Levels of Felonies In New York

Levels of Felonies In New York


Being convicted of a felony in New York is not to be taken lightly. There are so many rights that an individual could lose if he is charged with a felony. 

This article will discuss the different levels of felonies and the different kinds of penalties that come with it. 

The Concept of Felonies

All felonies in New York are considered as serious crimes. They are considered as the highest level of seriousness because they are either punishable by death or imprisonment of more than a year. 

Before dwelling into the different charges and levels of felonies in New York, it is important to first define the important terms that come with the concept. 

First, a felony is a crime. Basically, the difference between a felony and its counterparts is the fact that it can give out the worst kinds of penalties. 

In sentencing a felony, there are different factors that are considered by the court. 

An important concept to remember is the concept of prior convictions. Prior convictions is a concept whenever a person has no prior felony convictions within the last ten years. This period is important in sentencing. 

For example, if you have been prosecuted and charged with a felony assault in 2010 but you were not convicted, then you were once again charged, but this time convicted in 2019. You will not have to face a steeper penalty. However, if you were convicted in 2010, then again in 2019, you will face a steeper penalty.

A non-violent predicate happens if your previous conviction within the last ten years is for a non-violent crime. The reverse, a violent predicate, is whenever a person has a previous violent convictions within the last ten years.

There is also such a thing as a Persistent Felony Offender. A persistent felony offender is whenever a person has two or more previous felony convictions then that person may be considered a persistent felony offender and may be sentenced to life in prison.

In the City of New York, it is very challenging to fight felony charges since the prosecutors are conservative when it comes to things like this. New York is known as a strict State against crime 

The Penalties of Felonies 

Generally, if you are found convicted of a felony in New York, you should be ready to face the following:

  • You may no longer vote. This is a civil rights removal that is necessary to weed out those in society who should not be allowed to vote. This act is called felony disenfranchisement;
  • There is also the concept of exclusion from any right of future purchase of firearms. Once convicted, individuals are no longer allowed to purchase or use firearms;
  • You may no longer sit on a jury. This one is not as severe but kidding aside, you are sure that you will no longer be eligible to sit as a jury member once you are a convicted felon.
  • You are excluded from welfare. Welfare benefits are important especially during the rough patches of an individual’s life. It is always better to benefit from them than not at all, so this is a tough one;
  • You are barred from federal-funded housing as well; and You are excluded from some operator licenses.

The Classes Of Felonies

There are different classes of felonies in New York and with each one, there are different levels of consequences. 

The first one is the ​Class A Felony. 

A Class A felony in New York is considered as the highest degree of felony and is reserved for crimes such as murder or treason. It is a Class A Felony Penalty (A-I and A-II) when it has the longest sentences, including life without parole, life imprisonment with parole, and even the death penalty. Since the abolishment of the death penalty in 2007, most individuals are trying to stay away from any kind of Class A Felony. 

What are the different kinds of Class A Felonies in New York? 

  • First degree murder;
  • First-degree arson;
  • Terrorism;
  • First-degree criminal sale or possession of a controlled substance;
  • Predatory sexual assault;
  • Second-degree criminal use of a chemical or biological weapon; and ● Second-degree criminal sale or possession of a controlled substance.


Another one is a ​Class B Felony. 

A Class B felony are those cases below murder such as the following:

  • Armed Robbery - this crime is theft that involves the use of force. 
  • Homicide - is a crime below murder especially when it is an attempt.
  • Drug Trafficking - this is also sometimes referred to as distribution of illegal narcotics.
  • Rape - the forcible sexual attempt on a woman where the penis was able to graze and penetrate the labia, no matter how small.
  • Violent Assault - sexual assault in extreme circumstances;
  • Manslaughter - this one is charged as a homicide that occurs in the heat of passion.
  • Arson - this one is defined as the intentional destruction of property by lighting fires.
  • Attempted class A felony - generally whenever there is an attempt at first degree murder or rape.
  • Kidnapping in the second degree - whenever an individual is deprived of liberty for a ransom.
  • Reckless homicide - occurs whenever the accused kills with extreme indifference for others’ lives.
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon - when the elements of assault are present while the accused utilized the use of a weapon.

The penalty for a Class B Felony often depends on whether or not the crime charged is of a violent nature.

For a Class B Violent Felony, the maximum imposable sentence is 25 years while for a Class B Non-Violent Felony, the maximum sentence is 25 years.

Third level is a ​Class C Felony.

A Class C felony in New York includes the following crimes:

  • Assault;
  • Theft;
  • Robbery;
  • Larceny; and
  • Drug Distribution.

If there are many multiple charges that are combined, or whenever there's new evidence that is introduced, this kind of Class C Felony can be elevated to a Class B Felony. This means an increase in penalty. For a Class C Violent Felony, the charge is at 3 ½  to a 15 years maximum sentence while a Class C Non-Violent Felony, it ranges from No Jail with Probation, or up to 15 years.

Fourth one is a ​Class D Felony.

Class D Felonies are considered as serious crimes but with less malice compared to the previous three classes. It includes cases like:

  • Different types of fraud;
  • Larceny;
  • Robbery;
  • Burglary;
  • Theft; and 
  • Manslaughter.

When it comes to the penalty, a Class D Violent Felony comes with a 2 to 7 year maximum sentence while a Class D Non-Violent Felony ranges from No Jail with Probation, to a maximum of 7 years.

Finally, there are also ​Class E Felony.

This one is considered as the last class of felonies in New York. Class E felonies are considered as such whenever the charge is a little higher than a misdemeanor. The following are considered as a Class E Felony, such as:

  • Abandonment of a child - this is the charge if you abandon a child under your own custody and care;
  • Aggravated assault upon a Minor - if you assaulted or caused pain to a minor who is younger than 11 years old, and is not related to you, you may be charged with assault;
  • Aggravated harassment in the first degree - harassment cases also fall under Class E Felony in New York;
  • Arson in the fourth degree - anything higher in malice is charges as Arson as a Class E Felony; 
  • Computer tampering in the third degree - this one is considered as a felony if you are able to access another individual’s computer without consent, and tamper its software and hardware.
  • Conspiracy in the fourth degree - this is conspiracy that would come out higher than a misdemeanor.

Drug related cases under a Class E felony as well as computer related felonies include the following:

  • Criminal injection of a narcotic drug;
  • Criminal possession of computer-related material;
  • Criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree;
  • Criminal possession of public benefit cards in the third degree;  Criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree; and   Criminal sale of marijuana in the third degree.

Negligence cases are also considered as 

  • Criminally negligent homicide - According to New York Penal Law Section 125.10, criminally negligent homicide is charged when a person causes the death of another person with negligence.

If you are found in charge of the following, they are also considered as Class E Felonies:

  • Defrauding the government
  • Disseminating indecent material to minors in the second degree
  • Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in the second degree
  • Falsely reporting an incident in the first degree
  • Falsifying business records in the first degree
  • Forgery of a Vehicle Identification Number of VIN
  • Grand larceny in the fourth degree
  • Insurance fraud in the fourth degree
  • Making a false statement in the first degree
  • Non-support of a child in the first degree
  • Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree
  • Patronizing a prostitute in the second degree
  • Perjury in the second degree
  • Placing a false bomb in the first degree
  • Stalking in the second degree
  • Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree
  • Vehicular assault in the second degree
  • Welfare fraud in the fourth degree

The following sexual charges are also considered as a Class E Felony, such as;

  • Rape in the third degree
  • Reckless assault of a minor child by a daycare provider
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the third degree
  • Possession of a sexual performance by a minor/child
  • Possession of an obscene sexual performance by a minor/child

The penalty for a Class E Violent Felony ranges from No Jail with Probation or Jail for up to 4 years while the penalty for a Class E Non-Violent Felony ranges from No Jail with Probation or Jail for up to 4 years.

Get The Help You Need

At the end of the day, it is important that you get all of the help that you need when facing prosecution. Being prosecuted for a crime is one thing but being convicted is another. Make sure that you have all of the important facts and the defenses that you could possibly need. 

Your felony lawyer should be able to help you find the right defense from the time that you hire him. A plea bargaining deal should always be on the table. Technicality should be handled with great caution as that can also take care of your case. You should also be able to throw out evidence if you have the right lawyer.

Whatever you need, whatever kind of defense is necessary, you should get a lawyer who can help you.

Contact Us Today

If you need help urgently, we are always here to assist you. You can go to our office at 1121 Avenue Z, Brooklyn, NY 11235 or call our telephone at: 929-365-2306

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