Felony Severity Explained

New Yorkers pride themselves on being ‘tough on crime’, which can be a double edged sword when it comes to protecting the state and its citizens. Here are some of the facts you need to know about being convicted of a felony in New York, and what it will mean for your future as a resident of the state, depending on the class of felony and its associated stipulations.

Lost Rights- All Classes: There are many rights you would already assume to have that you will lose once being convicted of a felony in New York State, regardless of the class of felony which it is qualified under. This includes the ability to vote, serve on a jury, purchase firearms, receive welfare, live in federally funded housing, and holding some operator licenses.

  • Class A Felony: This is the highest degree and deals with crimes such as murder and treason. In other states, a class A felony will carry the death penalty, though this is not legal in New York and the sentence instead will be a life term, generally without parole.
  • Class B Felony: One step below murder, Class B felony offenses includes homicide, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and violent assault. These can be successfully negotiated down or dismissed altogether by a successful lawyer.
  • Class C Felony: This is a lesser felony charge and covers other types of assault, fraud, theft or robbery. There will be fines and up to ten years of incarceration associated, and Class C felonies can be downgraded into a B class with the proper legal representation.
  • Class D Felony: While also serious crimes, Class D felonies do not have the same associations of malice as the higher categories. These include larceny, fraud, theft, and burglary. There are also associated fees and jail times with this class, though respectively lower than the higher classes.
  • Class E Felony: The lowest felony charge, these come from serious crimes including theft, assault, or a DUI that results in harm to a person or building. These felonies carry the penalty of 2-5 years of jail time, but can be successfully negotiated down to a misdemeanor or completely dismissed with the proper representation.

Felony Drug Charges: This is one area of felony law that requires some special attention, and is one of the more serious crimes in New York. Moving drug charges from a misdemeanor to a felony includes the amount of drugs in question, intent to distribute, actual distribution or trafficking activity, or the presence of drugs in a particularly controlled area, especially school grounds. Repeat offenders in drug cases can increase the charges into a felony, and result in very harsh consequences for the convicted individual.

When you are facing a trial or charge for a felony-level offense, be it drug related or otherwise, the law office of Stephan Jacob Siegel is here to see you through the process as smoothly as possible. Contact me today for a free expert consultation by phone at 718-575-3900.

Brushing Up on Money Laundering

If the phrase “money laundering” brings to mind backroom gangsters and counterfeit operations, you’re one of many. However, money laundering is a legal crime that covers a much broader range of activities, and is far more common than some may think. Here’s what you need to know about money laundering, from what it entails, some defenses I can utilize against a money laundering charge, and the commonly applied penalties for a conviction.

What is Money Laundering? Money laundering is seen as any financial transaction that comes about as the result of using proceeds that came from criminal activities. The second transaction may be initially legitimate, but becomes criminal because the funds that were used to propel it came from an illegal source. This is done with the intention of hiding the source of the money, with the expectation that once it changes hands, it will be far less trackable in regards to the earlier crime.

Which Crimes Count? Any crimes that produce money for the individual or group can lead to money laundering, which includes any state or federal laws that are currently upheld in New York. The degree of severity in the case will increase if the crime producing the money involved the sale of drugs or it’s trafficking, as well as other specific results in cases of terrorism or supporting terrorist organizations.

What Qualifies as a Financial Transaction? In New York, a financial transaction includes all and any of the following: purchases, sales, payments, deposits, wire transfers, loans, extensions of credit, currency exchanges and transfers of title. This is not exhaustive; other transactions that take place through another financial institution such as a bank, broker, or credit union may also qualify in the scheme of money laundering.

How can you defend against a money laundering charge?  There are many powerful defenses against money laundering designed to keep innocent individuals from getting caught in the middle of criminal conduct which they would not otherwise have been involved. These deal mostly with the lack of knowledge about the money’s origins, or a lack of intent to play a role in the money laundering, whether it is through the initial criminal conduct or through transporting and cycling through the funds and proceeds involved. If you’ve been accused of money laundering and believe it was through police entrapment, this can also be another solid defense against the charge.

What are the penalties to a money laundering charge? There are multiple levels of sentencing in money laundering charges, ranging from relatively minor fourth degree money laundering—with a felony sentence of up to four years—to the very severe charge of first degree money laundering, a Class B felony that carries with it a 25 year sentence. Fines can also be placed, but cannot go higher than two times as much as the money involved in the laundering case.

How Can I Help?  With over 25 years of experience providing skilled representation to my clients, the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel is proud to provide you with the utmost attention to a case involving money laundering, and a number of other practice areas. For a free phone consultation, call me today at 718-575-3900 to learn how my experience can be put to work for you.