Many people are under the mistaken impression that misdemeanors are not serious crimes. While it is true that the penalties upon conviction for misdemeanor offenses in New York are typically less harsh than those for felonies, that does not mean that you should treat them lightly. Indeed, a misdemeanor conviction can have very serious long-term consequences. You could spend up to a year in jail for some misdemeanors, be on the hook for thousands of dollars in fines and restitution, and have a criminal record which may hurt your employment, educational, and other opportunities for years to come.
At Epstein & Conroy, we take all criminal charges seriously. We understand the impact that a misdemeanor conviction can have, so we pursue defense strategies designed to either defeat the charges entirely or minimize any negative impact from the charges. We routinely handle misdemeanor cases in Brooklyn and all other boroughs of New York City.
What are New York Misdemeanors?
The defining characteristic of a New York misdemeanor is the maximum punishment available upon conviction. A misdemeanor offense is one for which a sentence can be imposed of more than 15 days but not more than one year.
In New York, misdemeanors come in three classes:
- Class A Misdemeanors: The most serious kind of misdemeanor, class A offenses can result in up to one year in jail, three years of probation, and/or a fine of up to $1,000, as well as restitution in twice the amount of the defendant’s gain from the crime.
- Class B Misdemeanors: Upon conviction for a class B misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to up to three months in jail, one year of probation, fines up to $500, and restitution in twice the amount of any financial gain from the crime.
- Unclassified Misdemeanors: These are any offenses not defined in New York Penal law (other than traffic violations) for which a sentence of imprisonment of greater than 15 days but not in excess of one year may be imposed.
Don’t Try to Take the “Easy” Way Out of Misdemeanor Charges
Often, people facing New York misdemeanor charges can be tempted to plead guilty or try to fight charges on their own believing that it may be the “easy” way out of their ordeal. This can be a serious mistake.
The problem is that even if you avoid jail time, you are admitting to a crime which will leave you with a criminal record. A New York misdemeanor conviction can stay with you for decades, even for the rest of your life. The “easy” way out can prevent you from getting a job or buying a home. It could impact your immigration status and put you at risk for deportation. In sum, you simply may not know what you are getting into if you enter into a plea bargain with prosecutors.
That is why it is so important to contact a criminal defense attorney if you have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor in New York.
At Epstein & Conroy, we offer free, confidential initial consultations to those accused of misdemeanor offenses. We can evaluate the charges, advise you of your options, and speak with prosecutors on your behalf. While we will seek to minimize the consequences of a trial conviction or negotiated plea, our first priority in every case is dismissal.