Friday, January 1, 2010

CRIMINAL LAW - NASSAU COUNTY

A recent consultation revealed that the client was arrested and given an appearance ticket to appear at district court. It appeared that the charge was for a violation or at most a misdemeanor. The client was unemployed. I suggested that the client, in lieu of paying an attorney, seek free legal assistance from such organizations as Nassau/Suffolk Law Services, Legal Aid Society of Nassau County or other charities which could assist him. But also note the following about the differences with criminal charges, courtesy of Crotty Saland, LLP:

"Article 10 of the New York State Penal Law defines the following terms:

(1) Offense - Generally, an offense is conduct that is punishable by a term of imprisonment.

(2) Violation - A violation is an offense, not including a traffic infraction, where the potential sentence cannot be greater than fifteen days jail. It is important to note that a violation is not a crime. Therefore, if you plead guilty to a violation you will not have a criminal record as a result of that particular plea.

(3) Misdemeanor - Like a violation, a misdemeanor is an offense that does not include a traffic violation. A potential sentence for a misdemeanor exceeds the fifteen days of a violation, but cannot be greater than one year in jail. Misdemeanors are described as "A" misdemeanors, "B" misdemeanors and "unclassified" misdemeanors. While "A" misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year, "B" misdemeanors are punishable by up to ninety days jail.

(4) Felony - A felony is an offense where the punishment may exceed the one year maximum associated with misdemeanors. Felonies are range from an "E" felony to an "A" felony.

(5) Crime - Again, a violation is not a crime. A crime is either a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have been convicted of a violation such as disorderly conduct, Penal Law 240.20, you would not have a criminal record as a result of that particular plea or conviction."

Since this was the client's first arrest, he would probably be able to plea for an ACD, or Adjournment In Contemplation Of Dismissal, which is an agreement to dismiss or seal the case if you stay out of trouble. Of course, any arrest brings up an issue with disclosure in job applications.

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