Legislators and lawmakers across the US are consistently updating and revising their criminal codes to account for changes in society. These changes must be approved by vote and implemented using carefully documented procedures. In 2024, all New York residents should understand the state’s criminal code and have some familiarity with recent changes that have been implemented. If you or a loved one are arrested, you need a criminal defense attorney familiar with the latest changes to New York’s criminal laws.
Recently, changes were made to how the discovery process must work in criminal cases. “Discovery” refers to the exchange of case materials between the defense and prosecution in a criminal case. The prosecution must disclose evidence, testimony, and witnesses they intend to call during the case. The defense must do the same. This discovery process can sometimes reveal discrepancies and details that can change a case in many ways.
Changes to Discovery in Criminal Case Proceedings
A recent update to New York’s criminal laws applies to the discovery process in a criminal trial. The prosecution must effectively prove they are ready to go to trial, and they do this by submitting discovery to the defendant. Under the newly implemented law, the prosecution has 20 days to do this if the defendant is in custody and 35 days if they are not. If the prosecution fails to provide discovery to the defendant and submit their Certificate of Discovery Compliance to the court in the allotted time limit, this could be for a case dismissal on procedural grounds.
In addition to this change, prosecutors must now provide timely and detailed explanations for any evidence or testimony raised after discovery is complete. One specific change in this regard applies to traffic tickets. Prosecutors are not required to immediately provide discovery for traffic tickets, but a defendant can request discovery by filing a motion through their defense attorney.
Benefits of Hiring a Defense Attorney
Successfully avoiding a conviction for a criminal offense depends on various details. If you did not commit the offense in question, your strategy must be focused on proving an alibi and disproving the prosecution’s evidence. While the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, don’t take this to mean you should be passive in your defense. Securing defense counsel from a reliable and experienced attorney as soon as possible after an arrest is the best way to be proactive in your defense.
When you have an experienced defense attorney handling your case, you will be ready to meet whatever unique challenges your case proceedings present to you. Depending on the nature of the charges against you, whether you committed the offense in question and the evidence in the case, it can take several months or even years to resolve a complex criminal case in New York.
When you choose the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC to handle your defense, you will have access to the full scope of our firm’s resources and experience. We can explain how any new changes to the state’s criminal code could impact your case. We can provide ongoing detailed guidance to ensure you can make informed decisions about your case. Ultimately, our goal is to help you avoid conviction if possible and lighten your sentence if necessary.
New York Criminal Laws FAQs
Q: What Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations in New York?
A: The most severe felonies in the New York criminal code (such as rape and murder) have no statute of limitations. This means a defendant can face prosecution for this level of offense years or even decades after committing it. Most other felonies in New York have a five-year statute of limitations. This means prosecutors must formally file charges for a felony offense within those five years.
Q: Will I Face Misdemeanor or Felony Charges?
A: Many criminal offenses may be tried as misdemeanors or felonies depending on various factors. The defendant’s criminal history, the severity of the offense, and whether the crime involves harm to a victim are all factors that can influence these determinations. For example, drug possession may qualify as a misdemeanor when a small number of illegal drugs are intended for personal use. Whereas a large number of illegal drugs possessed with the intent to sell could constitute a felony.
Q: What Are the Most Common Felonies Prosecuted in New York?
A: New York has a relatively high crime rate compared to many other US states. Some of the most commonly prosecuted offenses are drug offenses and violent crimes. The penalties for drug-related convictions can include fines, jail time, mandatory treatment, and more. These penalties increase based on the type and quantity of the drug in question. Most violent crimes in New York qualify for felony prosecution.
Q: What Is Article 35 of the New York State Penal Law?
A: This article applies to justification when forced to stop a crime in progress. This is similar to a self-defense law that allows an individual to use force to protect themselves when met with a threat of force from another party. Article 35 of New York’s Penal Law outlines the conditions under which justification may be asserted.
Q: Do I Need to Hire a New York Criminal Defense Attorney?
A: While there is no strict legal requirement to hire representation for a criminal case, you can face many substantial risks when you do not have an attorney you can trust to advise you. If you have the means to do so, hiring a private defense attorney can make a positive impact on the outcome of your case.
The Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC understand how challenging it can be for anyone to face criminal prosecution in New York. Our firm has helped many past clients navigate very complex cases, and we can apply our experience to your case. If you’re ready to speak with an experienced attorney about your situation, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.