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Criminal Law Terminology NY – Glossary of Criminal Law Terms (2024 Updated)

Criminal Law Terminology NY – Glossary of Criminal Law Terms (2024 Updated)

New York criminal law is extremely complex and can seem overwhelming if you are in a position where you are being accused of committing a crime. Being aware of basic criminal law terminologies can go a long way when it comes to navigating the criminal justice system. Therefore, our criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, has developed this glossary of key criminal law terms to know in 2023.

Criminal Law Terminology in New York

What You Need to Know: New York Criminal Law Terms 2023

  • Appeal: An appeal is a request to a higher court for them to review a decision made by a lower court and hopefully change the existing ruling.
  • Assault: Assault involves the use of force or the threat of use of force from one individual to another that causes fear of imminent danger.
  • Aggravated Assault: Aggravated assault occurs when assault is committed with aggravating circumstances, such as the presence of a deadly weapon.
  • Sexual Assault: Sexual contact with another person against their consent, including sexual intercourse, constitutes sexual assault.
  • Battery: The use of force by one individual on another that causes harm is known as battery.
  • Counterfeiting: When something, such as a document or money, is copied or imitated without proper permission in an attempt to defraud or deceive, this is counterfeiting.
  • Cybercrime: A cybercrime is a crime committed electronically, such as cyberstalking, cybersquatting, or cybertheft.
  • Domestic Violence: Mental, verbal, or physical abuse that occurs between two family members is considered domestic violence.
  • Drug Crimes: Crimes related to the manufacturing, possession, trafficking, or cultivating of drugs in an illegal manner are classified as drug crimes.
  • Embezzlement: Embezzlement involves the illegal transfer of assets that are legally possessed, which are then diverted to the embezzler.
  • Expungement: When a court seals a record from public access, this is known as expungement.
  • Extortion: Extortion involves gaining access to assets by threatening a victim’s property or loved one, pretending to have a right to the property, or using intimidation.
  • Forgery: Making or altering a document to look like the real one is called forgery.
  • Fraud: Committing fraud involves knowingly hiding the truth, misrepresenting, or otherwise misleading so that a person acts in interests against themselves. This includes bank fraud, civil fraud, mail fraud, healthcare fraud, and credit card fraud.
  • Hate Crimes: A crime that is committed against a person deliberately due to their identifying factors, such as gender, race, age, religious practices, or sexual orientation, is considered a hate crime.
  • Homicide: Homicide is the legal term for the killing of a person.
  • Identity Theft: When someone uses someone else’s personal information to create accounts, carry out business in their name, or make fraudulent charges, this constitutes identity theft.
  • Indecent Exposure: Offensively showing off parts of one’s body in public, especially the genital area, is known as indecent exposure.
  • Manslaughter: Manslaughter occurs when an otherwise intentional and unlawful act unintentionally leads to a person’s death.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter: When a person’s death occurs as a result of negligence rather than an intentional act, this is known as involuntary manslaughter.
  • Molestation: Making unwarranted gestures or suggestions towards a person that are of a sexual nature.
  • Money Laundering: Money laundering involves moving funds that are obtained illegally through many people or accounts in order to obscure their origins and make them appear legitimately obtained.
  • Murder: Killing someone on purpose with a malicious, meditated plan is murder.
  • Perjury: Knowingly making statements that are untrue while under oath is known as perjury.
  • Pornography: Pornography includes videos, pictures, or writings about sexual matters that are made to illicit lascivious feelings.
  • Prostitution: Hiring someone or being hired by someone for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity constitutes prostitution.
  • Rape: Using the threat of force or actual force to take advantage of a person in a sexual manner is rape.
  • Self-Defense: Self-defense involves protecting oneself against an aggressor using force that is proportional to the threat.
  • Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment includes any unwanted behavior, either verbal or physical, that is based on the person’s gender. This can include touching, making comments or remarks, gestures, or subjecting someone to unwanted sexual images or content.
  • Stalking: Following, threatening, or harassing someone in a manner that instills fear in the victim that they or a loved one are in imminent danger is known as stalking.
  • Tax Evasion: Tax evasion involves intentionally not paying the full amount of taxes owed.
  • Terrorism: Terrorism involves politically motivated violence that has the purpose of inflicting fear on a general population or a subgroup of people.
  • Theft: The taking of someone else’s property or assets in order to temporarily or permanently deprive them is known as theft. This includes any form of stealing, such as robbery, larceny, embezzlement, and burglary.


Q: What Is the Difference Between a New York Misdemeanor and Felony?

A: In New York, a felony crime is considered to be much more serious than a misdemeanor crime and has more severe charges associated with it. An individual who is convicted of a misdemeanor cannot spend more than 364 days in jail as punishment. On the other hand, a convicted felon will be charged a minimum of one year in jail or prison, with the potential to face much longer sentencing.

Q: When Will My NY Felony Go Away?

A: Unfortunately, after an individual is convicted of a felony in New York, it does not go off of the criminal record. Having a criminal record comes with serious challenges, such as not being able to vote, bear arms, or hold many public positions. It also poses difficulties when it comes to pursuing educational, professional, or housing-related opportunities. Fortunately, there are instances in N.Y. state where a criminal record can be sealed or expunged.

Q: What Happens After My Third Felony in New York?

A: In New York, there is a statute that requires individuals to have a minimum long-term sentence if they have been convicted of three violent felonies. The minimum time that must be served is dependent on factors such as the severity of the third felony, but it can be anywhere from 12 to 25 years. If you are being charged with a third violent felony in New York, then it’s important to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Q: What Are the 3 Classifications of Crime in New York State?

A: In New York State, the three classifications of crime are violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. While misdemeanors and felony cases must go through the criminal justice system, violations typically require a small penalty, such as a fine. Violations can be challenged in court, however, if a recipient believes that it was unfairly given. A felony is the most serious classification of crime in New York state.

Get Legal Support From an Esteemed New York Criminal Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges in the state of New York, then it is important to have comprehensive legal representation. A criminal lawyer from the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, can help you understand your charges and the potential penalties and help you strategize and mount a strong defense in order to optimize your case outcomes. Reach out to our dedicated team today to schedule your first consultation.

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