There are so many regulations and exceptions regarding criminal law in New York that it’s always wise to seek legal counsel when trying to wend your way through the labyrinth of laws in this state.
We’ll try to narrow the categories down a bit, and provide a few specific instances.
In general, when trying to find legal information that “fits” into your own situation, always keep the following caveat in mind: there are subtleties and shifts and alternate interpretations to almost every law.
Since there are many exceptions, you cannot be sure that a law applies to your case. True, you might read about situations which make you take notice because the findings seem so similar to the information you are looking for. However, proceed with caution: it really is only possible for an attorney who is knowledgeable about your specific case, and who knows the ins-and-outs of New York law, to assist you.
However, you may wish to use this information as an initial research tool or a generic guide.
For Cases Involving Misdemeanors
In the state of New York, there are two types or levels of misdemeanors. The first is an A misdemeanor and the second is a B misdemeanor. There are also (and here’s one of those exceptions which I mentioned earlier) offenses which fall into a category of their own which are termed unclassified but, in general, penalty-wise, they are treated as A misdemeanors.
One example of an unclassified misdemeanor would be reckless driving.
Are there any minimum sentences for misdemeanors? No. However, there are maximum sentences.
For a Class A misdemeanor, it’s one year and not more than $1,000 in fines, and for a Class B misdemeanor, it’s 90 days and not more than $500 in fines.
For an unclassified crime, the penalty is whatever it usually is for an ordinance or a law of that particular crime.
What Are Some Examples of Class A and Class B Misdemeanors?
There are many possible misdemeanor offenses, but two examples of a Class A misdemeanor would be Petit Larceny – shoplifting–and unauthorized radio transmission (which means having broadcast via Amplitude Modulation or Frequency Modulation, or AM or FM radio, without obtaining an FCC issued license or other pertinent legal authorization).
Also, a couple of misdemeanors which fall into the Class B category are unlawful assembly and fortune telling.
For Cases Involving Felonies
This category is a little more complicated. First, there is the category of Felony Class A, and these are the most grave categories. This category is further divided in New York into A-I and A-II.
In this state, there are two types of felonies – indeterminate and determinate.
Indeterminate felonies usually are those classified as non-violent felonies. The defendant whose crime falls under this category must first serve the minimum amount before becoming eligible for parole.
For an A-I felony, the most serious of felonies, the defendant may serve a maximum of a life sentence, and a minimum penalty of between 15 and 40 years.
For an A-II felony, the defendant may serve up to a life sentence, with a minimum of 3 to 8 years.
One example of a felony charge in this category is criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree.
For a Class B felony offense, the penalty may consist of 25 years, with a minimum of from one year to one-third of the maximum sentence. A Class B felony sentence can be enhanced if there have been prior convictions or other special circumstances.
One example of an offense in this category is a crime against an elderly or vulnerable victim.
For a Class C felony conviction, the sentencing may go up to 15 years, with a minimum penalty of one year.
For a Class D felony count, the maximum time served is seven years, with a minimum of one year.
For a Class E felony conviction, the maximum sentence is four years in prison, with a minimum of one year.
For determinate felonies –violent felonies; felonies where the defendant has a prior violent felony conviction and felonies which involve the category of drug offenses—only a set number of years (to wit, a determinate sentence) will be handed down. In such cases, there is no range of sentencing.
Youthful or Juvenile Sentencing in New York
This category is widely researched online and as a result, many questions arise concerning youthful offenders.
In New York, if an offender was under the age of 19 when the act or offense was committed, the case falls under the jurisdiction of juvenile crime and will, as such, be sentenced accordingly.
A youthful offender may only receive that particular status only once.
Youthful offenders, or those defendants who benefit from this status as determined by the judge, can look forward to having their criminal conviction completely removed from their records, so that they will be able to move forward without the stigma that this sort of record usually entails.
This greatly facilitates the future job, home and loan application processes for the juvenile.
Additionally, if a youthful offender status is granted, a defendant profits from the somewhat more flexible sentencing structure.
For this category, in fact, it’s possible that a juvenile would not be ordered to serve time in a penal institution, but may instead receive a probation charge. .
Note: a youthful offender won’t be able to assume that there will automatically be no incarceration for his or her crime. Sometimes youthful offenders do receive a lighter incarceration penalty but this is solely at the judge’s discretion.