When residents in New York are accused of committing a crime, it is not only important to understand the details that led to their arrest, but also what they are being charged with. While misdemeanors are considered a lesser offense and carry lesser penalties than a felony, such crimes should still be taken seriously. Defendants in New York should understand the different types of misdemeanors and the penalties they could impose.
Looking at the penal code of the state, misdemeanors are broken down into two separate categories: class A misdemeanors and Class B Misdemeanors. According to the code, a misdemeanor is considered an offense other than a traffic infraction that could carry a term of imprisonment that is in excess of fifteen days, but cannot be imposed for more than one year.
Some examples of a class A misdemeanor are attempt to commit a class E felony, criminal solicitation in the fourth degree, assault in the third degree, sexual misconduct and criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree. Regarding class B misdemeanors, a few examples are criminal tampering in the third degree, reckless endangerment of property, issuing a bad check, harassment in the first degree and unlawfully possessing or selling noxious material.
In some situations, misdemeanors are differentiated and could be labeled petty misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. With regards to petty misdemeanors, the penalties for these crimes include a jail sentence for less than six months and a fine for $500 or less. For gross misdemeanors, the penalties are for more than a petty misdemeanor but less than a felony, which commonly puts it between six months and a year.
Although they do not carry the same weight as felonies, misdemeanors could impose serious penalties that could impact the life of the accused. This is why it is important to not only address the potential penalties the accused could face, but also possible defense strategies. This could place the charges into a lower class or even dismiss the charges altogether.
Source: Ypdcrim.com, “New York State Law,” accessed on Nov. 24, 2014