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Sentencing Guidelines for Misdemeanors and Violations

While not as severe as felonies, a conviction to a misdemeanor in NYC or anywhere in New York State is still a devastating and significant event. Any criminal conviction from Manhattan to Rockland County and Brooklyn to Westchester County can have an enormous impact on your liberty and employment as well as your legal status and professional licensing.

Solely from a standpoint of incarceration, upon conviction for a class “A” misdemeanor, any local municipal judge or criminal court judge in the City of New York can sentence you to up year in a county or city jail. One such jail where you can find yourself held is Rikers Island.

Violation, while not crimes, can also have a significant impact in certain circumstances, and it is important not to neglect or dismiss such a charge against you based on the fact that a conviction will not brand you with a criminal record. For one, a violation could potentially stay on your record forever in certain circumstances, such as allegations related to domestic violence. Furthermore, a violation, while not a crime, can still land you in jail for up to 15 days, which is long enough for some people to potentially lose their job or other similarly disastrous consequences.

Misdemeanors can be broken down as either unclassified, class "B," or class "A" misdemeanors. Violations have no such grades nor levels and are not considered a "crime." To fully understand what this means in non-legal terms, discuss all of this with your criminal defense attorney.

  • Class "A" misdemeanors: The most severe misdemeanor crimes, these offenses include Petit Larceny, Assault in the Third Degree, Fourth Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon and even Theft of Services. The sentences for a conviction to an “A” misdemeanor offense can include community service, a fine, mandatory state surcharges, issuance of an order of protection, two, three or more years of probation , up to one year in the county or city jail, such as Rikers Island, or a split sentence which includes a shorter period of incarceration for a period of time, such as 60 days, and then a longer period of probation following release from the jail .
  • Class "B" misdemeanors: Less severe than class "A" misdemeanors, but can still include a lengthy jail sentences, these offenses include crimes such as Marijuana Possession in the Fifth Degree, Prostitution and Harassment in the First Degree. Additionally, any attempt to commit a class “A” misdemeanor is by default a class “B” misdemeanor. The possible sentences for a conviction to a "B" misdemeanor are a fine, mandatory state surcharge, community service, issuance of an order of protection, probation, or incarceration in the local county or city jail for up to 90 days.
  • Unclassified misdemeanors: Not only found in the Vehicle and Traffic Law, but unclassified misdemeanors are scattered throughout various statutes in New York State. These are charges and offenses that the Vehicle and Traffic Law refers to as "misdemeanors," meaning that they are crimes that give you a criminal record and are punishable by some amount of time in jail, but the statute does not specify a level of misdemeanor. The possible sentences are typically specifically delineated in the VTL statute itself, or the statute refers to the appropriate section of the Criminal Procedure Law or the Penal Law for the level of misdemeanor it is to be assigned.
  • Violations: The least severe level of offense under the New York State Penal Law. violations include offenses such as Disorderly Conduct, Harassment in the Second Degree, and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. Typically, violations are punishable by a fine, mandatory state surcharge, community service, issuance of an order or protection, or up to 15 days in jail. However, some violation statutes specifically delineate the possible sentences and do not include jail as a possibility, and/or specify some other range of fines available to the Court.

As with all criminal charges and convictions, the sentence that directly flows from the conviction, and which is imposed on the defendant by the court, is not the only important potential consequence that an accused person may face. For example, immigration consequences are always looming, and the particular misdemeanor offense that you are convicted of, and whether it is considered a crime of "moral turpitude" by the federal government, will have a direct impact on your immigration status. Whether you are a public school teacher, a broker-dealer regulated by FINRA, a bank employee overseen by FINRA, or a professional in any capacity, know that every conviction, whether jailed or not, has grave and life altering consequences.

When faced with any crime, misdemeanor or otherwise, let the criminal defense attorneys and former prosecutors at Saland Law utilize their knowledge, experience and advocacy to serve as your best defense.

Call Our New York lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutor at (212) 312-7129 or Contact Us Online Today.

Client Reviews
... I was facing a class B felony and potentially tens of thousands in fines and some legit jail time and after hiring Jeremy Saland he obviously struck enough fear into the prosecutors with his sheer litigation might that it was knocked down to a petty misdemeanor and after a few sheckles and a handful of counseling sessions, I will no longer have a criminal record. The offices of Saland Law are the Shaq and Kobe of criminal defense in New York City and to even consider another firm is outright blasphemy. I stand by this statement 100% Evan
Let me start by saying how amazing Liz Crotty is! I am a resident of California, who needed representation for my son who received a desk citation while he was visiting NYC. Liz jumped on the case right away; she was very thorough in explaining things to me. She is strictly business too! She went to court on my son's behalf and had his case dismissed. I am forever grateful to her. Seana G.
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