Criminal Interference with Health Care Services or Religious Worship

Society changes. Norms change. People change. Simply, the criminal law that keeps or attempts to keep us safe in New York State changes as well. While the offenses relating to Criminal Interference with Health Care Services or Religious Worship as well as Aggravated Interference with Health Care Services may be relatively new laws and crimes, they are all quite serious. As your criminal defense attorney can and will advise, these offenses range from a class “A” misdemeanor to a class “C” felony. As such, even with no history of wrongdoing in the State of New York or elsewhere, should a District Attorney secure a conviction, you will face up to one year or even as much as fifteen years in prison. Simply, your alleged criminal act or acts could leave you incarcerated for a significant period of time and with an unquestionable blight on your permanent criminal record.

Health Care Services or Religious Worship Interference: The Basics

Before you can understand the crimes related to Criminal Interference of Health Care Services or Religious Worship and Aggravated Interference with Health Care Services as codified in New York Penal Law Sections 240.70, 240.71, 240.72 and 240.73 respectively, you must first grasp the statutorily defined terms that make up the law. These words include the following:

Health Care Facility: A hospital, clinic or physician’s office that provides reproductive health services. A health care facility also includes the entire structure and not merely the section or office where related services are rendered.

Interferes With: To restrict a person’s freedom of movement.

Intimidates: A fairly obvious word, the law for these statutes defines this term as placing a person in reasonable apprehension of physical injury not only to him or herself, but to any other person.

Physical Obstruction: Rendering entrance or exit, egress or ingress, impassable. This impassibility must be at a facility that provides reproductive health care services or a place of religious worship. Alternatively, this passage to or from this facility or place of religious worship must be unreasonably difficult or hazardous.

Reproductive Health Services: Health care services provided in a clinic, hospital or physician’s office. This term also includes medical, surgical, counseling or referral services relating to the human reproductive system such as those relating to pregnancy or the termination of pregnancy.

Health Care Services or Religious Worship Interference: The Consequences

At bottom, the New York State Legislature saw it fit to protect those exercising their religious rights whether in a synagogue, mosque, temple, church or any other house of worship as well as seeking medical or health care related treatment as it relates to reproductive health care services. Whether a class “A” misdemeanor with a potential one-year sentence, a class “E” felony with as much as four years in prison, or a class “C” felony punishable by up to fifteen years in custody, there is no minor infraction of any of these New York Penal Law Article 240 crimes. Further, there is little doubt that in more liberal or left leaning jurisdictions, tolerance from judge, juries, prosecutors and police officers, as well as the general public, will not be on an accused’s side when allegations involving intimidation or injury are leveled.

Remember, an accusation or arrest for New York Penal Law sections 240.70, 240.71, 240.72 or 240.73 is by no means the same as a conviction, but you must take the proper steps today to prevent the worst possible outcome tomorrow. Do you have an alibi? Is there video evidence or a witness who can controvert the allegations against you? Was there a simple misunderstanding or should you and your criminal defense lawyer pursue a mitigation defense?

Whatever you defense may be and however you believe it is best implemented, you will undoubtedly have such a conversation with your legal counsel. However, have no misgivings. Your failure to adequately prepare will leave you exposed to grave consequences not merely to your liberty, but your career, legal status if you are not a citizen, and future in every sense of the word.

Don’t further exacerbate the crime nor situation you now face. Let experience, advocacy and knowledge be your guide. Contact the criminal defense lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC put you in the best place to protect you from a past mistake or allegation becoming an indelible part of your future.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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