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Buffalo Defense Attorney Explains: Differences Between Felonies and Misdemeanors in New York State

Posted by Daniel DuBois | Dec 21, 2022 | 0 Comments

Welcome back to the DuBois Law blog! Our blog here is meant to serve as a way to keep the residents of New York informed of their rights and what to expect during their journey through the legal system. If you've been arrested or stand accused of a crime, the best thing for you to do is to get in contact with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. With that in mind, let's dive into the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor charge in New York state. 

Like most states, New York classifies crimes into two categories - felonies and misdemeanors. These two carry varied penalties, with consequences that can range from a couple of months in prison to several years. 

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are considered to be less serious than felonies and tend to carry less intense penalties and sentences in return. Misdemeanors are punishable by 15 days in prison to 1 year in jail and up to $1000 in fines. We also further divide these crimes into 3 classes: Class A, Class B, and unclassified misdemeanors. 

Class A Misdemeanors - These crimes are punishable by up to 1 year in jail. Offenses include but aren't limited to forcible touching, sexual misconduct, and assault in the 3rd degree.

Class B Misdemeanors - These crimes are punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Offenses include but aren't limited to prostitution, harassment in the 1st degree and unlawful assembly. 

Unclassified Misdemeanors - The penalties that are related to these crimes are detailed in the laws that define each offense. Examples of this include aggravated unlicensed driving and reckless driving.

Felonies

Felonies are considered more serious than misdemeanors and carry prison sentences of longer than a year. Felonies are also further divided into 5 classes: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E.

Class A Felonies are punishable by up to life in prison. Examples include murder in the 1st degree and arson in the 1st.

Class B Felonies are punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Examples include sex trafficking and assault in the 1st.

Class C Felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. An example would be aggravated vehicular assault.

Class D Felonies are punishable by up to 7 years in prison. An example would include the reckless assault of a child.

Class E Felonies are punishable by up to 4 years in prison. A couple of examples include but aren't limited to defrauding the government and unlawfully concealing a will.

Felonies can carry additional penalties such as the loss of voting rights and the ability to hold some professional licenses and public offices. Both felonies and misdemeanors will show up on criminal background checks and can make finding employment more difficult. 

DISCLAIMER: PAST RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE RESULTS, AND THE OUTCOME OF YOUR PARTICULAR CASE OR MATTER CANNOT BE PREDICTED USING A LAWYER'S OR LAW FIRM'S PAST RESULTS. EACH CASE IS UNIQUE AND SHOULD BE EVALUATED THROUGH A PHONE CALL OR MEETING WITH DANIEL DUBOIS, WITHOUT COMPARISON TO OTHER CASES WHICH MAY HAVE HAD DIFFERENT FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

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If you find yourself being charged, we understand it's stressful. Here at DuBois Law, we understand, we never judge. Check out our FAQ page if you're unsure about needing a NY lawyer to represent you and defend your innocence. We think it's always worth it, and the first consultation is free. 

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