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.