Most people already know that felonies are more serious criminal charges than misdemeanors. But what fewer people realize is that there are several different kinds of felonies. Each state has its own system for categorizing – and punishing – felony offenses. New York refers to each type of felony as a “class.” In this article, the New York drug possession lawyers at Sullivan and Galleshaw will explain some vital information about Class B felonies for defendants and their family members. We will show examples of Class B felonies, the consequences of a Class B felony conviction, and what to do if you or a loved one has been charged with a Class B felony in Queens, or anywhere in New York City.
Examples of Class B Felony Offenses Under the NY Penal Law
New York divides felonies into five groups, each of which is labeled with a letter and “class.” Felony classes in New York are:
- Class A Felonies
- Class B Felonies
- Class C Felonies
- Class D Felonies
- Class E Felonies
Class A felonies are the most serious, while Class E felonies are the least serious – comparatively speaking. Regardless of class, all felony allegations are urgent legal matters that can lead to harsh penalties – in addition to a permanent criminal record.
In addition to having a “class,” most felony crimes are also labeled with a numbered “degree.” For example, a first degree crime or second degree crime. Speaking generally, a lower number indicates a more serious offense. For instance, a first degree assault charge would be more serious than a second degree assault charge.
Examples of Class B felonies under the NY Penal Law include, but are not limited to, the following crimes:
- Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
- Attempted Second Degree Murder
- First Degree Assault
- First Degree Bribery
- First Degree Burglary
- First Degree Gang Assault
- First Degree Insurance Fraud
- First Degree Money Laundering
- First Degree Possession of a Weapon
- First Degree Possession of Stolen Property
- First Degree Promotion of Prostitution
- First Degree Rape
- First Degree Robbery
- Second Degree Arson
- Second Degree Kidnapping
- Sex Trafficking
What Are the Penalties for a Class B Felony in New York?
At this point, you may be wondering why it is important for defendants to understand how felony charges are classified under the state’s Penal Law. The answer is that the class a felony belongs in determines how harshly the defendant may be punished if he or she is convicted or pleads guilty to the charge. Although judges have some leeway in terms of sentencing and fines, they are still required to impose a sentence and/or fine that falls within the parameters of the penalties permitted for that particular class of felony. For example, a judge would not be able to sentence a defendant to life in prison unless he or she was convicted of a Class A felony. Of course, a skilled defense attorney will fight vigorously for the lightest sentence possible, regardless of the severity of the offense.
New York felony sentences are set forth in NY Penal Code § 70.00. The prison sentence for a Class B felony in New York may range anywhere from one to 25 years in prison, depending on factors like the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history, if any. Likewise, felony fines are established by NY Penal Law § 80.00. Under this statute, defendants who have been convicted of Class B felonies may be fined either:
- Up to $5,000; or
- Twice the amount the defendant gained by committing the offense.
There are several exceptions for drug-related Class B felonies that permit substantially higher fines to be imposed. Under NY Penal Law § 80.00(1)(c)(iii), a defendant may be fined as much as $30,000 if he or she is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, any of the following offenses:
- First Degree Methamphetamine Manufacturing
- Selling Drugs on or Near School Grounds
- Selling Drugs to a Child
- Third Degree Drug Possession (“Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance”)
- Third Degree Sale of a Controlled Substance
New York Criminal Defense Lawyer Handling Felony Charges
A Class B felony is one of the most serious crimes you can be accused of committing under New York City’s criminal laws. If you or a loved one has been arrested for or charged with any of the felony offenses described in this article, or with any other crime that you did not see listed above, it is vital that you seek skilled legal representation right away. To set up a free and confidential legal consultation with a New York defense lawyer who has years of experience handing a wide array of felony charges, contact Sullivan and Galleshaw at (800) 730-0135 today.