What Is Mandatory Minimum Sentencing?

Brooklyn Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing Criminal Charges In New York?

Under the law, crimes are generally ranked according to severity. Typically, a crime that results in greater harm to another person carries a more serious penalty than a crime that does less harm. 

For example, the penalty for driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle is punished more harshly than a DWI without a minor. For some crimes that are considered very serious, a mandatory minimum sentence may be imposed. Here’s what you need to know.

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Defined 

The U.S. criminal justice system has two parts. First, the defendant’s guilt is determined. Then, the severity of the punishment is decided, ideally with the goal of reducing the risk of recidivism. Penalties may include monetary fines, jail time, mandatory counseling, etc. 

In many criminal cases, the judge has the freedom to decide to reduce a sentence if they have reason to believe the defendant is highly unlikely to commit the same crime. However, this is not true in cases where a mandatory minimum sentence is required. The judge must impose at least the minimum and no less but may choose to increase the penalties if the evidence suggests doing so is warranted.

What Crimes in New York Have a Mandatory Minimum Sentence? 

In the State of New York, no misdemeanors carry a mandatory minimum sentence — only felony crimes do. These crimes include but are not limited to: 

  • 1st, 2nd, or 3rd-degree robbery 
  • 2nd or 3rd-degree burglary 
  • 1st or 2nd-degree assault 
  • 3rd-degree possession of a controlled substance 
  • 3rd-degree sale of a controlled substance 
  • 2nd or 3rd-degree criminal possession of a weapon 

Avoiding a Mandatory Minimum 

An effective way to avoid being subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence is to work with your lawyer to come up with a plea deal. In exchange for your promise to plead guilty, the prosecutor agrees to charge you with a lesser crime that does not have a mandatory minimum sentence. Although you’ve pleaded guilty during the first stage of your criminal case, your attorney can help you negotiate a lighter sentence in the second stage.

Call New York Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Cerbin Now  

If you’ve been arrested for a crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence, you may be unsure of how you can best protect your rights and future. Experienced New York criminal defense lawyer can help you pursue the best possible verdict in your case. Call now for a consultation at 718-596-1829.

By : First Page Attorney | October 19, 2020 | Criminal Defense

What Factors Can “Aggravate” a Criminal Charge?


Different crimes carry different penalties, and there are numerous factors that go into determining how a suspect is charged and if convicted, penalized. Here’s what you need to know about aggravated crimes, how certain factors can cause you to incur a stiffer penalty, and how to get legal help

Using a Firearm or Other Deadly Weapon 

Sentencing is often harsher for crimes where a deadly weapon is involved if the defendant is found guilty. For example, if you were caught in the act of burglary and had a gun on your person, you may be charged with more serious crimes than if you did not have the gun. This is true even if the gun had not been used. Assault with a deadly weapon is also usually penalized more harshly than assault committed with no weapon.

Becoming a Repeat Offender  

Defendants with repeat charges against them often face charges the second or third time around. This is meant to deter the defendant from engaging in criminal behavior again. Other crimes can also count against you in regard to sentencing, even if the crime was entirely unrelated to your charges now.

Committing a Hate Crime  

Harsher sentencing for hate crimes is becoming more common and defendants who are facing charges of hate-motivated crimes may be looking at serious penalties, including fines and prison time. The definition of a hate crime is broad, and a judge can impose a harsher sentence for any crime that a defendant is found guilty of that was purposely committed against a protected group.

Committing Crimes Against Vulnerable People  

If the crime you are accused of committing was against a particularly vulnerable person, such as a child or an elderly or disabled person, you may be penalized more severely than if the crime was against someone less vulnerable. This is generally because crimes against traditionally vulnerable individuals are considered especially egregious.

Committing a Crime with a Mandatory Minimum Sentence 

There are several crimes that are serious enough to warrant a mandatory minimum sentence, or the least amount of time that a defendant can spend in jail before being put up for parole. Generally, violent crimes and certain crimes against children carry a mandatory minimum sentence that a judge can add to but may not reduce despite the circumstances of the crime.

Should You Call a New York Criminal Defense Lawyer After Your Arrest? 

After being arrested for any crime — whether it carries a mandatory minimum sentence or not — it’s critical to get help from an experienced criminal lawyer. Call Scott Cerbin today for a consultation at 718-596-1829


By : First Page Attorney | August 28, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Burden Of Proof In New York


Meeting The Burden Of Proof

Anywhere in the state of New York, in order to get a conviction, the prosecutor has to meet the burden of proof for the crime. In the case of criminal charges, the standard is higher due to the impact it may have on the individual’s life. So what do you need to know about what the burden of proof is and how it works?

Establishing The Alleged Criminals Guilt With Evidence

They must establish your guilt with a preponderance of actual evidence. After the evidence has been reviewed either a judge or a jury assigned to your case will decide if the evidence supports that you have committed the crime.

The Prosecutor Must Establish Clear Evidence That Is Convincing

It is not enough to present evidence as evidence may be unclear and ultimately not establish a person’s guilt.  For example; there may be evidence that a party was at a location but not what the person’s purpose was or what their actions were. The evidence must clearly indicate that the person accused of the crime can be connected to the alleged criminal act. The evidence must be so convincing that a judge or a jury has no doubt that the crime occurred and that the accused committed that crime.

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

Because the highest standards of proof are the barometer for a conviction, there must be no reasonable doubt in order to convict you of a crime. While a trial allows both the prosecutor and the defense to “prove their case”  the case is only as good as the evidence and doubt allow. Both a judge and a jury must be unbiased, neither can preemptively decide that you are guilty before the trial has ended.

The prosecution and defense alternate in presenting any evidence whether for or against guilt. Later, after all of the evidence on both sides has been presented, a judge and or a jury can then determine whether or not the evidence illustrates guilt or innocence.

Arrested for a Crime in New York? Contact Cerbin Criminal Defense Now

If you have been accused of a crime in New York, your freedom is at risk.  Your life and the lives of your loved ones can change forever.  Get ahead of your defense as soon as possible. It is vital for you to work with an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. Your reputation and livelihood are at stake, get help now.

By : First Page Attorney | July 16, 2020 | Criminal Defense

What Happens The First 24 Hours After An Arrest?


The First 48 Hours

Being arrested in Brooklyn is likely something that comes unexpectedly.  We don’t normally plan our day out under the assumption that an activity we engage in will result in a criminal arrest.  For a first-time arrest, the experience can leave you feeling vulnerable, especially if you are not even sure why you have been arrested. It may take some time to sink in. By preparing for what to anticipate during and right after an arrest, you can keep a clear mind and remember to exercise your rights, including the right to speak to an attorney.

Processing After Your Arrest

Each person arrested will be taken to the precinct for processing and fingerprinting, then one of two things will happen.

  • The first option is that the officer could choose to issue you a desk appearance ticket on less serious charges. This means that rather than having to stay in custody for as long as 24 hours to wait to see a judge, you will be sent home and given a date to return to court later for arraignment. A desk appearance ticket is only issued in rare and minor misdemeanor cases.
  • The second option is that you will be processed, fingerprinted, and sent to central booking. You will be held at that location until the district attorney processes your case. They are waiting during this time for your fingerprint results to come back from Albany.

During the first 48 hours, You are kept in central booking

After you are processed into central booking, you are then transferred from one room to another. After approximately 24 hours you will see an attorney.

Shortly following this, you will be brought in front of a judge for an arraignment proceeding.


Arraignment means that you are notified about the charges and then a determination is made as to whether or not you should be released on bail. Arraignment is a crucial aspect of your criminal case. You will be released with or without bail depending on your charges. If you are unable to make bail, then it is unlikely that the amount of bail will be lower, but your criminal defense attorney would likely explore your options.

Speak To An Attorney

It is vital that you understand your rights. You should be aware of both your legal rights as well as your obligations. You should not hesitate to request the opportunity to speak to your criminal defense attorney immediately. This could be your only opportunity to protect your freedom and have some control over what happens early on.


By : First Page Attorney | March 11, 2020 | Criminal Defense

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I am attorney Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., and my firm is located in downtown Brooklyn near the Borough Hall and Jay Street stops. The Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, offers free initial consultations to individuals living within all five New York City boroughs. You can reach me at any hour of the day or night, regardless of the complexity of your issue.

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