Does The Punishment Fit The Crime?
Most United States citizens have some level awareness of the law. Most likely, the average person knows that driving eighty miles per hour in Madison County while you’re in in a sixty-five mile per hour zone, by the book, is a traffic violation that could earn the speeder a ticket. Most know that driving while intoxicated is a crime, and most will know that different crimes will carry different punishments. Whether you’re in Madison County, Cortland County, Onondaga County or anywhere else in the State of New York the potential punishment changes depending upon what you’re accused of.
Varying crimes will carry different levels of fines, surcharges, probation or jail. If you commit certain nuisance type offenses in Madison County, you may only be charged with a violation. Other than the more serious violations like DWAI, UPM or Harassment these charges are generally traffic related, noise complaints or public disorder issues. Common violations that are not traffic tickets include possession of alcohol by a minor or unlawful possession of marijuana. In most cases, a first time violation conviction results in a monetary fine and maybe some community service but for the most part it will not result in jail or other severe punishments. The exception this type of leniency is a conviction for driving while ability impaired by alcohol (DWAI) or unlawful possession of marijuana (UPM) both of which can carry significant collateral consequences that can affect a person’s ability to drive, obtain employment or apply for federal student aid.
One step up from a violation is the misdemeanor class of offenses. Misdemeanors in Madison County or anywhere in New York State are categorized in three levels: class A, class B, and unclassified. Crimes such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) and Petit larceny, class A misdemeanors, carry maximum punishments of one year in jail and a $1000 in fines. Class B misdemeanors will have maximum penalties of three months in jail and $500 in fines. Punishments for unclassified misdemeanors are specific to the law that defines the offense.
Felony crimes are the largest and most broad category of crime in New York State. There are several classes of felony charges and there can be wide variation within each level. Violent, class A felonies, including murder in the first degree, may carry a life sentences or sentences of twenty to twenty-five years.
Class B felonies are split into two categories, “Violent” and “Non-Violent”. A violent class B felony charge, if convicted, could result in a prison sentence of five to twenty-five years in prison. If convicted with a non-violent class B felony, a sentence of one to three years with a maximum of twenty-five years could be issued.
Felony crimes that are categorized as class C, D, and E, are also split into “Violent” and “non-violent” charges. A violent class C felony has a potential prison sentence of three-and-a-half years in prison sentence with a maximum of fifteen years. A non-violent class C felony conviction may see probation over a one to fifteen-year sentence. While a violent class D felony may carry a prison sentence of two to seven years, a person convicted of a non-violent class D felony or a non-violent class E felony may receive probation, a local jail sentence or in some cases a conditional discharge.
These sentences can vary depending on the type of offense (sex crime or drug offense), the offender’s age at the time of the commission of the crime or the offender’s eligibility for certain programs that may warrant early release.
Regardless of the crime that you, or a loved one, have been accused of, consult an experienced defense attorney. An experienced defense attorney, that knows the law, may be able to assist you in reaching the best possible outcome for your legal troubles. If you have any questions or concerns give us a call and let us show you what a difference the experience at Team Green Lawyers can make.