We all have heard the phrase innocent until proven guilty. While this is the guideline for the American criminal system, defendants often have a different experience. The second criminal allegations are made a defendant could face scrutiny. Just because a person is facing a criminal charge, the public tends to view them as guilty. This can cause harm to a person's personal and professional reputation even before his or her day in court.
Just about everyone has had a bad day at work. Usually, this simply means that things didn't go according to plan or an interaction with a coworker or customer became confrontational. In most instances, those who experience one of these days can simply sleep it off and put it behind them. For some New Yorkers, though, a bad day at the office means being accused of criminal wrongdoing, something that can't, and shouldn't, be slept on. When this happens, an individual needs to take legal action to ensure he or she is protecting himself or herself as fully as possible.
If you are facing a criminal charge in New York, you likely have concerns about the potential punishments you are going to face, and whether you will have to spend time behind bars or pay considerable fines. In addition to any penalties you may receive for a criminal conviction, however, you may also face what are known as collateral consequences.
There are a number of serious criminal offenses in New York. Amongst these are crimes against property. Although vandalism and theft can be treated aggressively by prosecutors, these offenses can also be minor in comparison to some other property crimes, like arson. With a wide spectrum of severity when it comes to these offenses and their corresponding penalties, accused individuals need to ensure that they know the laws they are up against and how to use it to their advantage.
A lot of New Yorkers think that a criminal matter ends once a defendant is found guilty or innocent. While this may be true to a certain extent in that penalties will be imposed or not, there may be ongoing issues that can leave an individual in need of a criminal defense advocate.
A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed an incident that left a Rochester man facing criminal charges for possessing stolen property. This case is a perfect example of how defense options can be discovered simply by looking at the legal elements that must be proven before prosecutors can obtain a conviction. Intent is often one of these elements. Here, prosecutors must establish that a defendant knowingly and/or willfully committed a certain act. Therefore, in these instances, a prosecutor must establish not only that the act occurred, but also that it was done intentionally.
Television shows and movies make it look like every case, civil or criminal in nature, goes to trial spurred along by cutthroat attorneys who will do anything to make the other side look bad. Although these types of situations exist in the real world, they are not the norm. In fact, many times cases resolve without trial, meaning that, depending on the circumstances at hand, an individual may have a multitude of criminal defense options available to him or her.
A conviction for any criminal offense can leave you facing serious penalties, regardless of the crime's severity. You might wind up facing jail time, a fine and damage to your reputation and your record that makes living a normal life difficult. These penalties can be even more severe, though, if you are considered a habitual offender, or if you are currently on probation or parole for a previous conviction. In these instances, you may need to think hard about how best to defend yourself and escape not only probation or parole revocation, but also additional penalties upon a new conviction.
Property crimes are treated quite seriously in New York. Those who have had their property stolen or damaged are often quick to point the finger, and aggressive law enforcement officers and prosecutors are ready to press the matter. Although this thirst for justice is admirable, it can also be dangerous, as innocent individuals are often left standing in the way of their steamroller justice. Yet, those who know the law and how to utilize it to their advantage can protect themselves and ensure that they will only be punished if they are found guilty of an alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt.