Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Second Degree

Any felony arrest or indictment has potential ramifications well beyond the threat of prison, jail, probation and the humiliation of being publicly shamed as your case winds through New York’s criminal justice system. Falsely Reporting and Incident in the Second Degree is no different. An “E” felony, New York Penal Law 240.55 may not rank with the most serious violent offenses, but the potential penalty is far from nominal. No prior criminal history? Right or wrong, incarceration can still be in your future as Supreme and County Courts in New York State can sentence you upon a plea or conviction after trial to as much as four years. If this is not your first felony offense, the four-year cap remains the same, but you may also face a mandatory minimum of one and one half to three years in prison. It should be fairly clear, if not overwhelmingly obvious, that your mistake or even drunken prank can utterly destroy your future whether you are a college student, lawyer, teacher, financial services employee or any other professional. What will compound this criminal act is not putting yourself in the best position to fight the charges with the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer experienced in Falsely Reporting an Incident crimes.

Second Degree Falsely Reporting an Incident: Elements of NY PL 240.55

The general premise around Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Second Degree is that you convey or circulate information that you know to be bogus, fictitious and simply not true. In doing so, you must also act in a manner as described in one of the following sections:

  1. Make a knowingly false report or advise in the same fictitious way of a fire or explosion that did not occur. Whether the fire department and police respond or not is inconsequential even if it will likely subject you to a harsher penalty if convicted. What is relevant, however, is when circulating this story it is more than likely the public will be alarmed or even inconvenienced.
  2. Make a report, regardless of the manner, to an agency (government or quasi-official), that’s role or job is to deal with emergencies involving danger to property or life. This report must be of a false past occurrence that did not actually occur or one that you know will not transpire. Similar to the first subsection, the “yarn” must concern a fire, explosion or release of a hazardous substance. Lastly, as a result of this report, it must not be unlikely that the public will either be distressed or disrupted.
  3. Report or warn of an alleged incident or impending incident of a fire, explosion or release of any hazardous substance on private property. Like the section above, you must know that the information shared is false or baseless and it must be under circumstances that are likely to inconvenience or alarm the general public.

When examining the he above definitions, elements and subsections of Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Second Degree, NY PL 240.55, it should seem fairly clear. To use an easy to understand example, that joking pull of the fire alarm can potentially be a felony act.

Make no mistake, there may be some viable defenses to the allegations of Second Degree Falsely Reporting an Incident, but you need to identify them at the earliest possible time to best enhance the viability of those defenses. Regardless of the path you choose to confront your arrest and irrespective of whether you are prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney or the Rockland County District Attorney, coupled with your legal and evidence-based defense it may behoove you and your counsel to impress upon prosecutors that despite theses allegations, you have an otherwise impeccable track record.

Do not let a felony Falsely Reporting an Incident destroy your future. Educate yourself on the law and remember that there is never a substitute for experience, knowledge and advocacy. In your time of need, day or night, the criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland stand ready.

Call the New York criminal defense lawyers and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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