A Felony and a Misdemeanor in New York | What is The Difference?

Felonies and misdemeanors have huge differences from each other. A misdemeanor, simply put, is a minor crime, while a felony is a serious crime that can land you in jail or prison for many years or even the rest of your life. Though not always the case, a misdemeanor will have a smaller impact on your life than the potential long-term consequences of a felony. Either way, you may face potentially life-altering consequences stemming from any sort of criminal conviction. Regardless of the nature of your charges, please read on, then contact an experienced Rockland County criminal defense attorney to learn more about the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor in New York.

What offenses are a felony and which are a misdemeanor in New York?


  • Prostitution
  • Petty theft
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Drug possession
  • Simple assault
  • Trespassing
  • Public intoxication
  • Vandalism
  • Animal crimes (dog bites)


  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Terrorism
  • Criminal possession of a chemical weapon
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance
  • Kidnapping
  • Operating as a major trafficker

How do the penalties for a misdemeanor differ from the penalties for a felony in New York?

In the Empire State, convictions for misdemeanors will rarely, if ever, result in a year or more of incarceration or a fine exceeding $1,000 or double the amount the defendant gained from the crime. While they will appear on criminal background checks, they will not be as devastating as felonies. In addition to greater terms of incarceration, substantial fines and years of probation, felony convictions will cost defendants their right to participate as a juror, the ability to purchase a firearm, their right to vote, their eligibility for welfare benefits or federally subsidized housing and exclusion or revocation of some operator and/or professional licenses. No matter how seemingly severe the charges against you appear, you should reach out to a skilled Rockland County criminal defense attorney to discuss your next steps.

How can a Rockland County criminal defense attorney help you?

Representing yourself would be about the worst choice you could make. Even though the death penalty has been abolished in New York, you may face lifelong consequences for a one-time lapse in judgment. That is why you need an aggressive legal advocate to fight your charges throughout every stage of this process and preserve your rights. You are innocent until proven guilty. Let our firm maintain that presumption. Please give us a call today.

Contact our experienced Rockland County firm

Those facing criminal charges in New York need a strong Rockland County criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. Fortunately, our firm is ready to put over 30 years of experience to work for you. Call today or contact The Law Office of Carl Spector online to schedule a free confidential consultation. We are ready to help you go on living life positively, happily, and free from the burdens of a criminal conviction–all you have to do is ask.