“I was charged with a ‘petty offense’. What does that mean?”

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Under New York’s Penal Law 10.00, violations and traffic infractions, the least serious categories in New York, are not crimes but rather petty offenses. A conviction of either is not deemed a criminal conviction and the records are automatically sealed. Possible punishment includes incarceration (up to 15 days for a violation), fine restitution, and community service. However, probation is not possible.

When the accused is charged with a petty offense alone, the right to a jury trial does not attach. However, where both a crime and a violation are charged, and the accused is entitled to a jury trial, all of the charges are to be determined by the jury.

Again, if the accused is convicted of a noncriminal offense, the conviction is normally sealed. The “sealing” includes photographs, fingerprints, and records relating to the incident are sealed and unavailable to law enforcement authorities and to the public under New York’s Criminal Procedure Law 160.55.  While the normal procedure is to seal such convictions, under New York’s Criminal Procedure Law 160.50, the district attorney, upon five days’ notice to the accused or his or her criminal defense attorney buffalo ny may request the sealing of records be dispensed with in the interests of justice. In other words, the district attorney would need some compelling reason to justify the records not being sealed.  In many courts, however, this notice is waived by the criminal defense attorney buffalo ny where a plea is worked out.

In the case of a violation, such as disorderly conduct, the maximum punishment is no more than 15 days in a local jail.

Please be advised, this is not legal advice. For a free consultation, contact a criminal defense attorney buffalo ny or criminal lawyer buffalo ny today.

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