Tag: felony

The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Crimes

On September 19, 2016, in Criminal, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.
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The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Crimes

Misdemeanor and Felony crimes are defined differently.  Felony Crimes are crimes which are punishable by a year or more in prison. Violations are technically not crimes and tend to involve fines and no more then 15 days in jail. While misdemeanor crimes are punishable by at most one year. The location and particular circumstances of incarceration are handled by the department of corrections or on the federal level the bureau of prisons.

The felony classifications in NY are as follows:







Mis A

Mis B

Mis unclassified

Each of the above classifications of misdemeanor and felony crimes carry with it sentencing guidelines which may limit a Judge’s discretion during sentencing. One significant aspect of misdemeanor and felony crimes is that the Supreme Court has stated that any crime for which a jail term of one year or can be sentenced will be deemed a “serious crime” and will trigger a defendants right to a jury trial. In New York this means that a class A misdemeanor will mean that a defendant has a right to a jury trial. Many times felony convictions will mean certain rights such as the right hold public office, serve on a jury, vote, own firearms, the right to hold professional licenses such as in the areas of law or medicine and even the right to certain public housing will be terminated. These rights may or may not be terminated with the conviction of a misdemeanor. During the plea bargaining process prosecutors will sometimes be willing to drop charges from felonies to misdemeanors but this is often more difficult then negotiating a plea agreement to the initial charge.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Retaining an attorney that understands the potential  consequences of a misdemeanor and felony conviction can make a huge difference in your case. When you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, you need someone fighting on your side. Call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.


On September 16, 2016, in Criminal, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.


The arraignment process in New York is one of the initial proceedings in a criminal case. From the client’s perspective, it can often be determinative of how effective their level of legal representation will be. If released on bail often the defendant will likely have easier and more open communication with their criminal defense attorney(s). They also will likely have more of an opportunity to hire an attorney that may specialize in the area or crime that they are charged with. Furthermore, they can take steps such as enrolling in a drug treatment program to pursue leniency from the courts and show that they wish to decrease their chances of recidivism. Criminal Procedure Law § 510.30 Application for recognizance or bail; rules of law and criteria controlling determination, states that some of the factors for courts to consider are,

The principal’s character, reputation, habits and mental condition; (ii) His employment and financial resources; and (iii) His family ties and the length of his residence if any in the community; and (iv) His criminal record if any…..

In theory, the purpose of bail is to ensure that a defendant will return to court for their next court date and not flee the jurisdiction. The options available for a defendant to pay their bail is typically a cash option or a bond option. The bond option will involve contacting a bail bond insurance company and posting some sort of collateral so that the bail bond company will pay bail for the defendant. Sometimes signing over a defendant or a defendant’s families house or car may occur.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Retaining an attorney that understands the nuances of bail applications can make a huge difference in your case. When you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, you need someone fighting on your side. Call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Police Misconduct

Police Misconduct is a highly contentious topic in this country, including New York.  The New York Law Journal Headline read that “A Manhattan judge ruled that two New York City police officers lawfully detained a non-English speaking public school student who left school and went home without permission after his teacher told him that he could not take part in a class field trip.”

 The infant-plaintiff was W.C., a fifth grade student at P.S. 137, who was not allowed to go on a school field trip but, instead, simply left the school without anyone letting his parents or guardians know. The child returned to his home and his (W.C.) grandmother notified his mother. Two New York City Police Department Officers arrived at the home (where the child went after being denied the ability to go on the field trip) and found W.C. in his bedroom, unresponsive to the police officers’ conversation. A dispute ensued. Police allege that W.C. became physically aggressive and, in response, the police handcuffed, yes handcuffed a young child, W.C. The child was subsequently taken back to school and an ambulance was called to examine W.C. for psychological issues.

Pursuant to New York Education Law §3205, school attendance is mandatory for children. Any child not found to be in school, i.e., truant, is considered to be in violation of such law, and Education Law §3213. (2) (a) permits police officers to “arrest without warrant any minor who is unlawfully absent from attendance upon instruction.” See Matter of Julio R., 129 Misc. 2d 171 (Sup Ct Richmond County 1985); Matter of Shannon B., 70 N.Y.2d 458 (1987). Here, it is clear that the police officers were complying with such instructions under the law to find and retrieve W.C., and bring him back to school. Although it would not be entirely dispositive of the claims, as police officers are “not required to negate every lawful excuse for [a child’s] absence from school before detaining him” (Matter of Kennedy T., 39 A.D.3d 40 [1st Dep’t 2007]), the Court notes that any sort of evidence that Ms. Choi gave W.C. permission to be at home, and that such permission was communicated to any one at school or one of the police officers, is notably absent from the record. Pp. 2-3 (external quotation marks omitted and internal citations preserved)

The Court holds that “because the officers were acting within the lawful scope of the Education Law, the noncriminal detention of W.C. was privileged. Therefore, plaintiffs’ claims for false arrest/imprisonment are dismissed.” Pp. 3 (citations omitted). Further, the Court dismisses the excessive force claim. Allegations differ yet “his alleged injuries to his knees consisted of scrapes and lacerations, which were relatively minor….W.C. testified at his §50-h hearing and deposition that he did not seek treatment for the alleged injuries, and did not sustain any others, physically or mentally. Ultimately, the Court does not find any evidence showing that the police officers exceeded the standard of objective reasonableness.” Pp. 3 (citation omitted). Having found the noncriminal detention as privileged, and “absent any evidence that the force used to effect the [detention] was excessive,” the Court also dismisses plaintiffs’ assault and battery claims. Akande v. City of New York, 275 A.D.2d 671, 672 (1st Dep’t 2000). So, under these or similar circumstances, the New York City Police can detain and handcuff a fifth grader? What about the psychological harm to the child – not only does he not get to go on the trip (for reasons otherwise unknown), he gets the cuffs slapped on him.

Although the case against the police is dismissed, a fifth grade student who managed to become estranged from school and then subsequently handcuffed, detained and hospitalized, the Court offers these words of comfort to the Plaintiff: “this unfortunate situation likely could have been avoided had the school and/or police officers shown a bit more sensitivity and attention to the cultural and language issues presented in this case. And, although the school and police officers should not, in any way, be commended for how they handled these translation and cultural sensitivity issues, the Court is simply unable to conclude that the defendants ultimately acted unlawfully.” Pp. 4. The Defendants’ Motion to dismiss is granted in its entirety – case dismissed!  Wai-Wai Choi v. NYC, 155821/2012, NYLJ 1202749328138, at *1 (Sup., NY, Decided February 2, 2016).

Police misconduct is often difficult to prove.  If police misconduct is proven and the defendant is cleared, a civil rights action may be an option to compensate the defendant for the damages caused by the police misconduct.

Civil Rights Attorney in Long Island

If you believe that police misconduct has deprived you of your rights, please call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at (516) 858-2620 to speak to a criminal attorney today!

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