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What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor in New York?

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime, you are most likely wondering about the penalties you may face. Please continue reading and speak with our experienced Rockland County criminal defense attorney to learn more about the difference between felony and misdemeanor crimes in New York State and how our firm can help you fight them. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What are the penalties for a misdemeanor crime in New York State?

The first thing you should know about misdemeanor crimes is that if you are convicted of one, you will not spend more than one year in jail. There are three categories of misdemeanor crimes: A, B, and unclassified. If you are charged with a Class A misdemeanor crime, you may spend up to one year in jail. If you are charged with a Class B misdemeanor crime, you may spend up to 90 days in jail. That being said, if you are charged with an unclassified misdemeanor, it means that you are charged with an offense that is defined outside of the Penal Law, and the penalties you may face largely depend on the circumstances surrounding your alleged crime. In most cases, if you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, you will have to appear in your local criminal court.

What are the penalties for a felony crime in New York State?

If you are convicted of a felony crime, you face a far harsher set of potential penalties than those who’ve been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. To start, you should understand that there are five classes of felonies here in New York State. Those are Class A, Class B, Class C, Class E, Class D, and Class E. Class A felonies are for the most heinous crimes, and therefore carry the harshest penalties. On the other hand, Class E felonies come with the shortest prison sentences. That being said, if you are charged with a felony, your case will be prosecuted by an indictment voted on b a grand jury. Some examples of felony charges include murder, assault, drug distribution, and more. Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, it is critical that you retain the services of a knowledgeable New York criminal defense attorney who can work to fight those charges on your behalf. Our firm is here to help.


Kevin T. Conway has over 30 years of experience as a Spring Valley criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need a Rockland County criminal lawyer, contact our Spring Valley office for a free consultation.

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