Misdemeanors Versus Felonies in New York

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In New York, criminal offenses fall into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are serious offenses that often result in physical harm to a victim, such as rape or murder, whereas misdemeanors are often less serious offenses, like prostitution and carrying a gun without the proper permit to do so. However, this is an oversimplified example of the differences between misdemeanors and felonies in New York. Offenses in both categories are further classified and charged accordingly, and with some offenses, whether an alleged act is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the details of each individual case, such as whether the alleged offender has a criminal history.

Misdemeanors in NYC

In New York, misdemeanors can be classified as Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors, and unclassified misdemeanors.

A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of these offenses face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Examples of Class A misdemeanors include:

  • Creating graffiti;
  • Petit larceny; and
  • False advertising.

For a Class B misdemeanor, an individual can face a fine of up to $500 and up to three months in jail. Offenses in this category include:

  • Issuing a bad check;
  • Unlawful assembly, and
  • Unlawful collection practices.

Unclassified misdemeanors are the least severe type of criminal offense. These include traffic violations, minor gambling violations, and littering.

Felonies in NYC

Felonies are classified into seven categories. Unless a defendant waives his or her indictment, a felony charge must be prosecuted through an indictment heard by a grand jury. For any felony, the defendant faces at least one year imprisonment and in certain cases, can face life in prison.

Class E felonies are the least serious felony charges in New York. Offenses classified as Class E felonies include luring a child, promoting a suicide attempt, receiving a sports bribe, and unlawfully concealing a will. Class A felonies, the most serious felony class, is divided into two categories: Class A-I and Class A-II. Class A-I felonies include terrorism, aggravated murder, and aggravated enterprise corruption, whereas Class A-II felonies include predatory sexual assault and the criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree. Incarceration terms for Class A-II felonies can be as long as eight years and four months. Individuals convicted of Class A-I felonies can face a minimum of 20 years in prison and potentially face life sentences.

Work with an Experienced Bronx Criminal Attorney

If you have been charged with any type of criminal offense in or near New York City, work with our team of experienced Bronx criminal lawyers to develop an effective defense strategy for your case. Contact Grant & Longworth, Attorneys at Law, today to set up your initial consultation in one of our two convenient offices. Do not wait to make the call – you can reach a representative for our firm 24 hours per day at our hotline.



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