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WHAT IS AN “OFFENSE” – NY PENAL LAW § 10.00

While procedure in New York criminal actions and proceedings can vary from Westchester County to New York County and may even vary from one local court such as Yonkers Criminal Court to New Rochelle City Court definitions of terms and phrases generally are the same throughout the State. In other words, whether you are in Greenburgh, White Plains, Mamaroneck, Larchmont or New York City, the terms used in the criminal courts will have the same meaning. At the New York Defense Firm of Tilem & Campbell, our attorneys are very experienced in criminal defense and have a thorough understanding of the definitions relevant to criminal actions and proceedings.

Definitions of terms germane to criminal cases in New York are found in Section 2 of the New York State Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) and Section 10 of the New York State Penal Law (Penal Law). I will first discuss the definitions of terms found in Section 10 of the PL as they are applicable to the CPL unless the CPL contains a different definition of the term. CPL § 1.20
Offense: The definition of “offense” is found in Section 10 of the Penal Law. It applies to the CPL unless the CPL contains a different definition. An “offense” is any violation of law, including state and local laws as well as local ordinances, for which a term or imprisonment or a fine may be imposed. See PL § 10.00(1). Any “crime”, including a “felony,” “misdemeanor,” “petty offense,” “violation” and/or “traffic infraction” are “offenses”. It’s interesting to note that the term “petty offense” includes the non-criminal offenses of “violation” and “traffic infraction”. CPL § 1.20(39)

To summarize, an “offense” is a violation of any law for which imprisonment or a fine may be imposed including:
• State Laws
• Local Laws
• Local Ordinances
• Crimes
• Felonies
• Misdemeanors; and
• Petty offenses which include Violations and Traffic Infractions.

If you find yourself or a loved one charged with any offense, be it a speeding ticket, felony gun offense, prostitution related offense or anything else contact one of the experienced New York Criminal Lawyers at Tilem & Campbell.