In New York state, the maximum sentence for a Class B felony is up to 25 years' incarceration and a fine up to $30,000 or twice the amount the offender gained from the crime. A Class B felony is the second most serious type of felony. According to New York Penal Law, the degree of an offense determines the severity of the punishment.
For example, grand larceny in the first degree is a Class B felony. Grand larceny in the second degree is a Class C felony. There are different types of Class B felonies, from residential mortgage fraud in the first degree to attempted murder in the second degree.
New York Felony Penalties
The divisions of felonies and maximum incarceration penalties are:
- Class A-I felony: life in prison.
- Class A-II felony: life in prison.
- Class B felony: 25 years in prison.
- Class C felony: 15 years in prison.
- Class D felony: seven years in prison.
- Class E felony: four years in prison.
Class E is the lowest level of felony. The maximum fine for any felony is $5,000, or twice the amount the defendant gained from the commission of the crime. The exceptions to this rule are if the defendant is convicted of:
- Offense of corrupting the government, they can be made to pay a higher amount not exceeding three times their gain from the offense.
- Controlled substance or marijuana-related felony, they can be required to pay up to $100,000 for an A-I felony; $50,000 for an A-II felony; $30,000 for a B felony; and $15,000 for a C felony.
Factors Considered by the Court
When the court imposes a fine, it must consider the profit gained by the defendant’s conduct. Factors that the court considers include:
- Profit the defendant gained.
- Whether the amount of the fine is disproportionate to the conduct in which the defendant engaged.
- How the defendant’s conduct impacted victims.
- Defendant’s economic circumstances, including their ability to pay and the effect of the fine upon the their immediate family or others to whom the defendant owes an obligation of support.
The definition of “gain” means the value of the property the defendant received when committing the crime, less the amount of money or value of property returned to the victim of the crime or seized or surrendered by lawful authority, such as the state, before the court imposes the sentence.
The court is required to make a finding of the amount the defendant gained from the crime. If the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support that finding, the court may conduct a hearing on the matter.
Exceptions for Fines in Some Situations
The provisions of the law regarding fines above $5,000 for any level of felony do not apply to corporations. A sentence to pay a fine for a felony described in the vehicle and traffic laws will be fixed by the court in accordance with the statute that defines the crime.
Imprisonment for Violent Felony Offenses
A violent felony offense is a Class B, C, D or E violent felony offense. Class B violent felony offenses include:
- Kidnapping in the first degree.
- Arson in the first degree.
- Aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree.
- Assault in the first degree.
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree.
- Intimidating a victim or witness in the first degree.
- Criminal use of a chemical or biological weapon in the third degree.
Violent and Nonviolent Felonies
There is no determined formula to know whether a felony is violent or nonviolent. For example, robbery in the first degree is a violent felony; but robbery in the third degree is a nonviolent felony. The punishment for a violent felony is for a fixed amount of time. The punishment for a nonviolent felony is usually for a range of time if the offense is the defendant’s first felony conviction.
Exceptions to Sentencing Guidelines
The prison sentence imposed upon a person convicted of a Class B or C violent felony offense must be a definite sentence of incarceration that will be in whole or half years. For a Class B felony, the term must be at least five years, but not to exceed 24 years. But there are exceptions:
- Term must be at least 10 years and not to exceed 30 years if the crime is aggravated assault upon a police officer or peace officer.
- Term must be at least 10 years and not to exceed 30 years if the crime is aggravated manslaughter in the first degree.
- If the defendant is a second felony offender as defined by New York Penal Law (PL) Section 70.06 or a second violent felony offender as defined by PL 70.04, the court must impose a sentence of imprisonment in accordance with the applicable statute. Under PL 70.06, incarceration for a Class B felony for a second felony offender is between 10 years and 25 years. Under PL 70.04, incarceration for a Class B felony for a second violent felony offender is between nine years and 25 years.
- The court may impose a sentence of incarceration in accordance with PL 70.08 or 70.10 for a persistent violent felony offender. A persistent violent felony offender is one who has been convicted of a violent felony offense defined in PL 70.02 or predatory sexual assault against an adult or child after having been subjected to two or more previous violent felony convictions (prior violent felony convictions that count). A sentence of incarceration for a Class B felony in line with PL 70.08 must be between 20 and 25 years.
Penalties for Misdemeanors
Types of misdemeanors and penalties include:
- Class A misdemeanor, up to 364 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000 or twice the amount that the offender gained from the crime.
- Class B misdemeanor, up to three months of jail time and a fine up to $500.
- Unclassified misdemeanor, up to three years probation, with the exception being up to one year in jail for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) unclassified misdemeanor. The fine for an unclassified misdemeanor is an amount fixed by the court in accordance with the statute or ordinance that defines the crime.
- New York State Senate: Section 70.00, Sentence of imprisonment for felony
- New York State Senate: Section 80.00, Fine for felony
- NYCourts.Gov: Types of Criminal Cases
- New York Office of Mental Health: Criminal Justice System for Adults in New York State
- New York State Senate: Section 70.02, Sentence of imprisonment for a violent felony offense
- New York State Senate: Section 80.05, Fines for misdemeanors and violation
- New York State Senate: Section 60.05, Authorized dispositions
- New York State Senate: Section 70.04, Sentence of imprisonment for second violent felony offender
- New York State Senate: Section 70.06, Sentence of imprisonment for second felony offender
- New York State Senate: Section 70.08, Sentence of imprisonment for persistent violent felony offender
- New York State Senate: Section 70.10, Sentence of imprisonment for persistent felony offender
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.