Falsely Reporting an Incident

There are plenty of crimes found throughout the New York Penal Law that, if proven, anger prosecutors and judges alike. While law enforcement is often unsympathetic to those accused of crimes involving malicious or violent acts, judges and prosecutors also take a harsh stance against those accused of other crimes. While Falsely Reporting an Incident (NY PL 240.50, 240.55 & 240.60) can usually be “chalked up” to a foolish mistake or a sophomoric prank, this set of crimes certainly falls into the realm of non-violent crimes that may have the ire of Assistant District Attorneys and judges while also having extremely serious ramifications to the accused well beyond what happens in a courtroom.

The reason why New York criminal lawyers often have a burden defending clients against Falsely Reporting an Incident is clear. Whether it is from the mouth of a prosecutor or that of a judge, the statements are the same. That is, why would your client pull the fire alarm? Your client knew the danger that existed when or if people were be forced to evacuate. Assistant District Attorneys will further assert that even if nobody actually fled, the fire department is mandated to come to an incident. It does not matter if this was a false alarm. The cost and danger that the services were needed elsewhere is unacceptable. In other circumstances where a false claim of a theft, violent crime, domestic incident or abduction is made, the consequences are at least equally severe. Not only may you have cost police time and money to investigate an allegation, an innocent person may be placed in custody.

The bottom line is simple. If you commit any degree of Falsely Reporting an Incident, you and your criminal lawyer will need to assess what defenses you may have as soon as possible and implement those defenses. Can you mitigate your conduct? Was this an accident? How soon after making the false report did you “come clean?” Did you in fact believe there was an incident? Was your belief reasonable?

It is critically important to recognize that Falsely Reporting an Incident can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. As such, it is punishable by up to one year in jail and as much as up to seven years in state prison. Regardless of the degree, these crimes are often accompanied by a charge of Reckless Endangerment. Like Falsely Reporting an Incident, Reckless Endangerment is either a felony or a misdemeanor as well.

Do not be under the false impression that a Falsely Reporting an Incident case will merely “go away.” Educate yourself on the law. Retain counsel to identify and implement your defense. Do not compound your situation. Take the steps to protect your future.

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

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