Second Degree Aggravated Harassment

New York Domestic Violence Arrest, Crimes & Laws

Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law 240.30

Without any statistic to back up such a claim, based on our experience as criminal lawyers and former prosecutors, Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 240.30, is one of the most commonly charged crimes and arrests in both the Domestic Violence and non-familial context throughout New York. Sometimes the criminal allegation involves calls, emails or physical threats, but assuming the elements of PL 240.30 are met, the crime of Second Degree Aggravated Harassment has the same penalty. A class “A” misdemeanor, a PL 240.30 conviction can leave you incarcerated for as long as one year in jail, on probation for an extended time and, of course, with a permanent criminal record.

What is Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree

Before you and your criminal counsel can implement the best defense to PL 240.30, the first question to ask and understand is what constitutes the crime of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree. Broken down into five distinct subsections, each category or theory of a Second Degree Aggravated Harassment generally involves an intent to harass another person followed by specified conduct.

New York Penal Law 240.30(1)(a)

If you have the intent to harass another person, whomever he or she may be, and you do so by communicating anonymously or by identifying yourself through the telephone, computer, mail or any electronic means, a threat to cause physical harm or unlawful harm to the person or property of such a person (or a member of their family or household), you are guilty of PL 240.30(1)(a). The additional caveat is that you must also know or reasonably should know that your communication will cause him or her reasonable fear of this harm of physical safety or property damage.

New York Penal Law 240.30(1)(b)

Tracking the same language as subsection (1)(a) of Second Degree Aggravated Harassment, the two crimes deviate in a critical manner. You are guilty of PL 240.30(1)(b) if you cause a communication to be initiated as opposed to merely being involved in a communication. Again, the same types of communications, threats, and knowledge are required by law.

New York Penal Law 240.30(2)

Slightly different than the previous subsections, subsection (2) of Second Degree Aggravated Harassment makes it a class “A” misdemeanor crime to make a telephone call, even if you never speak, where you have no legitimate purpose in doing so and instead have an intent to harass or threaten the person on the other end of the phone. Again, PL 240.30(2) has same force and effect as any other section of this statute.

New York Penal Law 240.30(3)

A violation of and an arrest for PL 240.30(3) occurs where you intend to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person you don’t necessarily commit a crime of Third Degree Assault and cause a physical injury, but you strike, kick or subject another person to physical contact. Even threatening this behavior violates the Second Degree Aggravated Harassment statute. The critical element that must also be part of your conduct is that you must act this way because you believe or have a perception regarding the other person’s race, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation regardless of whether or not you are correct.

New York Penal Law 240.30(4)

Unlike subsection (3) of PL 240.30, PL 240.30(4) has a physical injury component similar to the crime of Assault in the Third Degree, PL 120.00(1). Assuming the person who is the recipient of your strike, kick or other physical contact is a member of your family or household (this legal definition is much broader than its common meaning) and you cause that person to suffer a physical injury, you are guilty of this Domestic Violence Aggravated Harassment offense.

Second Degree Aggravated Harassment: Arrest, Processing and Your Defense

How a PL 240.30 arrest plays out in New York is dependent on many factors. Your criminal defense lawyer will likely attack your arrest and prosecution for Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree in different ways depending on the subsection. After all, whether you are charged with a Domestic Violence crime, a physically violent offense, or a crime perpetrated solely online or through a telephone requires distinct strategies.

In no particular order, if you and your accuser are strangers, there are no genuine injuries or threats raising significant concerns, and you reside locally in the New York City area, the NYPD may arrest and assign you a Desk Appearance Ticket. Regardless of whether your alleged actions were telephonic or physical and irrespective of where your case occurs in White Plains, Nyack, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or elsewhere, if you are in an intimate relationship with your accuser or are family members, then the police will classify your crime as Domestic Violence. In New York all Domestic Crimes result in mandatory arrests. Further, in all contexts, the District Attorney will almost always ask a criminal court judge to issue an order of protection.

Again, defenses are directly tied to the particulars of the Second Degree Aggravated Harassment charges filed. Does your lawyer want to find out if there is a video corroborating your defense or challenging the complainant’s allegations? Are there witnesses? If the crime involves the internet, phone, or other electronic communication, what records exist that could fortify your defense or poke holes in the prosecution’s theory and the credibility of their witnesses?

Whatever the circumstances surrounding your arrest for Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, before speaking to the police seek the advice of a criminal lawyer. Exercise your right to remain silent. Whether considered a Domestic Violence crime or not, an arrest for and accusation of PL 240.30 is debilitating from careers and criminal records to immigration and professional licensing. When accused of a crime, the foundation of your best defense is the experience, knowledge, and advocacy of the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC.

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

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