What Is a Class B Felony in New York?
The state of New York divides felonies into six classes.. Class A is the most serious, and includes classes A-I and A-II. Both allow for maximum penalties of up to life in prison. Class E is the least serious felony category in the state. Class B felonies include:
- Rape – 1st degree
- Robbery – 1st degree
- Welfare fraud – 1st degree
- Gang assault – 1st degree
- Burglary – 1st degree
Maximum and Minimum Sentences
New York has pre-set ranges for the six classes of felonies. Class B felonies are punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison and a minimum between 1 year and one-third of the maximum penalty. Any felony sentence can also include a fine. Under state law, the fine can be no higher than $5,000 or double the amount of any amount the defendant profited because of the commission of the crime. It is important to rely on the services of an experienced criminal attorney because a Class B felony is a very serious crime in New York with the potential for a lengthy prison sentence.
New York has a number of laws that allow for stiffer penalties for the most serious of crimes, for prior offenders and for certain, aggravating circumstances. For example, a crime of violence or a drug crime – even if the offender has no prior criminal record – triggers a minimum sentence of 5 years. If the defendant has a prior felony conviction, the minimum sentence increases to 10 years in prison. A defendant with more than two convictions for violent crimes, who has been arrested currently for a violent crime, may be classified as a persistent felony offender. For a Class B felony, the sentencing range is increased to a minimum of 20 to 25 years a maximum of life in prison.
Loss of Rights and Benefits
As soon as you are convicted you will lose the following rights in New York:
- Hold state office
- Retain custody of children in foster care
- Own or possess a firearm
- Receive permits or licenses required to work in a number of professions, from healthcare and the law to accounting
- Serve on a grand jury
In New York, voting rights are automatically restored after the completion of any felony sentencing, including parole obligations. Other civil rights are not automatically restored.
Employment and Housing with a Felony Record
While New York has laws requiring employers to only turn down felons for jobs if there is a direct connection between the conviction and the specific job under consideration, experts say it is not difficult to turn away a felon without violating the law. Felons also have difficulty finding housing, and the best chance for both housing and employment is to check with local organizations and state agencies familiar with re-entry programs that offer an enticement to potential employers and landlords. These programs are designed to provide tax credits or other benefits for potential employers and landlords to choose felons. The New York State Department of Labor has information available on any similar programs ongoing within the state.
Clearing Your Record
New York has no law that allows the records of crimes to be expunged or removed. While records can be sealed in certain circumstances under state law, that option is generally not available to someone with a felony conviction. The best option to restore civil rights lost by a Class B felony conviction is to apply for a pardon from the governor. The application is actually made with the Board of Parole in New York and there are two certificates that are possible if the application is approved. One is a Certificate of Relief, which can only be issued to a felon with no more than a single conviction. This certificate will restore a person’s right to run for office and can help in applying for state and federal licenses and permits needed in certain fields. If you have more than one felony conviction you may apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct. There is a waiting period of 3 years (1 year for misdemeanors) to apply to have felony convictions pardoned. The governor has the authority to grant pardons; however, applicants are encouraged to seek certificates first. In practice, according to criminal experts, a pardon is only granted when “exceptional and compelling circumstances” are present. .
For more information on crimes in the state, consult New York’s Penal Code. Information on sentencing guidelines in New York also is available in that section.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, you should visit an attorney.