How many of us have headed East for vacation and zoned out on I-90 in New York, forgetting to keep an eye on the speedometer, only to fall prey to a lurking New York traffic cop? Worse yet, how many of us have had our bachelor parties in the Empire State go very, very wrong? (Umm… not me, of course…) This week’s blog post comes from Adam Rosenblum, a New York and New Jersey attorney with plenty of experience handling criminal and traffic violation cases for unlucky Ohio travelers.
What Happens If An Ohio Resident Is Charged With A Crime Or Traffic Violation In New York.
Seeing the red and blue lights or having a run-in with the police can be a pretty unpleasant experience, especially when you are from out of town. Ohio residents often visit New York to vacation, visit family or take in the sights of the big city. However, during certain busy times such as the holidays, it’s not uncommon for an Ohio resident to have a brush with the famous New York Police Department.
New York’s criminal justice system is quite complex and there are many rules and guidelines that the average person does not know. If you happen to be an Ohio resident visiting New York this article should help you understand how to handle a run-in with the law.
What Are My Rights If I Am Being Arrested Or Charged With A Crime In New York?
If you are being arrested you should first remember that you have a right to remain silent in any situation with the police. The only information that is required is providing them with identification upon request. If you remain silent you are making it harder for the prosecutor and the police to build a case against you. If they do not have enough information or evidence to build a case against you, then you can move for having the case completely dismissed. Once you are under arrest or being interrogated by the police, tell the officer that “I am exercising my right to remain silent”.
If you believe you are in trouble with the law you also have an absolute right to defend yourself. Your first call is finding an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you. If you cannot afford one then you will be provided a public defender.
A defense attorney is in the best position to examine the facts of your case and keep you informed on what charges you are facing and what your options are. Moreover, a criminal defense attorney will be able to help navigate you through the process and represent you in front of a judge.
What Is The Difference Between A Felony, Misdemeanor And A Violation?
Crimes or offenses in New York State are categorized into three separate classifications based on the seriousness of the crime and the penalty or sentencing guidelines involved. The most serious crimes are considered felonies and are punishable over a year in prison to a life sentence. New York does not practice capital punishment or the death penalty for a felony. Examples of felony crimes in New York include arson, manufacturing or possessing large quantities of drugs, fraud, rape, murder, shoplifting, burglary, etc. Violent felonies generally carry harsher penalties than nonviolent offenses.
Misdemeanors are considered lesser criminal acts than felonies and carry lesser penalties. The maximum punishment allowed for a New York misdemeanor is 1 year. Examples of misdemeanors in New York include simple assault, public intoxication, simple drug possession, petty theft and prostitution. Misdemeanors are still considered crimes and will result in a criminal record.
With misdemeanors, the courts have more flexibility to punish individuals using other methods like heavier fines, community service, probation, monitoring devices or limited jail sentences. If you have prior convictions on your criminal record then the judge will be less inclined to use these measures and will likely impose a jail sentence. An attorney can help negotiate the best outcome when it comes to sentencing for misdemeanors in New York.
A violation is an offense where the potential jail sentence cannot be greater than fifteen days. Violations are not considered criminal and as such you will not have a criminal record for a violation however there are fines that can be imposed. Examples of violations in New York include speeding tickets, trespassing, unlawful posting of advertisements, loitering, public intoxication, low levels of marijuana possession, failing to respond to a ticket.
Should I Contact An Attorney If I Am Charged With A Crime Or Given A Traffic Violation?
A licensed New York attorney can help advise you of your charges and give you the best course of action in helping you handle your legal matter. A lawyer can fight on your behalf to make sure you get the best outcome possible given the charges you are facing. An experienced criminal defense attorney will work to have the charges brought down to the lowest level possible and in some cases dismissed altogether.
If the prosecution presents an offer that exposes you to a penalty, an attorney will be able to recognize and advise you on whether you should accept the offer. If the prosecution does not have the evidence to support the traffic violation charges you are facing, an attorney can take your case to trial and show a jury that you are not guilty of the charges.