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.