One common sentencing alternative is to impose a term of probation.
In the past, where probation sentence was imposed, the length was set: 1 year for a class B misdemeanor, 3 years for a class A misdemeanor, and for a felony (if probation was available), 5 years.
The Legislature amended this, offering judges greater flexibility. The length for a B misdemeanor remains the same, 1 year. But for A misdemeanors, the judge may choose either 2 or 3 years, Penal Law § 65.00.
For an unclassified misdemeanor, such as DWI, probation may be 2 or 3 years, Penal Law § 65.00(3)(d).
With a felony probation sentence, the judge may set the length at 3, 4, or 5 years.
With one B misdemeanor, Public Lewdness, the probation period may be between 1 and 3 years, Penal Law § 65.00(3)(c).
The same variation applies to Youthful Offender probation sentences: on an A misdemeanor, 2 or 3 years; felonies, 3, 4 or 5 years. See Penal Law § 60.02
Sex offender probation
Where a defendant is convicted of certain sex offenses, the probation length is longer: for misdemeanors, 6 years; for felonies, 10 years, Penal Law §§ 65.00(3)(a)(ii), (3)(b)(ii), (d) (definition of term “sexual assault”).
The same applies to Youthful Offender adjudications for these crimes.
Gary Muldoon is a lawyer and author of “Handling a Criminal Case in New York.” His email address is email@example.com.