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If you or one of your loved ones is in trouble, then your best option is to find a criminal lawyer today. We have a highly trained team of trusted criminal lawyers who will fight your case and work their hardest for you. If you are in trouble, then find a lawyer immediately. The quicker you act, the better your chance of getting the charges dropped or lessened. All of our lawyers are highly trained and have won numerous cases. If you've been charged with a serious crime, then your future could be in jeopardy, and you are in desperate need of a highly trained and trusted New York State criminal lawyer.
Do You Need an Attorney for State Charges?
New York State is often considered a safe place to live, but unfortunately, crime happens everywhere. Whenever a crime occurs, a good criminal lawyer is needed. Criminal lawyers offer their clients many options; They counsel their clients, explain to them all of their options, ensure that their clients receive a fair and complete trial, and fight for their rights.
The right criminal lawyer can also help lessen the punishment their clients might receive. An experienced defense attorney can help get you a smaller and less severe penalty for your crime, so that you can get back to your life as quickly as possible and put your indiscretions behind you.
We can help you with DWI charges
If you aren't sure whether or not you need a defense attorney, then call a lawyer now and set up a free consultation. Choosing a lawyer who specializes in your type of charge is imperative for you to receive a less severe sentence. Some of the most common reasons clients hire criminal lawyers are for DWI and DUI arrests, drug charges, sex crimes and domestic abuse. Find the right criminal lawyer in New York state that has dealt with these issues. They are highly trained in all aspects of defense law and can help you fight your case. A great criminal lawyer is willing to help any client, and promise to be there for their clients throughout their entire trial and possible sentencing.
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Are You Being Charged with Committing a Crime in New York?
Being arrested for and charged with criminal activity in New York is an intimidating experience. Few people have the intimate knowledge of crimes and the criminal defense that is possessed by experienced lawyers in New York. Therefore, when facing criminal charges, it is essential that you understand both the charges against you and their potential ramifications – and that you seek the advice of a New York criminal defense lawyer.
Every criminal law in effect at the state level can be found in The New York Penal Code. While the statutes found in the Penal Code cover a broad and varied range of crimes, it is important to realize that every federal statute is also applicable within the state. Therefore, if you are charged with any crime in New York, it could be under either state or federal law – and criminal defense lawyers in New York often represent clients under both systems.
Specifically, with regard to New York, all crimes are divided into two categories. The less grave crimes are referred to as misdemeanors, while more serious crimes are designated as felonies. The most important difference between these two categories is that misdemeanors cannot be punished by more than one year in jail, while all felonies require a minimum one year sentence.
Misdemeanors and felonies are further broken down into classifications. A misdemeanor is either a Class A, Class B, or Unclassified Misdemeanor. Each of these classifications has a minimum and maximum sentence, but even the most serious misdemeanors – Class A offenses – are punishable by a maximum of one year in county jail.
Felonies are classified into five different categories and two subcategories. The broad categories are Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E, and Class A felonies can be further subcategorized as either Class A-I or Class A-II.
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Five Common Crimes Charged in New York
Crimes in New York are not designated only as felonies or misdemeanors. Each crime is also labeled as either a violent offense or a property offense, and it can also be a crime to attempt to carry out criminal actions or activities. Additionally, individuals may be charged with statutory crimes because of criminal activity that is determined just by violation of the statute. The most common crimes in New York fall into all of these categories.
Driving While Under the Influence
The prohibition on driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York is similar to that of other states. For instance, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits in New York are 0.08% for individuals 21 or older, 0.04% for operators of commercial vehicles, and 0.02% for those under the age of 21. However, New York also has a separate offense called aggravated DWI, which is brought against individuals found to be operating a vehicle with a BAC at or above 0.18%.
New York imposes both criminal and administrative penalties for a conviction of DWI. Criminal penalties are based on circumstances surrounding the specific episode of DWI, including the driver’s BAC, whether other reckless behavior was involved and, most importantly, whether the driver has any prior convictions for DWI within the applicable “look-back” period.
Many people who have accumulated multiple offenses choose to engage a NY DWI lawyer because the potential punishments for repeat offenses are harsher and because the applicable timeframe for considering previous DWIs, referred to as the look-back period, is fungible and depends on the circumstances surrounding your DWI.
First-time DWI offenders in New York are guilty of a misdemeanor and they are typically punished through administrative penalties and community service; however, New York law is particularly harsh on individuals who operate a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance and those who have a BAC of 0.18% or higher. These actions can result in a maximum of one year in jail.
A second DWI offense within the applicable look-back period becomes a felony; but, in many instances, it is eventually charged as a misdemeanor. The usual sentence is a minimum of five days in jail or 30 days of community service. The maximum punishment for a second offense is four years in prison, but this sentence is only imposed for the most egregious DWI situations.
Similarly, a third DWI offense within the look-back period is considered a felony DWI, but it can be charged as a lesser offense. Upon conviction, the minimum criminal punishment is 15 days in jail or 60 days of community service, but the worst offenders can receive a seven-year prison sentence.
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In New York, it is a crime to enter the dwelling or other building of another person without permission. This is called trespassing. When an individual trespasses with the intent to commit a separate crime inside the building, it becomes burglary.
Both elements – trespassing and the intent to commit another crime inside the building – are necessary to charge an individual with burglary. However, in New York, the actor does not need to successfully complete the intended crime for his offense to be considered burglary.
Under the rules defining the crime of burglary, New York law specifies three distinct burglary classifications which are guided by specific circumstances. In determining classification, these factors are considered:
The most serious charge is burglary in the first degree, and it is a Class B offense in New York. Burglary in the second degree is a Class C offense, and burglary in the third degree – the least serious – is a Class D offense.
Burglary in the first degree is punishable by a minimum of one year and a maximum of 25 years in prison. These four factors lead to charges of burglary in the first degree:
While burglary in the second degree is less serious than the first-degree burglary, its maximum sentence is still lengthy and harsh. As a Class C felony, burglary in the second degree is punishable by a minimum of one year, up to a maximum of 15 years, in prison. The circumstances that comprise a second-degree burglary are the same as those of a burglary in the degree, except that the circumstances are less severe or the injury is less heinous. Some discretion is allowed for a New York prosecutor to decide whether to charge an individual with either first- or second-degree burglary.
Burglary in the third degree acts as a catchall provision. It includes all of the less serious burglaries that fail to meet the height requirements of second-degree burglary. As a Class D felony, the potential penalty for burglary in the third degree ranges from one to seven years in prison.
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New York prohibits all manner of sexual abuse, unlawful sexual contact, and rape. Several separate statutes criminalize unlawful sexual behavior, and these offenses range from misdemeanors to Class A felonies. One of the most common sex crimes is sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse is defined under New York law as non-consensual sexual contact, and three degrees of sexual abuse are defined within the New York Penal Code. The least severe of these is third-degree sexual abuse, which is a Class B misdemeanor. Sexual abuse is usually charged at the third-degree level unless the abuse itself and the surrounding circumstances meet the specific criteria of second-degree and first-degree sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor. This heightened charge is considered appropriate when sexual abuse involves either a minor under the age of 14 or a minor under the age of 17 who is unable to consent. Sexual abuse in the first degree is a Class D felony, and an offender will be charged with sexual abuse in the first degree if it occurred:
More egregious instances of sexual assault are charged as aggravated sexual assault, which can be charged in the first, second, third, or fourth degree. Those felonies are Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E, respectively. Conviction of the least serious offense – fourth-degree aggravated sexual abuse – will result in a sentence falling between a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of four years. An individual convicted of the most serious offense – first-degree aggravated sexual abuse – will incur a prison sentence of from 5 to a maximum of 25 years.
Certain sex crimes, such as aggravated sexual abuse of a child or rape, are considered especially grave and require the advice and representation of a sex crimes lawyer in New York who has handled substantially similar defenses.
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Several laws in the New York Penal Code criminalize homicide. By definition, homicide is the killing of another person. However, under New York law, murder is the intentional killing of another person. Therefore, in New York – as in most states – murder and homicide are not synonyms. In fact, although New York law addresses multiple types of homicide, murder is the most serious and substantial of those crimes.
Three separate murder charges are contemplated in New York law. These distinct charges are separated based on the: heinous nature of the murder, nature of the killing, circumstances that led to the killing, and even the identity of the victim. A conviction for the lesser murder charge – murder in the second degree – requires a minimum prison sentence of 15 years and may result in a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Five separate circumstances warrant a second-degree murder charge. They are:
Aggravated murder is a heightened murder charge that falls between second and first-degree murder. Only two actions warrant an aggravated murder charge, which is punishable by life in prison without parole. The first is killing a police officer or correctional employee, and the second is killing a child by torture. These circumstances are more substantial causes for concern which require a separate charge from second-degree murder.
Lastly, murder in the first degree is the most serious criminal offense under New York law and one of only three capital offenses in the state. The other two capital crimes in New York are treason and arson. New York law allows only three possible sentences for defendants who are convicted of murder in the first degree. Those sentences are death, life in prison, and a prison term of 20-25 years. Because of the seriousness of the potential punishment, first-degree murder charges are best handled by experienced felony lawyers in New York.
Two elements are essential if a murder charge is to rise to the level of first-degree murder. They address the identity of the victim and the mindset or intention of the defendant in committing homicide. First-degree murder in New York is:
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Possession of a Controlled Substance
In New York, drug charges must not be taken lightly. The potential punishment – even for a first time or minor offense – is significant. Also, partly because more than 30 statutes deal with drug crimes in the state, it can be quite difficult to parse the criminal laws applicable to the particular drug offense with which you may be charged.
Although these laws cover everything from the manufacturer to the trafficking of controlled substances, one of the most common charges is possession of a controlled substance. This offense alone is addressed by seven statutes that separate possession of a controlled substance into several distinct classifications based on the specific type of drug and the amount found in the individual’s possession.
One requirement that pertains to all possession charges in New York is that the actor must have knowingly and unlawfully possessed the controlled substance.
Possession in the seventh degree is the least serious form of this crime. This statute makes it a crime to possess a controlled substance, in any amount except a residual, or if the possession is the result of recent medical treatment. This misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail.
The next classification, possession in the fifth degree, is a class D felony is punishable by one to seven years in prison. This more serious classification is considered appropriate for instances of possession with an intent to sell when the individual also possessed compounds for manufacturing a controlled substance, and for possession of specific amounts of marijuana, cocaine, ketamine, and certain other drugs.
Possession in the fourth degree is a Class C felony for which conviction carries a potential punishment of one to 15 years in prison. This is the appropriate charge for possession of hallucinogenic substances, dangerous drugs, and in certain other circumstances.
Possession in the third degree is a Class D felony, and a convicted defendant can be punished by one to 25 years in prison. This charge is levied against a defendant who is found to be in possession of a narcotic, hallucinogenic substance, or stimulant with intent to sell.
Possession in the second degree also enhances the seriousness of the crime when a defendant is found to possess greater amounts of these substances.
Finally, possession in the second and first degrees are Class A felonies, albeit they are of slightly differing degrees. Possession in the second degree is a Class A-II felony, while possession is the more egregious Class A-I felony. Both are punishable by a maximum sentence of life without parole.
Possession in the second degree pertains to possession of more than four ounces of a narcotic drug or compounds, in the aggregate. It also covers possession of 25 grams of a hallucinogenic substance, as well as certain other amounts of controlled substances. Possession in the first degree is an extremely serious offense and is reserved for possession of more than eight ounces of a narcotic, including compounds, or possession of methadone weighing more than 5,760 milligrams.
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The lawyers who comprise Criminal Lawyer are prepared to defend a variety of crimes in New York. Our experience is not limited to the most common crimes in the state; rather, it extends to the defense of federal crimes as well as the pursuit of appeals to higher courts. Whether you are seeking a lawyer to defend you against charges of possession of a controlled substance, DWI, or armed robbery, we can help.
Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime in New York, it’s very likely that you wondered whether or not a New York criminal law firm or lawyer could improve the outcome of your case. While every criminal case is different, experience with New York’s criminal justice system is consistently shown to make a substantial difference in both determinations of guilt before a jury and sentencing following conviction.
If you face charges that are particularly serious or specific, finding a lawyer who focuses on that area of law or defense to those charges can determine the outcome of your case. For example, not all New York law firms handle defense against sex crimes. Therefore, if you are charged with abuse of a minor, finding a child abuse lawyer in New York is imperative. The same is true for engaging a DUI lawyer in New York or a defense attorney for murder.
If you don’t know where to find a New York defense attorney or where turn for the defense of criminal charges in New York, turn to us.
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