Criminal offenses are divided into two categories, felonies and misdemeanors. There is a third category of offense called a violation which, although defined in the penal law as unlawful conduct, is not a criminal offense.
A felony is a crime which is punishable by more than one (1) year in a state prison. This does not mean that one convicted of a felony must be sentenced to more than 1 year and there are felonies that carry minimum sentences that do not involve incarceration at all. A felony is prosecuted by indictment, which is a written statement of charges, at least one of which is a felony, voted by a grand jury after they hear evidence which establishes that a crime was committed and there is reason to believe that the defendant committed the crime.
A misdemeanor is a crime which is punishable by up to one (1) year in a local jail. Again, this does not mean that one convicted of a misdemeanor must be sentenced to 1 year, and there are misdemeanors that carry sentences with a maximum of 6 months and all carry a minimum that involves no jail at all.
A violation is an offense that is a not a crime punishable by up to 15 days in a local jail. Most defendants convicted of a violation are not sentenced to any jail at all.
Whether you are charged with a felony, misdemeanor or violation or whether this is your first time charged, or you are prosecuted as a repeat offender, you have the right to be represented by an attorney to challenge the allegations against you. In representing you in a criminal case, I will bring my over 30 years of experience to protect your rights during this adversarial process and work for you to bring about a just resolution by a plea disposition or by taking the case to trial. While no attorney can guarantee the results of a criminal case, I can promise you the zealous representation you deserve.