New YorkCriminal Law

Criminal Sentencing in New York

In New York State there are four types of jail/prison sentences for crimes.

Indeterminate Sentence - This is a prison sentence for a felony. There is a minimum period and a maximum term to an indeterminate sentence. The maximum period is the end of the term. The minimum period can not be less then one year. The maximum period can not be less then three years.  Indeterminate sentences be found at PL 70.00(1). An indeterminate sentence is served in a NY state correctional facility. Once a defendant has served the minimum period, or the minimum period as reduced by merit time, the defendant will be released.

Definite Sentence - This is a term of incarceration for a specific period of  time not to exceed one year. A definite sentence is served at local correctional facility. A definite sentence is typically for Misdemeanors and in rare circumstances violations. This can be found at PL 70.15. This is often referred to "city time" or "city jail".

Intermittent Sentence - This is a revocable sentence of incarceration to be served on days, or during certain period of days, or both specified by the court as part of the sentence. A length of an intermittent sentence can be for any term that could be imposed as a definite sentence of imprisonment. This can be found in PL 85.00. This can be used when the following conditions are met:

  • The Court is imposing a sentence on a person other then a second or persistent felony offender for a class D or E felony or for any non-felony offense
  • The court is not imposing any other sentence of imprisonment on the defendant at the same time, and
  • The Defendant is not under any other sentence of imprisonment with a term in excess of 15 days imposed by any other court.

Determinate Sentence - A determinate sentence is a fixed period of years and fractions of a year. This can be found in PL70.06(6) and must be used on the following:

  • First time violent felony offenders
  • Second violent felony offender
  • individuals who are convicted of a violent felony and who has have a previous nonviolent felony conviction

Last modified: June 15, 2013