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Misdemeanors & Violations

January 2, 2020

Actions that violate the law in New York are classified according to their seriousness as determined by the New York State Penal Law. These classifications of actions that break the law have their corresponding consequences and penalties that come in the form of a fine, jail time, probation which allows you to go home with the condition of good behavior and supervision or community service.

Misdemeanors and violations are the lowest major categories of lawbreaking that they do not include prison time. However, it does include jail time.

What is a Violation

Violations are the lower of the two offenses with sentences that go up to 15 days and no more. Other than a traffic infraction, it includes offenses such as harassment, trespass and disorderly conduct. If a person is arrested for having committed a violation, that person may be taken in custody and be issued a ticket to appear in court at a certain date and time.

Other offenses considered as violations are unlawful posting of advertisement, failing to respond to an appearance ticket, unlawful possession of marijuana and appearance in public under the influence of narcotics or a drug except for alcohol.

A violation is not considered a crime. It is considered a petty offense.

What is a Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is more serious than a violation but less than a felony, a higher category of offense. Misdemeanors are violations that are punishable by jail time of more than 15 days but less than a year. It may also mean a penalty fine of up to $1,000 or a probation duration of two to three years. A conditional discharge may also be given following an Order of Protection which is also known as a restraining order or temporary immunity to re-arrest.

A misdemeanor is a crime with three sub-classifications. It’s either a class A, B or considered Unclassified.

Misdemeanor Class A results in the full extent its class of offense. Class B misdemeanor in New York is slightly less serious with a maximum of 90 days of jail time, a maximum of a $500 fine or some conditional discharge.

Misdemeanor Class B includes issuing abortion articles, unlawful possession of radio devices, reckless endangerment of property, unauthorized sale of certain transportation services or prostitution.

Other Class B misdemeanor offenses include unlawful assembly, public lewdness, adultery, creating a hazard, unlawful possession or selling of noxious materials including unlawful dealing with fireworks. The range includes both acts of commission and omission that leads to public harm.

Unclassified misdemeanors include driving with a suspended license which may result in jail time of more than 15 days but less than a year.

A misdemeanor is considered a crime.

Background Checks

Violations in New York do not normally come up in background checks. Misdemeanors do.

Misdemeanor convictions will normally show up during routine background checks made by law enforcement agencies or employers. By law, any misdemeanor will stay on record for 10 years. If no other crime has been committed in those ten years with recorded crimes committed of no more than two misdemeanors or just one felony and one misdemeanor convictions, the records will be sealed and no longer be out in the public.

Though these records are no longer out in the public, misdemeanor convictions will still exist as part of recorded data but all related cards with your fingerprint and palm print, booking photos and DNA samples would either be returned to the person involved or destroyed. What’s left is the digital recorded data.

Criminal cases with good results are automatically closed or sealed without the defendant doing anything. The good results pertain to cases where the person involved is acquitted, where the case was dismissed, where the prosecution has declined, where the file accusatory instrument was declined, where the order sets aside the verdict or when the judge cancels a judgment.

Criminal cases committed by children are also automatically closed or sealed. This pertains to children between 7 and 18 years of age who had misdemeanor conviction.

Going to Jail

When a New York cop takes someone in, they’d be sent to one of New York’s 77 precincts where their record will be searched for historical offenses. If they’re clean, they’d often be given a ticket to appear in criminal court in a month. If found guilty with a jail sentence, they’ll be brought into a holding cell to meet with an attorney. If the defendant doesn’t have the capacity to pay for one, the court assigns one.

This goes before a judge where their attorney defends them against the attorney defending the charge. The judge delivers the ruling. If they’re convicted, they’re formally accused of a misdemeanor with the possibility of shortening their stay or modifying their sentence to an alternative.



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