New York Felony Frequently Asked Questions
- What Is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
- What Is a Grand Jury?
- What Happens if the Grand Jury Does Not Indict?
- What Is the Next Step After Indictment?
- What Type of Sentence Will I Receive if I Am Convicted of a Felony?
- How Is a Sentence Determined for a Felony Conviction?
- Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
What Is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?
A criminal offense can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are considered lesser criminal acts than felonies. Therefore, the penalties for misdemeanors are less severe than for felonies. Misdemeanors carry sentences of up to a year in jail, while felonies carry sentences of more than a year in prison. However, just because you are convicted of a felony does not mean that you will automatically receive a sentence of at least a year in prison. There are statutory sentencing guidelines that determine the sentence that a judge may impose. In addition, a judge will look at aggravating and mitigating factors in making the final sentencing decision.
What Is a Grand Jury?
A grand jury is a closed hearing that a prosecutor may use to determine whether their case is strong enough to support an indictment. The grand jury is not used for misdemeanors and is often reserved for only serious felonies. During a grand jury hearing the prosecutor will present evidence in an effort to convince the grand jury that the defendant should be indicted and tried. The standard for a grand jury indictment is relatively low.
What Happens if the Grand Jury Does Not Indict?
If the grand jury returns a “no bill,” then it did not find that the prosecutor had sufficient evidence to indict. While the prosecutor has the option to representing to the grand jury with new evidence, it is also possible that the prosecutor will dismiss the charges against you.
What Is the Next Step After Indictment?
The next step after indictment is that you will be arraigned in the Supreme Court. There will be a series of motions and hearings. Ultimately your case will go to trial, unless there is a resolution pre-trial. An experienced New York felony lawyer will discuss your options and develop a strategy as to who to proceed in order to get the best possible resolution of your case.
What Type of Sentence Will I Receive if I Am Convicted of a Felony?
The sentence you will receive will depend primarily on your crime. If you are convicted for a class E felony the maximum sentence is 4 years, while if you are convicted of a class A felony the maximum sentence is life in prison without parole. In addition to prison, your sentence for a felony conviction may also include probation, fines, restitution, and alternative sentencing programs such as drug treatment.
Whether you are given the maximum sentence or a less severe sentence will depend on whether there are aggravating factors or mitigating factors. For example, the judge will consider your prior criminal history, whether a victim was injured or treated cruelly, and whether a weapon was used. The judge will also consider whether you expressed remorse and whether you cooperated with law enforcement.
While we cannot guarantee the outcome of your case, the felony attorneys in New York at the Law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates will use our experience, knowledge and resources to get the charges against you dismissed, reduced, or to get an acquittal at trial.
How Is a Sentence Determined for a Felony Conviction?
For a felony conviction, sentencing depends on a number of factors. New York has sentencing guidelines that determine the range of a sentence based on the crime. Within those guidelines, judges will also consider aggravating factors which may result in a harsher sentence and mitigating factors which may result in a lighter sentence. For example, aggravating factors include lack of remorse, criminal history, intent, and vulnerability of the victim. Mitigating factors include lack of a prior criminal record, genuine remorse, provocation, and mental or physical illness.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
When it comes to defending criminal charges, experience counts. New York criminal law is complicated and the New York criminal court system is like no other. With over two decades of experience representing clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies as well as misdemeanors, the staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has the knowledge and resources to vigorously defend you throughout the entire criminal process. Contact a felony attorney serving New York at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.