Aggravated Harassment: New York Penal Law 240.30

You called an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend twenty times during a bad break up. You texted a former roommate ten times and "threatened" him or her to pay you back money you fronted for rent. You push or even kick a former colleague with no intent to cause physical injury but he or she sustains a bruise. Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 240.30, is probably the most common New York crime of a threatening and harassing nature and can manifest itself in relatively innocent and noncriminal ways. As your criminal attorney should know from handling many of these cases, police and detectives with the NYPD typically make an arrest leaving it up to prosecutors to sort out the credibility of the accuser, the reasons behind your alleged contacts (assuming you actually made these contacts) and the prosecutorial merit of the case.

As stated in the NYDeskAppearanceTicket.Com homepage section for New York crimes of Harassment and Fear, NY PL 240.30 shares much in common with other misdemeanor offenses especially in the realm of sentencing where you can land in jail for as long as one year whether your criminal record is pages long or non existent. Ultimately, what, if any, amount of time you spend incarcerated or whether or not you are acquitted or convicted of Second Degree Aggravated Harassment is something that your criminal lawyer will provide counsel.

When speaking with your attorney and preparing your defense, it is important to recognize that the subsections of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree are varied and plentiful. The common denominator for any Desk Appearance Ticket or arrest processed through the system is in order to be guilty of PL 240.30 you must have the intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person. If the police can establish probable cause to support this intent you can be arrested. If prosecutors can prove this intent beyond a reasonable doubt, they can secure a conviction.

The Crime of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree

With the intent element behind us, the other elements of Second Degree Harassment are dependent on the subsection of the crime charged. These four main subsections are as follows:

  1. You must (a) communicate with a person (its irrelevant if it is anonymous) in any form of written communication or telephone in a manner that will likely cause annoyance or alarm; or (b) cause a communication to be initiated (text, email, etc.) to that other person (again, regardless of whether its anonymous), in a manner that will likely cause annoyance or alarm; or
  2. You must make a make a phone call(it does not matter if you actually got ahold of this other person and had a conversation), with no purpose of legitimate communication; or
  3. You strike, kicks, shove, or otherwise subject another person to physical contact (or even threaten or attempt to do the same) because of that person's race, sexual orientation, gender or other cultural beliefs; or
  4. You strike, kick or otherwise subject another person to physical contact and therefore cause a physical injury to that person or a family or household member of that person (compare this to New York Penal Law 120.00, Assault in the Third Degree).

If you read these above sections carefully, you can see how easily your conduct, although "innocent" can get swept into an arrest and Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) for PL 240.30. If your accuser is a former partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, family member or similarly related person, you won't have the luxury of a DAT, but you can find yourself locked up for 24 hours and even more.

Protecting Yourself: How to Handle an Allegation of PL 240.30

You can't get advice from a webpage or website. Advice is something that you can only obtain from a criminal lawyer or criminal attorney in New York who has handled Second Degree Aggravated Harassment cases successfully. However, a little education can go a long way. As an initial matter, always consider exercising your right to remain silence. Don't let your admission or remarks lead to the tilting of the scales in favor of law enforcement. Always be careful of what you text or email. Your reasons for contact may be subjectively reasonable, but the amount of times or harsh language can be misconstrued (and in fact, often is). Before meeting with or going to the police, contact a criminal attorney . It will likely be the best decision you will make.

Other Resources

The New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys recognize there is no substitute for knowledge, advocacy and experience. However, the following resource may be helpful:

Don't jeopardize your career, family and future over an arrest for violating NY PL 240.30. Don't work against yourself by meeting with the police alone, signing a statement or giving them a story that can be later used against you. Don't let a misunderstanding grow into a life-altering problem.

Call the New York Criminal lawyers and former New York prosecutors at 212-312-7129 or contact us online today