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Class E Felony New York

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 09:17 am

Understanding Class E Felonies in New York

So you got arrested and charged with a Class E felony in New York. That sucks. Let’s break down what it means and what you can expect.

What Exactly is a Class E Felony?

A Class E felony is basically any felony where the maximum sentence is up to 4 years in prison[1]. The minimum is 1 year. It’s considered the lowest level felony in New York, but can totally mess up your life if convicted.

Some examples of common E felony charges[2]:

  • Grand Larceny 4th Degree – Stealing property worth over $1,000
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th Degree – Having a small amount of drugs like cocaine or heroin
  • Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree – Intentionally damaging someone’s property
  • Forgery 2nd Degree – Faking checks or other documents to defraud someone

So yea, they’re not minor offenses by any means.

How Class E Felonies Are Different from Misdemeanors

The main differences between misdemeanors and E felonies[2]:

  • Jail Time: Misdemeanors have a max of 1 year jail time. E felonies can be 1-4 years.
  • Fines: Up to $5,000 for E felonies vs $1,000 for misdemeanors.
  • Criminal Record: E felonies are actual felonies on your record.
  • Consequences: E felonies can have effects on voting, gun ownership, employment, etc.

So while misdemeanors are no walk in the park, E felonies take things to another level. The impacts can really stick with you.

What Are the Sentences for Class E Felonies?

There’s a range of possible sentences for E felonies[3]:

  • 1-4 years in state prison
  • 1-3 years post-release supervision
  • Up to 1 year in county jail if you meet certain conditions
  • Probation for up to 10 years
  • Fines up to $5,000 plus fees

Whether you get the minimum or maximum depends on things like your criminal history and the facts of the case. The judge has some discretion.

And these are just the criminal penalties – there can also be civil lawsuits related to E felonies, like if you damaged someone’s property or defrauded them.

Can You Go to Federal Prison for a NY E Felony?

Nope – New York E felonies are state charges, not federal. So if convicted, you would only go to a New York state prison, not a federal one[4].

Federal prison is for people convicted of federal crimes like drug trafficking, bank robbery, tax evasion, etc across state lines.

Can a Class E Felony Be Reduced to a Misdemeanor?

Sometimes yes! There are a few ways an E felony could potentially get reduced[1]:

  • Plea Bargain: Agree to plead guilty in exchange for a lower misdemeanor charge.
  • Diversion Program: Complete a treatment program for drugs/mental health to get charges dropped.
  • Youthful Offender: If you’re under 19, charges may get reduced and record sealed.
  • Appeal/Motion: Convince the judge to reduce charges post-conviction.

But again, nothing is guaranteed. It comes down to the circumstances and whether the prosecutors/judge allow it. Don’t count on it.

What Happens if You Violate Probation for an E Felony?

Violating probation by doing something like failing a drug test, missing an appointment, getting arrested again, or leaving the state without permission can definitely land you in jail[5].

The judge could impose additional conditions like more frequent drug tests, community service, fines, electronic monitoring, or jail for up to 6 months.

If you keep violating probation, the judge can revoke it altogether and make you serve out the remainder of your original sentence behind bars. So don’t mess around – follow your probation terms!

Can You Own a Gun After a Class E Felony Conviction?

Under New York law, Class E felony convictions result in losing your right to legally own firearms[6].

You can only possess guns again if you receive a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct from the court, which restores some rights. This can be a long difficult process with lots of conditions.

Even with a certificate, federal law may still prohibit gun ownership if the E felony involved any element of violence. So for all practical purposes, don’t count on legally having guns after an E felony.

Can You Join the Military After a Class E Felony Conviction?

Each military branch has their own policies, but in general – probably not. The Army, for example, normally requires a minimum 2 year waiting period after any felony conviction before they’ll even consider a waiver.

And getting approved for a waiver is never guaranteed – it depends on the nature of the offense, your entire criminal record, and how badly they need recruits.

So while it’s possible to join after an E felony, your chances aren’t great. Any conviction makes it an uphill battle.

Will a Class E Felony Show Up on a Background Check?

Yes, almost definitely. E felonies are full-blown felonies, so they’ll be visible on any thorough criminal background check by an employer, landlord, lender, etc.

Certain types of jobs and housing that require background checks will likely be off limits. And it may impact things like loan eligibility.

Some exceptions – your record can be sealed if you were a youthful offender or got a Certificate of Relief. But in general, expect it to show up.

Can a Class E Felony Be Expunged in New York?

True expungement doesn’t really exist in New York. But you can get an E felony conviction sealed under the right circumstances:

  • At least 10 years have passed since end of sentence
  • No more than 2 felonies on record
  • No sex offense felonies
  • Felony must be eligible for sealing

This prevents the general public from seeing it. Getting prior non-violent E felonies sealed is possible with enough time. Talk to a lawyer about options.

What Should You Do if Charged With a Class E Felony?

Here are some tips if you or a loved one gets slapped with an E felony charge:

  • Don’t Panic – Easier said than done, but try to stay calm.
  • Get a Lawyer – Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney ASAP.
  • Don’t Talk to Police – Invoke your right to remain silent until lawyer is present.
  • Follow Bail/Release Terms – Don’t miss court dates or violate conditions.
  • Explore Options – Plea deals, diversion programs, etc.
  • Get Character References – Teachers, employers, etc to vouch for you in court.
  • Focus on the Future – Start planning for life after the case concludes.

Having a good lawyer in your corner can make a huge difference in the outcome. Don’t go it alone!

The Bottom Line

Class E felonies aren’t light offenses, even though they’re the lowest level felony in New York. The impacts can be severe and long-lasting if convicted.

But with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to plea to a lower charge, enter a diversion program, or even beat the rap altogether. Don’t take any chances – get professional legal help ASAP.

The process won’t be easy or painless, but taking it seriously and fighting smart gives you the best odds of moving on with your life. Learn your options, focus on the future, and don’t give up hope!


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