What Is a Sentence Enhancement in New York?

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If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of New York, you are undoubtedly concerned about the resolution of your case. Ideally, your case will be resolved without a conviction; however, sometimes the evidence the State of New York has gathered against a defendant is too strong to avoid conviction. When that happens, the focus shifts to sentencing. New York, like many states, provides harsher potential punishments for certain types of offenses and for certain types of defendants. Understanding the penalties you face, as well as whether or not you are facing a sentence enhancement in New York, is crucial. Only an experienced New York criminal defense attorney can review the unique facts and circumstances of your case and provide you with individualized advice; however, a basic knowledge of New York sentencing laws, including sentence enhancement, may also be helpful.

Like most states, New York broadly divides all criminal offenses into misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses for which the potential term of imprisonment does not exceed one year. Felonies are more serious offenses with potential sentences of over a year. In addition, offenses are further divided by "violent" and "non-violent" offenses. Violent offenses, as a general rule, carry tougher potential sentences than their non-violent counterparts.

A "sentence enhancement" is something that increases the potential sentence for a crime. For instance, if you would normally face up to five years for an offense, a sentence enhancement might add an additional three to five year sentence on top of the original sentence. Sentence enhancement typically include detail about the instant offense and/or the defendant's criminal history. For example, your sentence could be enhanced if you carried a weapon with you during the commission of the current offense. Likewise, if you have previous convictions for criminal offenses in the State of New York, particularly if those convictions were violent felonies, you could face harsher penalties.

Sentencing for a criminal offense in New York can be complicated. The best way to ensure that you understand your charges and the potential punishment you face if convicted is to consult with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney right away to evaluate your case and get started on your defense. Contact the Law Offices of Adam Thompson today by calling (212)267-2424 to schedule your appointment.