Learn The Law

What Is A Misdemeanour?

A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by up to one year in county jail. Crimes that are considered misdemeanors are less serious than felony crimes but more serious than violations and petty crimes.

Misdemeanors are also referred to as “enduring” or “non-violent” crimes because they do not involve the use of violence or threat of violence.

A person can be charged with a misdemeanor in New York State if he or she commits any non-violent criminal act that is not a violation, a traffic offense, or another type of lesser crime (also known as an “unclassified” crime).

Some common examples of misdemeanors include: Possession of a small quantity of marijuana Cultivation of no more than 10 plants of marijuana Public consumption of alcohol Drinking in public Loitering for the purpose of begging False statement about identity for the purpose of obtaining privileges at a correctional facility Possession or use of false identification to gain access to places intended only for those 21 years old or older

Elements Of Misdemeanors In New York

The basic elements of a misdemeanor include An act or omission that is not a felony (such as assault, petit larceny, simple assault, or trespass). An act that does not involve the use of violence or threat of violence. No use of a weapon.

No significant risk of harm to others such as children and/or the elderly No property damage (i.e., vandalism) No significant risk of damage to the environment Violation of an order of protection, restraining order, or other court-ordered condition In the state of New York, misdemeanors are divided into “violations” and “unlawful” misdemeanors.

A violation is a relatively new type of criminal offense that is less serious than an unlawful misdemeanor. Unlike misdemeanors, violations are not crimes, and they do not go on a person’s criminal record. Examples of violations are riding a bicycle on the sidewalk or unlawful possession of a wild animal.

Bail For Misdemeanors In New York

Misdemeanors are not crimes that require a person to be held in jail while they await their trial. Although a person charged with a misdemeanor may spend a few hours or even a few days in jail while they await their initial court date, they are not required to stay there.

If a person does not pose a danger to the community and does not fail to appear in court, he or she may be released without bail. Bail is a payment that a person charged with a crime may be required to make in order to be released from jail until their trial.

In New York, the amount of bail for misdemeanors is usually $1,000, but it can vary depending on the specific charge. Misdemeanor crimes that are considered more serious and/or that have a high rate of recidivism may have higher bail amounts.

Penalties For Misdemeanor Convictions In New York

There are many different penalties that a person can face if they are convicted of a misdemeanor in New York. The most common penalties include Fines, community service, and/or a short period of incarceration in a county jail or penitentiary.

In some cases, a person’s criminal record will also be affected. A conviction for a misdemeanor can result in a criminal record, which can affect a person’s ability to find employment, get certain types of visas, obtain certain types of housing, and more.

In New York, a misdemeanor conviction lasting less than one year in jail is usually referred to as a “summary conviction.” A summary conviction will not be recorded on a person’s official criminal record.

A misdemeanor conviction lasting longer than one year in jail is considered an “indictable” offense. An indictable offense is recorded as a felony on a person’s criminal record.

Defenses To Misdemeanor Charges In New York

There are many different defense strategies that may be used to fight an accusation of a misdemeanor crime in New York. Some common defenses include Legal technicalities: Sometimes the relevant law has not been correctly applied, causing the charges to be inaccurate.

Lack of intent: Some crimes require that the person charged intended to commit the criminal act. If the person charged did not intend to break the law, he or she did not commit the crime. Lack of knowledge: A person may have made a mistake or misjudged a situation and committed a crime without knowing it.

No harm or risk of harm: No significant harm or risk of harm to others exists for many misdemeanors. No damage to property: A person must have broken or damaged property as a result of their criminal activities.

Consent: A person may be charged with a crime when they have no right to do something, such as entering private property, but they were given permission to do so.


Misdemeanors are low-level criminal offenses, and they are often punished with fines, community service, or short periods of incarceration in county jails. Misdemeanors are not considered violent crimes, and they do not go on a person’s criminal record.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.