A Guide to New York State Sentencing

To my eternal annoyance, most lawyers still get sentencing wrong, and the press--well they almost never get it right. New York State sentencing in particular is complicated and confusing--being the result of a series of legislative fixes and overlapping amendments. So, just to be helpful, I've decided to post the
Guide to sentencing I originally created for the lawyers at The Bronx Defenders. It contains a helpful flow chart designed to get you to the proper sentencing scheme. Assuming you know the charges and whether they are violent or non-violent (a list is provided) you can find the authorized sentence. Remember all ye criminal defense lawyers--in NY, it's all about minimums--so don't just grab a plea because it's at the low end of the range--always, and I mean always try to get a plea to a lesser and then look at the minimums there...

Ok, this is not a subsitute for learning this stuff--it's all in the penal law, codified in article 70.


Anonymous said...

What about multiple (4) class A misdemeanors and one class B, with no priors? Are they stacked or do they become combined into one?

Furthermore, is a fine always handed out in a sentencing, or only in some cases?


Indefensible said...

Check with your lawyer for the specifics. But generally, whatever sentences you get can't exceed the maximum of two of them. That means generally you can't get long consecutive sentences that add up to more than 2 years (16 months of city time). Fines too are discretionary (though surcharges which apply per case not per count are mandatory). The max on the "a' misd's is a year, the max on the b, 90 days. Generally, at least in the city, a jail sentence for a first time misdemeanor offender is very rare.