Criminal Defense
Scott Russell Law

Monticello Criminal Defense Lawyer

Few, if any, one-size-fits-all defenses exist when you’re accused of a crime. Every case is different- with different variables, circumstances, and facts. In each case, however, the state has a double burden of proof: The prosecutor must establish that a crime did, in fact, occur, and he/she must prove that you acted with the intent to commit the crime. This is universal, whether you write a bad check or you’re accused of assault. These crimes, however, do vary in severity and the punishments also vary based on the classification of misdemeanor or felony. If you have been accused of a misdemeanor or felony in New York, call Scott Russell, Monticello Criminal Defense Lawyer, to explore your options and prepare your defense.

New York Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

Issuing a bad check is a misdemeanor. In New York, misdemeanors fall into two categories: Class A and Class B. Class A is the most serious, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, although writing a bad check is a Class B crime that may result in up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Assault, however, is most often classified as a felony. There are five classes of felonies in New York, punishable by anywhere from one year in prison to life behind bars, depending on the severity of the crime. Felony crimes include murder, robbery, rape or acts of terrorism. With both felonies and misdemeanors, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime occurred and that the accused individual intentionally committed it.

“Reasonable doubt” is one of those phrases you hear bandied about in crime shows and movies, and it’s often misunderstood. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the prosecution must leave no doubt at all that you committed the crime with intent. It means that a reasonable person would doubt that you did. Your attorney need only establish one small kernel of doubt, enough that a reasonable person would have to wonder if you did what you’re accused of and if you acted intentionally.

You’ve also likely heard the phrase “innocent until proven guilty.” This means it’s the prosecutor’s job to establish your guilt. It’s not your job to prove your innocence. Your New York criminal defense attorney need only establish that seed of doubt.

Possible Defenses

This can give rise to numerous defenses. Your NY criminal defense attorney can present evidence and witnesses to show that you didn’t commit the crime or that you didn’t have an intent to commit the crime. The latter is the source of strategies such as self-defense or—that other staple of TV shows and movies—insanity, which is actually rarely used. In both cases, you may have committed the crime, but you did not consciously set out to do so. Maybe you protected yourself or your loved ones, or you were not in your right mind at the time the incident occurred. If your attorney can establish either case, the prosecution is unlikely to prevail.

The law provides that when you stand accused of a crime, you’re entitled to counsel. You have a right to a lawyer, and if you can’t afford one, the state will provide one for you. If you can afford professional help, enlisting the services of a qualified attorney can make the difference between prison or jail time and fines. It could mean leaving the courtroom and going home to your loved ones.

Call Now for Your Free Consultation

Call Scott Russell Law, Monticello Criminal Defense Lawyer, as soon as possible if you’ve been charged with a crime. We offer free consultations and can handle any legal matter. A former Sullivan County prosecutor, Scott Russell is highly experienced and can handle all types of crimes. Remember that your lawyer is not just your ally in the courtroom, but also in the weeks and months leading up to trial. Call 845-741-3331 for a free consultation and find out how we can help.

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