Felony Offenses in New York
Crimes and punishments in New York are set out in state statutes. Every criminal offense is written in state law, describing what the elements of the crime are which must be proven for a conviction, and designating the offense as a particular type of misdemeanor or felony. Broadly speaking, misdemeanor offenses are punishable with fines and up to one year in jail, while felonies can be punishable with a year or more in state prison, along with more expensive fines as well. Felony offenses are further divided into classes, with different minimum and maximum ranges for jail time depending upon the class. Some classes of felonies in New York have mandatory minimum sentences as well.
Classes of Felonies under New York State Law
Felonies in New York range from Class E felonies, where punishments can range from one year to four years, up to Class A felonies, with a maximum sentence of life in prison. For a Class A-II felony, the minimum sentence is anywhere from three to eight years; for a Class A-I felony, the minimum sentence is anywhere between 15 and 40 years. Since New York does not have the death penalty, the maximum penalty is life in prison without the possibility of parole. This sentence is typically reserved for a terrorism conviction or first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances.
Here are the felony classes in New York, along with the possible ranges of prison time and some examples of offenses which fall within each class:
Class A-I Felony: from 15 to 40 years, up to life/Class A-II Felony: from three to eight years, up to life
- Murder (first or second degree, aggravated murder)
- Conspiracy (first degree)
- Arson (first degree)
- Possession or Sale of narcotics (first degree)
Class B Felony: from one year up to 25 years
- Assault (first degree)
- Gang Assault (first degree)
- Manslaughter (first degree)
- Rape (first degree)
- Burglary (first degree)
Class C Felony: from one year up to 15 years
- Manslaughter (second degree)
- Vehicular Manslaughter (first degree)
- Welfare Fraud (second degree)
- Bribery (second degree)
Class D Felony: from one year up to seven years
- Stalking (first degree)
- Making a Terroristic Threat
- Vehicular Assault (first degree)
- Vehicular Manslaughter (second degree)
- Forgery (second degree)
Class E Felony: from one year up to four years
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse (fourth degree)
- Persistent Sexual Abuse
- Conspiracy (fourth degree)
- Vehicular Assault (second degree)
- Computer Tampering (third degree)
Determinate versus Indeterminate Sentences
Upon conviction, the judge can engage in either indeterminate or determinate sentencing. If given an indeterminate sentence, you will be sentenced to serve between a minimum and maximum term of years, and you can be eligible for parole after serving the minimum sentence. If given a determinate sentence, you are ordered to serve a set number of years, although you can still be eligible for parole after serving a designated portion of your sentence.
Get Help with Felony Charges from Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorneys
For any alleged crime, the prosecutor normally has discretion on what charges to file, based on what the state thinks they can prove. For instance, a homicide could be charged as second degree manslaughter (class C felony) or first-degree murder (class A-1 felony). This is one reason getting an experienced criminal defense attorney on your case as soon as possible is so important. Your lawyer can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case and sometimes influence what charges are filed. If a lower class of felony can be filed (or a misdemeanor filed instead of a felony), this greatly impacts what has to be proven or defended against, along with the possible consequences in the case of a conviction.
If you have been arrested for a felony offense in Orange County or the Hudson Valley, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C. in Goshen for practical advice and effective representation from knowledgeable and experienced New York criminal defense attorneys.