What Are The Differences Between Misdemeanor And Felony Charges?
In New York, misdemeanor charges are typically less serious than felonies and can result in one-year jail sentences, whereas felonies can result in much longer jail sentences. Felony crimes include murder, rape, robbery, burglary, assaults using a weapon, arson, and kidnapping, and I’ve handled the defense of each. Misdemeanor crimes include possession of a small quantity of drugs, simple assault where one person punches the other person and causes a bruise, criminal trespass, shoplifting of items costing less than $1,000, or causing a minimal amount of damage to someone’s property. In New York, there is also something called a violation, which can result in a sentence of up to 14 days in jail. Violations are typically issued for acts of disorderly conduct, trespassing, consuming alcohol in public, or possession of a small amount of marijuana.
How Does The Process Of Bail Work In New York?
If someone has been arrested for a simple misdemeanor crime and has no warrants on their record, then they could just receive a desk appearance ticket, which will list the date of a required court appearance. Typically, these court appearances will be set for one month after the date of the arrest. Most people who receive these do not perceive them to be serious because they are not held in custody, but it is important to remember that from a district attorney’s perspective, a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor – they don’t care whether the person was kept in custody or released.
Desk appearance tickets cannot be issued in misdemeanor domestic violence cases. Instead, anyone who has been arrested on a domestic violence charge must go through an arrest processing system before having an arraignment 12 to 36 hours later. At the arraignment, the judge could set bail, and if the defendant is unable to post it or have a family member post if for them, then they will have to either remain in custody or seek the assistance of a bail bondsman. In New York drug cases, prosecutors will sometimes ask for what’s called surety bail, which means that the source of the money being posted must be verified as “clean” or not associated with drug proceeds. The process of proving this can be very difficult if the prosecutor is not convinced that the money is not drug money. As a result, people can be held in custody for a long time while an investigation proceeds.
The process of posting bail in New York can be tricky, but I have been fortunate enough to get very low bail amounts set for my clients, or else get them released on their own recognizance. The determination of bail depends in part upon the arguments made to the judge during the arraignment. These arguments revolve around whether the defendant is a United States citizen, whether they have ties to the community from which they would be unlikely to flee, and whether or not they have family members who rely upon them. Weaknesses in the prosecution’s case can also be used as arguments for lowering or eliminating bail.
Ultimately, the goal is to humanize the client so that they are not seen simply as a name and a number to the district attorney and judge. In order to do this, we might obtain a proffer session, wherein anything the defendant says cannot be used against them. This session would allow the district attorney to evaluate the defendant on a personal and individual basis. In my experience, this has been very helpful in humanizing the defendant and getting bail amounts lowered.
For more information on Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges In New York, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (212) 766-9779 today.
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