NYC Criminal Penalties

If you are convicted of a crime in New York there are several different types of penalties that you will face. These include a criminal record, fines, jail, prison, probation, and possible collateral consequences rcriminal law nycelated to matters such as immigration and employment. The charge you are convicted of will control the possible penalties. If you have been charged with multiple offenses, you face the possibility of consecutive sentencing. Consecutive sentences run one after the other so if you were convicted of two crimes, both with a 4 year maximum sentence, you could be sentenced to 8 years total if your sentences were to run consecutively. The alternative is concurrent sentences which run at the same time so instead of being sentenced to 8 years under the preceding example, you would be sentenced to 4 years on each count running concurrently for a total of 4 years.

In addition to the risk of incarceration, criminal convictions are a problem in and of itself. If you are convicted of a crime in the state of New York, whether it be a felony or misdemeanor, you will have a permanent criminal record. Unlike other states, New York does not have a post-conviction expungement statute meaning that regardless of how you live your life following your conviction, you will always have the conviction following you. Avoiding a jail sentence may not be the least of your worries. While a criminal record may insignificant compared to jail, you will find that life is much more difficult with a criminal record. Criminal records can hinder one’s job opportunities since employers routinely run background checks, one’s ability to rent since landlords can deny a person based on criminal activity, and could affect professional licensing.

Offense Class Maximum Penalty Examples
A Misdemeanor 1 Year Jail Shoplifting, Fistfight, Possessing a small amount of drugs, Failing to pay a taxicab, Public exposure
B Misdemeanor 90 Days Jail Marijuana possession, Prostitution, Issuing a bad check
Unclassified Misdemeanor 1 Year in Jail DWI, Aggravated unlicensed driving, Reckless driving (30 day jail max)
A1 Felony Life in Prison Murder
A2 Felony Life in Prison Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (20 year max), Serious sexual assault
B Felony 25 Years in Prison Sale of a Controlled Substance, Rape 1°, Kidnapping
C Felony 15 Years in Prison Burglary 2° (140.25), Possession of a loaded gun
D Felony 7 Years in Prison Grand Larceny (over $3,000), Welfare fraud, Identity theft, Possession of over 4 oz. Marijuana, Forgery
E Felony 4 Years in Prison Grand Larceny (over $1,000), Causing over $250 in damage, Possession of child pornography

Incarceration. Along with a permanent criminal record, you will also be exposed to possible incarceration if convicted of a crime. Jails are run by counties and cities on a local level. They hold prisoners that are currently facing crimes that can either not make bail or were remanded. Jails also hold people convicted of crimes and sentenced to a definite sentence. A definite sentence is a flat jail sentence of one year or less. These types of sentences are available to people who are convicted of misdemeanors and class E and D felonies. People convicted of more serious felonies cannot receive a jail sentence.

Another form of incarceration, and more serious than jail, is prison. Prisons are run at the state level and hold people convicted of felonies and sentenced to more than a year in prison. Prison sentences are mandatory if you are convicted of a second felony less than 10 years from a previous one. There are two types of prison sentences: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate sentences are flat, one number, sentences such as 5 years. You can be sentenced to a determinate time if you are convicted of a violent felony or a felony drug crime. You may also be sentenced to a period of post-release supervision after you are released, which is a lot like parole.

Indeterminate sentences are prison sentences that have a minimum and maximum number, such as 5 to 15 years. Indeterminate sentences are given to people convicted of non-violent felonies. The lower number of the sentence represents the earliest you will be eligible for parole, while the higher number is your max time. So if sentenced to 5 to 15 years, you will be eligible for a hearing to be granted parole after 5 years. If granted parole, you will serve out the remaining 10 years of your sentence on parole.

Probation. As an alternative to incarceration a judge could choose to sentence you to a period of probation instead. Probation is available for misdemeanor and less serious felony convictions. Probation can mean a lot of different things to different people. People also must give up many rights in order to be granted probation rather than incarceration. Some of the concessions you must make is to agree to random drug testing, searches of their home, be enrolled in school or employed, etc. If you fail to comply with any of the requirements of probation, you can be violated and face incarceration. The length of your probation will depend upon the charge you are convicted. If convicted of a class B misdemeanor you can be sentenced up to one year probation. If it is a class A misdemeanor, you can be sentenced up to three years probation. For felonies, up to 5 years of probation can be sentenced. Early termination of probation is possible for those who comply with probations terms. This usually requires at least half of the sentence be completed and will require the recommendation of your probation officer.

Finally, there are penalties associated with criminal convictions that you won’t be sentenced to, but need to be aware of such as consequences to your job or immigration status. If you are not a citizen of the United States, even the arrest could have negative consequences for you, including up to deportation. Crimes of moral turpitude, such as theft, are the crimes that offer the greatest exposure to negative consequences. You could also face negative employment consequences. Employers routinely run background checks and those with criminal records are over 50% less likely to receive a call back. The effects of a criminal record rarely stop at the end of the sentence of the court. If you or a loved one has been arrested in New York, contact us for a free case evaluation.

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