Have You Been Charged With A Felony Crime In New York?
Nassau County Takes Felony Convictions Seriously!
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NEW YORK TAKES FELONIES SERIOUSLY
New York has some of the most notoriously tough guidelines when it comes to criminal convictions. If you have been arrested or charged with a felony crime, your entire future may seem overwhelming and questionable.
When you are charged with a crime, the United States Constitution affords you certain rights. This includes the right to due process and a fair trial. However, without the representation of an excellent criminal defense lawyer, you may not have the best chance to beat your charges or minimize the potential consequences.
As an experienced law firm in Nassau County, The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. is here to help. Below, we help you define the New York felony classifications as well as the potential consequences of a conviction. As terrifying as these classifications and consequences are, The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. can help you navigate through your felony charges and resulting trial. Call today for your free consultation!
NEW YORK FELONIES: UNDERSTANDING THE CLASSIFICATIONS
Being charged with a crime is overwhelming enough. Hearing the word “felony” associated with that crime, however, can take that feeling to incomprehensible levels.
According to the New York State Penal Law, Article 10, a felony is an offense that results in a sentence that mandates a term of no less than 1 year of incarceration. Under this definition, there are a great many crimes that can be categorized under the New York State Penal Law as felonies.
In New York, there are five classification levels when it comes to felonies. Before we define the consequences associated with these levels, however, you first need to understand what these classifications actually mean and the types of crimes that fall under each.
Class A Felony
Class A felonies are considered the most serious crimes you can commit under New York State law. New York breaks down Class A felonies into two distinct groups: Class A-I and Class A-II felonies. Crimes that are considered to be Class A-I felonies in New York include, but are not limited to: murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, arson in the first degree, and kidnapping in the first degree. Class A-II felonies includes crimes, such as criminal possession of a controlled dangerous substance in the second degree, predatory sexual assault, and criminal use of a chemical weapon.
Class B Felony
Class B felonies are crimes that are considered to be slightly less heinous than those listed as Class A felonies. Class B felonies are the first crimes that are broken in to violent or non-violent sub-categories. We will talk more on this in the next section. Examples of violent Class B felonies includes gang assaults in the first degree, attempted murder in the second degree, manslaughter in the first degree, kidnapping in the second degree, and burglary in the first degree. Non-violent Class B felonies, by comparison, include attempting to commit a Class A-1 felony, criminal mischief in the first degree, insurance fraud in the first degree, and sex trafficking.
Class C Felony
Class C felonies also fall into violent and non-violent sub-categories. Violent Class C felonies include crimes such as aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree, assault on a police officer, robbery in the second degree, and aggravated manslaughter in the second degree. By comparison, non-violent Class C felonies include vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, grand larceny in the first degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree, forgery in the first degree, and health care fraud in the second degree.
Class D Felony
Violent and non-violent Class D felonies are considered to be less serious than Class C felonies. Violent Class D felonies include reckless assault of a child, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, intimidating a victim or witness in the second degree, and sexual abuse in the first degree. Non-violent Class D felonies, on the other hand, include crimes such as computer tampering in the third degree, unauthorized use of a vehicle in the first degree, criminal trespass in the first degree, and aggravated identity theft.
Class E Felony
Class E felonies, both violent and non-violent, are the least serious types of felonies you can be convicted of. As such, the violent felonies that fall into this category are few, while the non-violent list is extensive. Violent Class E felonies include persistent sexual abuse, falsely reporting an incident in the second degree, and aggravated sexual abuse in the fourth degree. Non-violent Class E felonies include crimes like female genital mutilation, cemetery desecration in the first degree, arson in the fourth degree, menacing in the first degree, rape in the third degree, escape in the second degree, and hindering prosecution in the second degree.
NEW YORK FELONIES: UNDERSTANDING THE CONSEQUENCES
Now that you know a bit more about felony classifications according to the New York State Penal Law, it is important to understand what these classifications mean in regards to potential consequences.
A Note on Consequences
Before we begin, you should note that New York sub-categorizes felonies as “violent” or “non-violent.” This further breakdown provides certain distinctions when it comes to the potential consequences, with violent crimes typically receiving more severe punishments than their non-violent counterparts.
In addition to this, there are two basic types of sentences a convicted felon may receive: indeterminate or determinate.
- Indeterminate Sentences: Indeterminate sentences are those that span a range of years. These sentences, when given, have a minimum and maximum number of years an individual will need to serve before being released. Indeterminate sentences are most often handed down for non-violent felonies. After the minimum amount of time spent in incarceration, a convicted felon with an indeterminate sentence will be eligible for parole. If they are not granted parole, he or she will still not serve more than the maximum time as sentenced by the court.
- Determinate Sentences: Determinate sentences are those that are subjected to a set period of time. Individuals who receive a determinate sentence cannot be released prior to the date set by the court. Determinate sentences are most often given in cases of violent crimes, or repeat offenders.
Those who have served time or have been convicted of two previous felonies are considered to be a “persistent felony offender” in New York. Being identified as a persistent felony offender means you may be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of a third felony offense.
New York takes into consideration several factors before a final sentence is given upon a felony conviction. This includes whether the crime was considered violent or non-violent, the felony’s classification, the convict’s prior criminal record, and more.
Class A Felony
As stated above, Class A felonies are considered to be the most serious crimes you can commit. As such, they stand to incur the most severe punishments. You should also note that all Class A felonies are considered violent crimes, however, they are typically given indeterminate sentences.
- Indeterminate Sentence: Both a Class A-I and Class A-II felony receive up to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. However, the minimums do vary. For a Class A-I felony, the minimum a convicted felon will serve is between 15 and 40 years. For Class A-II felonies, however, the minimum is between 3 and 8 years.
- Determinate Sentence: For both Class A-I and Class A-II felony convictions, the judge can sentence you to life without the possibility of parole.
It is also important to point out that New York abolished the death penalty in 2007. Therefore, a Class A felony conviction, which was the only type punishable by death, can no longer make you eligible for the death penalty in New York State.
Class B Felony
Class B felonies contain a mixture of violent and non-violent crimes. The majority, however, are violent. Because of this, Class B felony consequences are not light.
- Indeterminate Sentence: For those who commit a non-violent first felony offense under this classification, a judge may sentence you to incarceration for anywhere from 1 to 25 years. For those who commit a violent Class B felony as a first offense, the judge may issue a sentence that ranges between 8 and 25 years.
- Determinate Sentence: Determinate Class B felony sentences can run between 5 to 25 years in a state prison facility.
In a few cases, lawyers have successfully helped their clients to bargain for a reduced sentence through plea bargains. Charges may even be dropped, although this is exceptionally rare.
Class C Felony
Class C felonies contain almost an equal mix of violent and non-violent crimes. As the middle-ground of the felony classifications, these felonies have punishments that range from 1 year to many more.
- Indeterminate Sentence: A first time non-violent Class C felony offender may find themselves subjected to a sentence that ranges between 1 and 15 years. A violent first-time offender, however, may see a sentence that ranges between 3.5 and 15 years instead.
- Determinate Sentence: A determinate sentence for a Class C felony may result in incarceration that can be between 5 and 15 years in a state prison facility.
In some cases, a non-violent first-time felon who is convicted of a Class C felony may be eligible for probation in place of jail time. However, if you are charged with multiple offenses, a Class C felony can be elevated to a Class B felony, thus increasing the potential sentence.
Class D Felony
Class D felonies have a more lenient sentence than those given for the previous classification.
- Indeterminate Sentences: For non-violent first-time offenders convicted of a Class D felony, a sentence range of 1 to 7 years is possible. For violent first-time offenders, however, a 2 to 7-year range is more likely.
- Determinate Sentences: A determinate sentence for a Class D felony in New York will be between 2 to 7 years in incarceration.
In certain cases, first time non-violent offenders have received a probation sentence in place of actual jail time.
Class E Felony
As the least severe of the felony classifications, a Class E felony in New York comes with the shortest jail sentences.
- Indeterminate Sentence: Both violent and non-violent indeterminate sentences for a Class E felony are the same. They range between a potential probation sentence in place of incarceration to 4 years in prison.
- Determinate Sentence: A definitive sentence for a Class E felony will result in a 1 to 4 year prison term.
Consequences Beyond Incarceration
Incarceration is not the only consequence you may face when convicted of a felony in New York. In fact, as a convicted felon you stand to lose some rights that you may have taken for granted. This includes the right to vote, participate as a juror, and to own or purchase firearms. You will also lose your eligibility for welfare benefits, federally subsidized housing, and certain operator and/or professional licenses.
A conviction for any felony, however, will mean you now carry a felony criminal record for the rest of your life. This will affect everything, from employment to loan approvals, and even personal relationships with your loved ones and community.
FIGHT YOUR FELONY CHARGES WITH THE HELP OF THE BEST NASSAU COUNTY CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER
The devastating effects of a felony conviction will affect the rest of your life. Hiring experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate legal counsel is essential. Whether you want to plea or fight your felony charge, The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. is ready to stand by your side throughout the entire process.
If you have been charged with a felony in New York, contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today for your free consultation.