First Degree Falsifying Business Records: NY Penal Law 175.10

As addressed in the general information page detailing the two crimes of Falsifying Business Records, a District Attorney - whether Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens, Westchester, Rockland or anywhere else - can elevate nominal misdemeanor conduct to an arrest for or allegation of First Degree Falsifying Business Records. A class "E" felony, New York Penal Law 175.10 is no minor matter. In fact, upon conviction a judge has the discretion to sentence you to multiple years in prison even if you have no criminal history. Far from a trifle accusation, should you find yourself charged with this offense or facing the prospect of a Grand Jury indictment or trial, consult with criminal defense counsel who can identify and implement your best defense.

First Degree Falsifying Business Records: Definition and Elements

Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree occurs when you violate any of the four subsections of the lesser misdemeanor offense and an Assistant District Attorney can prove beyond a reasonable doubt additional elements. Coupling to the crime of New York Penal Law 175.05, prosecutors must establish that your intent to defraud involved further criminal intent to either hide the commission of another crime or to assist in the commission of that other crime. Because of this additional offense requirement, it is routine practice for prosecutors to charge potentially more serious transgressions alongside a Penal Law 175.10 case at the time of arrest or when the matter is presented to a Grand Jury. Although you should discuss the spectrum of felony and misdemeanor crimes you may face with your criminal defense attorney, these charges often include Grand Larceny, Forgery and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument.

As briefly noted on the main page of Falsifying Business Records, it is an affirmative defense, pursuant to New York Penal Law 175.15, if the falsification was made by an employee without personal gain at the behest of a supervisor. While this defense is an affirmative defense codified by statute, it is not the only defense likely or potentially available to you that you should pursue and examine with your advocate and counsel.

First Degree Falsifying Business Records: Penalty and Punishment

Any felony crime is punishable or potentially sanctionable by more than one year in jail. This crime is no exception. Upon conviction, a court can sentence you to up to four years in prison. While incarceration is mandatory for predicate felons, if you do not have a felony in the previous ten years a judge can nonetheless "lock you up" for the same amount of time. However, the right legal advocate may also be able to secure a non-incarceratory sentence such as probation, community service, fines or some other pre-determined condition.

First Degree Falsifying Business Records: Example and Hypothetical

You alter excel spreadsheet records of your employer's business. This spread sheet may include items received, services rendered or accounts payable. Whatever information is contained on these spreadsheets, there is no dispute that the employers uses these materials on a regular basis as a part of their business process. While the mere alteration by itself may not rise to a felony, your employer claims that you altered these records to cover up the theft of $750. Now, what would have only been "only" a Petit Larceny of $750, and likely a slap on the wrist if your record is otherwise clean, is now an "E" felony of First Degree Falsifying Business Records. Keep in mind that if you stole more than $1,000.00, $3,000.00 or $50,000.00, then you would also face the prospect of an indictment for Grand Larceny, an equal and likely more significant crime.

Your Criminal Case: Your Defense

As New York White Collar criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors who handled every phase of fraud based prosecutions from investigation and Grand Jury presentations to hearings and trials, the lawyers at Crotty Saland PC know there is no substitute for knowledge, experience and advocacy. Simply, unless failure is an option you wish to embrace, Crotty Saland PC is your best defense before a judge, jury and prosecutor.

For both easily readable and informative material on White Collar crimes including those identified here, please review the New York White Collar Crime section of Crotty Saland PC's website. Additional information, including legal decisions, Penal statutes and cases in the news, can be found on the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today to discuss your case and possible defenses.

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