Many people assume that a misdemeanor charge is not a crime, but are a small violation of the law that carries very little punishment. Nothing could be further from the truth. A misdemeanor charge can result in serious fines, jail time, damage to your public reputation, and denial of certain benefits.
MISDEMEANORS IN NEW YORK
A Misdemeanor is a lower crime punishable by no more than one year in county jail.
MISDEMEANORS FALL INTO ONE OF THREE CLASSES:
- Class A misdemeanors are the most severe types of misdemeanors and are a step below felonies. Examples are shoplifting, possession of a small amount of drugs, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
- Class B misdemeanors are crimes that not as severe as Class A infractions. Examples are Prostitution in the first degree, Harassment, and issuing a bad check.
Some offenses are chargeable as either a Class A or Class B depending on the degree. Examples are Menacing, Sexual abuse, and Stalking.
- Unclassified. An unclassified misdemeanor is any crime not defined in the Penal law (other than a traffic violation) that can carry a sentence of imprisonment of greater than 15 days but not more than of one year. Examples are unlicensed driving, reckless driving, and first-time driving while intoxicated.
SOME CRIMES CAN BE A MISDEMEANOR OR A FELONY
Some crimes can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the degree. The evidence presented to the judge will determine the degree of the crime. Examples are:
A fistfight is a misdemeanor but beating a person and causing severe injury or death is a felony.
Being caught with a small quantity of marijuana is a misdemeanor, but possession of a large quantity of drugs is a felony.
PENALTIES AND FINES FOR MISDEMEANOR OFFENSES
A person found guilty of a misdemeanor charge can be sentenced to jail time and required to pay significant financial fines.
CLASS A MISDEMEANOR PENALTIES
IF FOUND GUILTY OF A CLASS “A” MISDEMEANOR, A COURT MAY SENTENCE YOU TO NO MORE THAN ONE YEAR IN JAIL OR THREE YEARS PROBATION. ADDITIONALLY, YOU COULD PAY A FINE OF UP TO $1,000;
CLASS B MISDEMEANOR PENALTIES
OFFENDERS FOUND GUILTY OF CLASS “B” MISDEMEANORS FACE MAXIMUM SENTENCES OF UP TO THREE MONTHS IMPRISONMENT OR ONE-YEAR PROBATION. ADDITIONALLY, YOU COULD PAY A FINE OF UP TO $500.
A MISDEMEANOR CHARGE ESTABLISHES A CRIMINAL RECORD
If found guilty of a misdemeanor charge in New York, you will have a criminal record for up to ten years. Even though you may not spend any time in jail, the conviction will still show on your public record.
A CRIMINAL RECORD CAN ADVERSELY AFFECT YOUR CHANCES TO:
- Obtain or keep employment. If your job requires licensing by a state or federal government, you could have your license revoked
- Attend college or University
- Obtain federal or student loans
- Immigrate or Remain in the U.S. If you are an immigrant, a criminal charge could result in denial of admission to the U.S., denial of Naturalization, or deportation
Do not take a misdemeanor charge lightly. Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer in New York that can provide superior misdemeanor defense legal services for you.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with us, call (845) 363-1994. Our office is located in Brewster. Call Christopher York Attorney at Law today.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.