If you’ve recently visited our legal blog, you may have seen our article about how felonies are classified and penalized under New York’s criminal laws. In this article, our Queens misdemeanor defense lawyers will shift the focus to misdemeanors, which, while not as serious as felony crimes like rape and murder, are still capable of burdening the defendant with expensive fines, jail time, and a lasting criminal record.
What Are the Penalties if You Are Convicted of a Misdemeanor Crime in Queens?
Misdemeanors carry lighter criminal penalties than felonies. As a result, some defendants do not take misdemeanor charges as seriously as they should. This is a grave legal mistake which must be avoided at all costs. Even if a criminal charge is “just” a misdemeanor, the defendant nonetheless risks the following consequences:
- Creation of a criminal record.
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation.
- Incarceration in a county jail.
- Mandatory community service.
- Mandatory participation in education courses, counseling, and/or treatment for substance abuse.
- Supervised probation. A person who is on probation, called a probationer, is required to periodically report to a probation officer. If the probationer commits a violation of probation in Queens (VOP), they can potentially be sent to jail, depending on how serious the probation violation is.
- Various fines, court fees, and in some cases, victim restitution. Together, these expenses can wind up costing the defendant thousands of dollars.
Similar to felonies, which are separated into five groups called “classes,” misdemeanors are also divided several different categories in New York. However, unlike felonies, misdemeanors are not separated into violent and non-violent offenses. Another major difference is that there are only three types of misdemeanors in New York City: Class B misdemeanors, Class A misdemeanors, and “Unclassified” misdemeanors, which belong to neither category.
Class A misdemeanors are more serious than Class B misdemeanors. Any offense below a Class B misdemeanor is a violation. Though not technically considered crimes, violations can still result in fines and incarceration. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or violation in Queens, you should contact an experienced Queens criminal attorney as soon as possible for legal help.
If you are convicted of a Class A misdemeanor in Queens, you could face up to a year in jail. The maximum jail sentence for a Class B misdemeanor in New York is 90 days (three months). A violation may result in up to 15 days of incarceration.
Unclassified misdemeanors are sentenced a little differently. Depending on the offense, an unclassified misdemeanor can be charged as though it were a Class B or Class A misdemeanor. NY Penal Law § 70.15(3) provides that unclassified misdemeanors should receive “the sentence specified in the law or ordinance that defines the crime.” For example, New York’s DWI statute specifies that driving while intoxicated “shall be a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by… imprisonment in a penitentiary or county jail for not more than one year.” Notice how the statute’s language simply mentions “a misdemeanor” without specifying Class B or Class A.
Examples of Violations and Class A, Class B, and Unclassified Misdemeanors in New York
Listed below are some examples of violations and misdemeanors under New York’s penal code. Keep in mind that it is not a complete list and does not represent every possible misdemeanor charge in Queens.
- Unclassified Misdemeanors
- Aggravated Driving without a License
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Reckless Driving
- Class B Misdemeanors
- Fifth Degree Criminal Sale of Marijuana
- First Degree Harassment
- First Degree Loitering
- Fourth Degree Stalking
- Possession of Graffiti Instruments
- Public Lewdness
- Third Degree Criminal Trespass
- Third Degree Menacing
- Third Degree Sexual Abuse
- Unlawful Assembly
- Class A Misdemeanors
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
- Fifth Degree Insurance Fraud
- First Degree Criminal Trespass
- First Degree Public Lewdness
- Forcible Touching
- Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief
- Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon
- Fourth Degree Criminal Sale of Marijuana
- Killing or Injuring a Police Animal
- Making Graffiti
- Petit Larceny (Petty Theft)
- Possession of Burglar’s Tools
- Prostitution in a School Zone
- Second Degree Aggravated Harassment
- Second Degree Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia
- Second Degree Menacing
- Second Degree Reckless Endangerment
- Second Degree Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Misconduct
- Theft of Services
- Third Degree Assault
- Third Degree Bail Jumping
- Third Degree Forgery
- Third Degree Identity Theft
- Third Degree Stalking
For examples of and information about felony charges in Queens, see our article explaining the penalties for a felony in New York.
If you or one or your family members was arrested for a misdemeanor in Queens, Brooklyn, or Manhattan, call the Queens criminal lawyers of Sullivan & Galleshaw right away at (800) 730-0135 for a free consultation. We will keep your information private.