Nassau County Sex Crimes Sentencing

If you are convicted of a sex crime, there is a good chance that you will be sent to prison. Under New York law there are 23 sex crimes. 19 are felonies, while only 4 are misdemeanors. Rape is the most commonly used term to describe sex crimes. However, New York Penal Law includes a very specific definition of rape. There are several other sex crimes that are not defined as rape, including sexual misconduct, criminal sexual act, forcible touching, sexual abuse, sexual conduct against child, female genital mutilation, and facilitating a sexual offense with a controlled substance. There are 2 sex crimes that are so serious that if you are convicted you could be sent to prison for the rest of your life. These crimes are predatory sexual assault and predatory sexual assault against a child. Both are Class A-II felonies. However, being convicted of almost any sex crime has another serious consequence regardless of whether or not your sentence includes incarceration. Under the Sex Offender Registration Act you will be required to follow the sex offender registration rules for at least 20 years, and possibly the rest of your life. Because of the severe impact on your life of being convicted of a sex crime, as soon as you or a loved one is suspected of committing any type of sex crime, even a misdemeanor, it is critical that you contact an experienced Nassau County Sex Crimes Sentencing Lawyer so that you will have the best chance possible to have your case resolved in the most favorable manner given the circumstances of your case.

The Arrest and Arraignment

If the police believe that you committed a sex crime the criminal process will begin with your arrest. You will be taken into custody at the local police precinct. There the police will photograph and fingerprint you. If you are accused of a misdemeanor such as sexual misconduct or forcible touching, the police officer may opt to issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). DAT will instruct you as to where and when to appear in court for your arraignment. It is extremely important to attend your arraignment at the date and time specified on your ticket. If you do not appear the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.

DATs are typically only issued for misdemeanors. If you are accused of a sex crime that is a felony, after initial processing at the local precinct you will then be taken to a place called "Central Booking." Central Booking is located in the criminal court building in the county where you were arrested. For example, if you arrested for a crime in Nassau County you will be taken to Central Booking at 99 Main Street in Hempstead. You will remain in Central Booking until you are called for your arraignment hearing.

While you are Central Booking the prosecutor will prepare you case for arraignment, including reviewing the evidence as well as your criminal history. A representative from the Criminal Justice Agency (CJA) will interview you in order to assess your ties to the community. The CJA will use this information in order to make bail recommendation to the judge.

The arraignment is the first time that you will appear before the judge. At that time the charges against you will be read by the prosecutor. While the police may have mentioned the possible charges that you will face, it is only at your arraignment that the prosecutor will submit the criminal complaint listing the charges against you. Based on the information the prosecutor learned about your background and the facts of your case you may be charged with a single sex crime, or you may be charged with multiple crimes, including crimes that are not sex crimes. You will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

The next step in the arraignment hearing is the issue of bail. The judge will decide if bail is required. The judge may release you on your own recognizance, set bail or require that you be held without bail. The judge's decision will be based on his or her assessment of whether or not you are a flight risk based on the allegations against you, the recommendation of the CJA, the prosecutor's arguments, and your defense team's arguments.

After your arraignment there may be several other steps in the criminal process including multiple hearings. If you are released on your own recognizance or after posting bail it is important that you must attend every court hearing, otherwise the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Prior to trial the prosecutor may offer you a deal that would require you to plead guilty to one or more lesser offenses. For example, in People v. Tavares, 12 N.Y.3d 21 (2009), in addition to being charged with criminal sexual act in the third degree the defendant was also charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse in the third degree, multiple counts of forcible touching, and multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child. After agreeing to a plea agreement the defendant was sentenced to 4-12 years in prison. If you agree to the deal, you will not have to stand trial for the more serious original charges. If you do not accept the prosecutor's offer, then your case will proceed to trial.

Misdemeanors

The 4 misdemeanor sex crimes are sexual misconduct (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.20), forcible touching (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.52), sexual abuse in the second degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60) and sexual abuse in the third degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55). Sentences for misdemeanors are for up to a year in jail. They are served in local jails and not state prisons. Sexual misconduct, forcible touching, and sexual abuse in the second degree are all Class A misdemeanors. If you are convicted of one of these crimes, the maximum sentence is up to one year in jail. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.15(1). For example, in People v. Lawrence, 969 N.Y.S.2d 805 (2013), the defendant Javian Lawrence was sentenced to 6 months in jail after he plead guilty to 1 count of sexual misconduct. Sexual abuse in the third degree is a Class B misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.15(2). Your sentence can be reduced by 1/3 if you conduct yourself well while in jail.

Class E Felonies

A conviction for a crime that is classified as a Class E felony will result in a prison sentence of up to 4 years in prison. There are 5 sex offenses that are Class E felonies, including: rape in the third degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.25), criminal sexual act in the third degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.40), persistent sexual abuse (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.53), aggravated sexual abuse in the fourth degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65-a), and female genital mutilation (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.85). Persistent sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse in the fourth degree and are also violent felony offenses. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.02. This means that if you are convicted of a Class E violent felony offense the judge must sentence you to at least 2 years in prison. You must serve 6/7 of the prison sentence before you will be eligible to be released on parole.

Class D Felonies

A conviction for a sex crime that is classified as a Class D felony will result in a prison sentence of up to 7 years. There are 6 Class D felony sex crimes including rape in the second degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.30), criminal sexual act in the second degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.45), sexual abuse in the first degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65), aggravated sexual abuse in the third degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.66), course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.80), and facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.90). Each of the 6 Class D sex offenses are also classified as violent felony offenses, requiring a minimum sentence of 3 years in prison. You must serve 6/7 of the prison sentence before you will be eligible to be released on parole.

Class C Felony

A conviction for a sex crime that is classified as a Class C felony will result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years. The only sex offense that is a Class C felony is aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.67. It is classified as a violent felony offense, with a required mandatory minimum sentence of 3.5 years. You must serve 6/7 of the prison sentence before you will be eligible to be released on parole.

Class B Felonies

A conviction for a sex crime that is classified as a Class B felony will result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years. There are 4 sex offenses that are Class B felonies: rape the first degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.35), criminal sexual act in the first degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.50), aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.70), and course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.75). Each of these crimes is classified as a violent felony offense, requiring a minimum sentence of 5 years. For example, in the case of People v. Williams the defendant was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted for rape in the first degree. While he was originally sentenced to 22 years, on appeal the judge lowered his sentence to 15 years based on the defendant's lack of significant criminal history.

Class A-II Felonies

If a crime is categorized as a Class A-II felony, it is so serious that if convicted the defendant could be sent to prison for life. The mandatory minimum prison sentence is 10-25 years. There are two sex crimes that are Class A-II felonies: predatory sexual assault (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.95) and predatory sexual assault against a child (N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.96).

Additional Consequences of a Conviction

Probation. If you are convicted of a sex crime, probation will likely be part of your sentence. Even if you are convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime and are not sentenced to jail, there is a very good change that the judge will at least sentence you to probation. While you are on probation you will be monitored and your actions will be restricted in order to ensure that you do not commit another crime. The rules associated with your probation will include:

  • you must not commit a crime
  • you must have a job
  • you must support your family
  • you must refrain from drinking excessive alcohol
  • you must refrain from using controlled substances
  • you must refrain from associating with other felons
  • you must refrain from patronizing disreputable places
  • you must report to your probation officer on a regular basis
  • you cannot leave the jurisdiction without permission.

If you fail to follow the conditions of your probation you will have to appear in court before the judge who originally sentenced you. The Probation Department will urge the judge to revoke your probation and send you to jail. If the judge finds that you did violate the terms of your probation, the judge may send you to jail, or may add new probation terms.

Fines, Fees and Restitution. There are several financial consequences to committing a sex crime. The judge may order you to pay a fine of up to $500 for a Class B misdemeanor, up to $1,000 for a Class A misdemeanor conviction or up to $5,000 for a felony conviction.

You will also be required to pay certain fees including a "mandatory surcharge" of $300 for felonies and $175 for misdemeanors as well as a victim assistance fee of $25. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.35. You may also be required to pay fees related to probation and post-release supervision of $30 per month as well as fees associated with sex offender registration.

Another financial consequence is that you may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. Generally, the maximum amount of restitution is $15,000 for felonies and $10,000 for misdemeanors. However, the restitution may be considerably more as medical expenses for knife wounds can be significant and the court may require you to pay those expenses.

If you do not pay a fine, fee or restitution, you may be charged with an additional crime. However, the court may lower the amount of restitution or modify payment terms if you show the court an inability to pay.

Sex Offender Status. Regardless of the number of years you are sentenced to prison, if you are convicted of almost any sex crime you will be required to register as a sex offender under the New York Sex Offender Registration Act. As a registered sex offender several restrictions will be placed on you. You will not be able to move out of New York state without informing the New York Department of Criminal Justice Services. If you do move, you must let the local law enforcement that you have moved to that jurisdiction, and you then be required to follow the sex offender registration rules of that jurisdiction. Even if you do not leave the state you will have to keep law enforcement informed of your address. You will also have to report to the local police and have your photograph taken every three years. You may have to let the police know the name and address of your employer, and the name of the school you are attending. If you do not follow these rules, you can be arrested and charged with a Class D felony that could result in jail or prison time.

The consequences of being convicted of any sex crime, even a misdemeanor, are devastating. Not only will your life be affected, but the lives of your family members will also be affected. However, with experienced representation you can fight sex crime charges. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of sex crimes, such as rape, criminal sexual act, forcible touching, sexual abuse, sexual conduct against child, and facilitating a sexual offense with a controlled substance. It is important that you have experienced representation as early in your case as possible. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of sex crimes in the following locations:

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