Have You Been Charged With An Offense Against Public Order In New York?
Nassau County Takes Offenses Against Public Order Seriously!
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DO NOT PLEAD GUILTY TO AN OFFENSE AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER IN NEW YORK!
New York is a diverse state. In addition to having a multitude of different races, cultures, religions and identities residing within our borders. Being charged with an offense against the public order in New York is more common than you may realize. However, whether your offense is classified as a violation or a felony, pleading guilty is never advisable.
With the help of the best criminal defense lawyer in Nassau County, we explain the most common offenses against public order in New York, as well as the potential consequences of a conviction for them.
MOST COMMON OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER IN NEW YORK STATE
In New York State, keeping the peace is extremely important. Under New York State Penal Law, Article 240, there are a vast array of different crimes that can affect the public order. While these range from violations to felonies, the seriousness of a conviction has lasting impacts on your future. Before we discuss the potential outcomes of a conviction, you should understand the most common offenses against public order in New York State.
NYS Penal Law 240.20: Disorderly Conduct
Disorderly conduct is one of the most common offenses against public order. In order to be convicted of this offense, you must be found guilty of intentionally or recklessly causing a public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm. There are seven different ways you may find yourself charged with this offense.
- If you engage in a fight or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior;
- If you are making unreasonable noises;
- If you use abusive or obscene language or make an obscene gesture in a public place;
- If you disturb a lawful assembly or meeting without lawful authority;
- If you obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
- If you unlawfully congregate with other individuals in a public place and refuse to follow orders to disperse from law enforcement; or
- If you create a hazardous or physically offense condition, which has no legitimate purpose.
Disorderly conduct is a violation in New York State.
NYS Penal Law 240.25: Harassment in the First Degree
Harassment in the First Degree convictions occur if you are found guilty of intentionally and repeatedly harassing another individual that causes them to reasonably fear that they are in danger of physical injury. This includes following the individual in or around public places. Your course of conduct will play a role in your harassment charge as well.
You should note, however, that this law does not apply to activities that are regulated by the National Labor Relations Act, the Federal Employment Labor Management Act, or the Railway Labor Act.
In New York State, Harassment in the First Degree is considered a Class B misdemeanor.
NYS Penal Law 240.26: Harassment in the Second Degree
In order to be found guilty of Harassment in the Second Degree in New York State, you must be convicted of having the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another individual through one of three ways.
- You have struck, shoved, kicked, or otherwise subjected another individual to unwanted physical contact or threatened to do so;
- You have followed an individual in or around public places; or
- You have engaged in a course of conduct or repeated behavior that alarms or seriously annoys another individual without a legitimate purpose to do so.
As with New York Penal Law 240.25, parts 2 and 3 of this law do not apply to activities that are regulated by the National Labor Relations Act, the Federal Employment Labor Management Act, or the Railway Labor Act.
Harassment in the Second Degree is a violation in New York.
NYS Penal Law 240.30: Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree
Aggravated harassment charges are taken more seriously in New York State. As with the previous charges, Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree occurs when an individual intentionally acts in a way that harasses, threatens, annoys, or alarms another person. However, Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree goes beyond the previously defined charges.
Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree includes the use of a telephone, telegraph, the U.S. mail, or any other means of written communication, including email and text messages that intentionally contribute to the harassment, threatening, annoying, or alarming behavior towards another individual. You should note that placing a call that contributes to this, even one where a conversation does not occur, falls under this charge.
Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree also includes striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise subjecting another individual, or member of their family or household, to unwanted physical contact.
You may also find yourself charged with this crime if you have been charged with Harassment in the First Degree (240.20) and have also been convicted of Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree (240.31) within the last 10 years.
Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
NYS Penal Law 240.31: Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree
Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree occurs when you intentionally harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm another individual because of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion or religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation. This includes damaging religious premises, such as etching, painting, or drawing the Nazi swastika on a property without permission, setting a cross on fire in public view, or displaying a noose. You may also be charged with Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree if you have been charged with Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree (240.30) and have been convicted of the same crime within the last 10 years.
If you are convicted of a 240.31 crime, you have been found guilty of a Class E felony.
NYS Penal Law 240.32: Aggravated Harassment of an Employee by an Inmate
When an inmate or detainee, held in a correctional facility or a hospital, intentionally harasses, annoys, threatens, or alarms an individual who works for the facility, board of parole, or office of mental health, they may be charged with violating Penal Law 240.32. Probation officers and law enforcement officers are included under this law as “employees” of the state. Attempting to cause one of these individuals to come into contact with your blood, urine, seminal fluid, feces, or the contents of a toilet bowl falls under this law.
Aggravated Harassment of an Employee by an Inmate is a Class E felony in New York State.
NYS Penal Law 240.35: Loitering
Just because someone posts a “No Loitering” sign does not necessarily mean you have violated any laws by doing so. To be charged with loitering in New York, you must meet the criteria provided in Penal Law 240.35. This includes loitering or remaining in place:
- With the purpose of gambling;
- While masked or disguised for anything other than a masquerade or similar event;
- In or around school grounds, including colleges and universities, as well as children’s overnight camps with no legitimate purpose; or
- In any transportation facility, without authorization, for the purpose of engaging in business, trade or commercial transactions or for entertainment, such as singing, dancing, or playing an instrument.
- Loitering is a violation in New York State.
NYS Penal Law 240.36: Loitering in the First Degree
Loitering in the First Degree is related to drug use. You may find yourself charged with this crime if you are caught loitering in a place, with one or more individuals, with the intention of unlawfully using or possessing a dangerous controlled substance. A complete list of controlled substance offenses can be found in Penal Law 220.00.
This crime is a Class B misdemeanor in New York State.
NYS Penal Law 240.37: Loitering for The Purpose of Engaging in A Prostitution Offense
Penal Law 240.37 targets all parties engaged in the act of prostitution. For both the patron and prostitute, who remain or wander around a public place, you may find yourself charged with this crime if you are repeatedly beckoning, stopping, or attempting to engage or stop others, whether pedestrian or vehicular, with the purpose of engaging in or procuring prostitution services. Prostitution offenses are covered under New York Penal Law 230. If you are a patron or a prostitute, this is a Class B misdemeanor.
For those who are repeatedly beckoning, stopping, or attempting to engage or stop others for purposes of promoting prostitution, this crime is a Class A misdemeanor.
POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF AN OFFENSE AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER
Now that you know the basics of the most common offenses against public order, we should discuss why it is important to fight these charges. In other words, it’s time to talk about the potential consequences of a conviction for an offense against public order in New York State.
First, you need to understand the differences between the types of convictions you may receive. These are violations, misdemeanors, and felonies.
- Violations: Violations are the least serious types of crimes you can be charged with. Aside from traffic infractions, violations are considered to be any offenses that may result in up to 15 days in jail. While New York still imposes potential jail sentences and fines, a violation is not considered to be a crime in New York.
- Misdemeanors: Unlike a violation, a misdemeanor is a crime in New York. Misdemeanors are defined as those crimes that may result in an individual being incarcerated between 16 days and 1 year. Misdemeanors may also be punished with fines, probation, restitution, and other associated fees. Misdemeanors are classified as A or B, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
- Felonies: Under New York State Law, felonies are those crimes that may result in more than 1-year in jail. Felonies are serious crimes in New York. Felonies are classified by level of seriousness (A through E), as well as if they were violent or non-violent.
But how do these affect your potential consequences if you are convicted? Take a look at the chart below.
|Up to 15 Days
|Harassment in the
|Up to 3 Months
|Up to $500
|Harassment in the
|Up to 15 Days
in the Second Degree
|Up to 1 Year
|Up to $1,000
in the First Degree
|1 to 4 Years
|Up to $5,000
|Aggravated Harassment of
an Employee by an Inmate
|1 to 4 Years
|Up to $5,000
|Up to 15 Days
|Loitering in the First Degree
|Up to 1 Year
|Up to $1,000
|Loitering For The
Purpose of Engaging
in a Prostitution Offense
|Class A or B
|A: Up to 1 Year
B: Up to 3 Months
|A: Up to $1,000
B: Up to $500
HIRE A REPUTABLE LAWYER TO FIGHT YOUR OFFENSE AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER CHARGE!
Having a reputable and experienced lawyer can make a difference when it comes to your defense. For example, one of the common elements of all offenses against public order include an element of intent. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you argue that there was no intention to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm an individual.
With The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C., you have access to the best criminal defense attorneys in Nassau County, New York. Well practiced, with years of experience defending clients charged with various offenses against public order, Mr. Ricca and his staff are able to help you fight for a favorable outcome.
If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer in New York, contact The Law Offices of Michael H. Ricca P.C. today for your free consultation.