Aggravated Criminal Contempt

As ugly, career ending and publicly scarring an arrest for First Degree Criminal Contempt, New York Penal Law 215.51, and Second Degree Criminal Contempt, New York Penal Law 215.0, are, an arrest and conviction for committing Aggravated Criminal Contempt dwarfs these crimes. There is no other way than to say that New York Penal Law 215.52 is the most serious Criminal Contempt crime that a New York criminal lawyer will defend against in the State or City of New York. As a “D” felony, if you are convicted of Aggravated Criminal Contempt you will face up to two and one third to seven years in prison. A first time violator regardless of whether he or she is a school teacher, doctor, bartender or MTA employee, can potentially be incarcerated for seven years.

Arrests for violating NY PL 215.52 stem from the same basic elements as the [relatively] lesser Criminal Contempt crimes. First, there must be an order of protection in existence that you had actual knowledge of because you were present in court when it was issued (subject to some other factors that you should discuss with your counsel). Second, you must have intentionally or recklessly caused a physical injury or serious physical inure to the protected party.

Reckless vs. Intentional

The law of Aggravated Criminal Contempt makes it easier for Assistant District Attorneys to prosecute while making it more difficult for New York criminal defense attorneys to defend. Prosecutors need not prove intentional conduct and reckless conduct. Either “mental state” is sufficient. Even it was not your intentional objective and goal to cause a physical injury or serious physical injury, if you recklessly did so and prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt the other elements of the crime, you are on the hook.

Defined by New York Penal Law 15.05(3), you act recklessly in the eyes of the court when you are aware of and consciously disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a particular result will occur or that the circumstances exist. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that disregarding that risk is a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation you race. Intoxication is not a defense to your recklessness.

Physical Injury vs. Serious Physical Injury

Just as there are two mental states applicable to Aggravated Criminal Contempt, there are also to potential levels of injury that can establish this crime. While physical injury is an impairment of one’s physical condition or, as often referred to in cases as “substantial pain,” serious physical injury raise the degree of the damage. These types of injuries create a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. To visualize the difference between the two, a physical injury could be a punch to the face that leaves a bloody nose while a serious physical injury could be a punch that shatters the nose and causes lasting respiratory issues.

Defenses and Criminal Defense Attorneys

Any defense to a set of facts must be specifically tailored to the evidence presented. Is the complainant cooperative? If so, how long after the alleged incident did he or she report your “attack” to the police? Could any bruises, for example, be a result of something else? Why was there a delay? Were there any witnesses? Did you make any damaging statements or claims? Are there any prior domestic incident reports? Again, there may be numerous angles encompassing equally numerous defenses. While you may not be able to identify each of these approaches the first time you appear before a judge, getting started as early in the process as possible cannot be understated. Make no mistake, prosecutors will ask for bail and come out in full force. You should be prepared to be aggressive where necessary, reserved when needed, but ready to respond to any allegation.

Don’t let an accusation of domestic violence or a violation of an order of protection bring shame upon your family, loss of employment or a ride to central booking that leaves you in custody for weeks, months or years. Get the legal assistance and guidance from the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC to fight in your defense. When it comes to your freedom, career and future, there is no substitute for advocacy, experience and knowledge.

Call the New York Aggravated Criminal Contempt lawyers and former Assistant District Attorneys at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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