In New York, crimes are divided into two categories, misdemeanors, and felonies. While misdemeanors are lesser offenses, a felony conviction can result in a lengthy imprisonment, fines and probation. A felony conviction can also lead to a loss of voting privileges as well as the loss of various government licenses. When your freedom and your future are on the line, it is crucial to consult a tough criminal defense attorney.
Heiferman and Associates, PLLC is a premier criminal defense law firm representing clients in New York, Queens, Brooklyn, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Our attorneys have approximately 40 years handling serious felonies, both as prosecutors and as criminal defense attorneys. Well-versed in New York State Penal Law, we have a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes in felony cases. When you work with us, we will leverage our skills and experience to make sure your rights are protected. Above all, we believe that anyone accused of a felony is entitled to the presumption of innocence and to the powerful representation we are prepared to provide.
What is a felony in New York?
Under the New York State Penal Law, a felony is a criminal offense punishable by one year or more in state prison. Felonies are divided into the following categories:
- Class A felony — The highest degree of felony, Class A is reserved for the most heinous crimes such as murder or treason, punishable by up to life in prison, typically without parole, and plea bargains are generally not available.
- Class B felony — One step below Class A felonies, Class B felonies include homicide, violent assault, armed robbery, rape, and drug trafficking. Class B felonies are also divided into subcategories “violent” and “nonviolent,” both of which are punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison. Unlike Class A felonies, Class B felonies can be pled down to a lesser offense.
- Class C felony — Examples of Class C felonies include assault, types of theft, fraud, robbery, larceny and drug distribution. Class C felonies are also divided into “violent” and “nonviolent” categories. A Class C violent felony is punishable by 3.5 to 15 years in prison, a Class C non-violent felony is punishable by probation with no prison time or up to 15 years.
- Class D felony — For class D felonies (e.g. lesser types of fraud, theft, robbery, burglary or manslaughter), the punishment can range from parole with no prison time for nonviolent Class D felonies to up to 7 years for a violent Class D felony. Often, a Class D felony charge can be reduced to a Class E felony, a misdemeanor, or even dismissed.
- Class E felony — Both violent and nonviolent Class E felony charges are punishable by up to 4 years in prison or probation with no prison time for offenses such as forcible touching, vehicular assault, fourth-degree grand larceny.
The above penalties can drastically increase for a repeat (predicate) felony offender.
Defenses Against Felony Charges
Regardless of the class of felony, you have been charged with, our experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to fight back against prosecutors who take a tough on crime stance. It is important to remember, however, that the prosecution must be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the circumstances, we may be able to assert one of the following defenses:
- Alibi — You were not at the scene when the alleged crime occurred. We will look to present reliable witnesses, or other irrefutable evidence (such as a surveillance video from another location) to show that you are not the guilty party.
- Mistaken identity — Because eyewitnesses are known to be unreliable, you may have wrongly been identified as the perpetrator if you bear a resemblance to the actual offender or were the target of profiling by law enforcement.
- Self Defense — If you have been accused of a violent crime (e.g. assault, battery), it may be possible to assert self-defense if we can show that you were acting to prevent imminent harm to yourself or another.
- Lack of Intent -– In many felony cases, the prosecution must be able to prove that you intended to commit a crime and it may be possible to demonstrate your actions were unintentional.
Contact Our Queens Felony Defense Attorney
Being charged with a felony is a serious matter. In addition to harsh penalties, you may also lose some of your certain civil rights, such as the right to vote, and forfeit your eligibility for certain government benefits, student loans, and professional licenses. With so much at stake, it is imperative to work with the criminal defense attorneys at Heiferman and Associates, PLLC. When you become our client, we will work tirelessly to preserve your freedom. Our objective is to win an acquittal, however, we will carefully weigh the strength of the evidence against you to determine if negotiating a plea bargain is a better option. Above all, we will stand by every step you every step of the way and make sure your rights are protected. Please contact our office today for a free consultation.