guilty could also potentially be forced into probation for up to three years, as well as forced to pay a hefty fine.
Despite not being a felony, criminal facilitation in the fourth degree still carries the possibility of jail time. With that in mind, anyone who is facing these charges should seriously consider contacting knowledgeable legal representatives to handle their case, so that they have the best chance of developing a strong defense.
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