When an individual is charged with a crime, it is often considered an event that could tremendously impact the life of the accused if they are convicted. Although a misdemeanor is categorically a lesser crime than a felony, facing a misdemeanor charge still carries penalties that could be considered severe and could significantly affect the life of the defendant.
What are the penalties for misdemeanors in New York? A misdemeanor is a crime that is usually punishable by a year or less in the city or county jail where the offense took place. In addition, the incarceration could be combined with a fine, an order of community service, counseling for substance abuse, anger management or other collateral punishments.
What are collateral punishments? These are considered to be the loss of privileges of the convicted in direct response to the nature of the offense they were charged with. For example, if a driver is convicted of drunk driving, they will likely lose his or her driving privileges for a given amount of time.
Because what is considered a misdemeanor in the state of New York might be labeled as a felony in another state, it is important to note the specifics of the criminal charge a defendant is accused of. In most cases, the amount of damages a defendant allegedly does to a person or property has a direct bearing on the degree of the charge. Therefore, a crime that could technically be considered a misdemeanor could be elevated to a felony charge if the damages are significant or severe.
Understanding the degree of a charge often indicates the consequences a defendant will face. In addition, it also helps the accused determine their best approach with their criminal defense. In these matters, it is critical that a defendant is fully aware of the charges they face and the potential outcomes.
Source: Government Registry, “New York Misdemeanor,” accessed March 9, 2015