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What Are the Levels of Offenses in New York State?

Interviewer: In New York, are there any other levels of offenses besides felonies and misdemeanors?  Is there a lower level that goes below misdemeanors that’s above traffic tickets or parking tickets?

In New York, in Addition to Felonies and Misdemeanors, Violations are an Additional Tier of Offenses

Ben Doscher: Yes.  They are violations. An individual could receive a violation for disorderly conduct or driving while ability impaired.

Interviewer: What would happen if you get a violation?  Is that similar to the misdemeanor process?  Will you go to jail?  What happens with a violation proceeding?

Ben Doscher: With a violation, the case goes in front of a judge, but the maximum jail time you’re facing is 15 days in jail.

In New York, There Are Two Levels of Misdemeanors, a Class A and a Class B

Interviewer: How about for misdemeanors, what are the levels of potential punishment you face?

Ben Doscher: Yes, there are A and B misdemeanors.  The Class A misdemeanors carry one year potentially and Class B misdemeanors carry 90 days potentially.

There are Five Levels of Felony Charges

Interviewer: What about for felonies, how many levels are there?

Ben Doscher: Well, there is A to E level felonies.  A-B-C-D and E are five levels of felonies.

Offenses Subject to Violations Include Harassment

Interviewer: You mentioned that DWAI, which is having a blood alcohol level of below .08, is a violation offense, as well as disorderly conduct. What other type of offenses would be considered a violation?

Ben Doscher: Harassment in the second degree and disorderly conduct or both violations of the law.

Misdemeanor-Level Offenses Include Assault and Marijuana Possession

Interviewer: How about misdemeanors, what’s an example of some misdemeanor-level offenses?

Ben Doscher: A misdemeanor would be an assault in the third degree, for example, punching somebody in the face.  A Class B misdemeanor would be possession of marijuana.  A violation would be possession of a very small amount of marijuana.

Interviewer: How about incidents of domestic violence?  Is that a misdemeanor?

Ben Doscher: They don’t have an actual charge of domestic violence in New York, but if it’s an assault it would be domestic violence.  A violation of a court order could be domestic violence.

Felony-Level Offenses Include Wiretapping and a DWI with a High Blood –Alcohol Level

Interviewer: What are felony-level offenses? Are there ones that would be surprising to people?

Ben Doscher: An unusual case would be wiretapping, which is a felony.

Interviewer: Wiretapping?

Aggravated Unlicensed Driving Is a Felony-Level Offense

Ben Doscher: Yes.  It’s a felony, yes. DWI can be a felony if you have multiple arrests in a certain amount of time or if your blood alcohol is too high.  Aggravated unlicensed driving can be a felony.

Interviewer:  What about burglary?

Ben Doscher: Burglary is a felony, yes.

Shoplifting Is a Misdemeanor or a Felony-Level Offense Depending on the Value of the Stolen Item 

Interviewer: Is shoplifting a felony also?

Ben Doscher: It depends.  It’s called petty larceny if it’s below $500 and it is considered grand larceny if it’s above that amount.  Grand larceny is a felony and petty larceny is a misdemeanor.

The Amount in Your Possession and the Type of Drug Are Factors in Whether a Drug Charge Is a Felony or a Misdemeanor

Possession of drugs is called criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and is a misdemeanor.  It’s a felony when you have more than a certain amount. It depends on the drug and the weight of the drug.