New York State has specific laws in the penal code that protect cemeteries and a person’s final resting place. Specifically, a person can be charged with cemetery desecration in either the first or second degree. The lower level of the offense is a class A misdemeanor and the higher is a class E felony. This means that serious consequences could happen if a person is charged with either level of the offense, including fines as well as possible jail time. If you have been charged with cemetery desecration in either degree, call now to speak with one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys.
To know how someone would be charged with the offense, we have to understand what cemetery desecration is exactly. The statute tells us that when a person has acted with intent to damage the property of another person while having no right to do so, and damages any property that is maintained as a cemetery plot, burial place, grave, or other place of human remains. This means that as long as the property is maintained as a cemetery, it is considered to be so, it does not have to one that is maintained by a specific entity.
While it is obviously not something many people who live in big cities would have the ability to do, there are places where families can have burial sites or cemeteries on their personal property. Additionally, the statute states that if a person acts with intent to steal person property that is located at a burial place, cemetery plot or grave and the property is owned by the person or entity that maintains the property or by the next-of-kin of the deceased, this offense would also be charged. This is more commonly referred to as grave robbing and could land you in serious hot water if charged and convicted.
The higher level of the offense would apply when a person acts as described above, but the damages exceed the amount of $250. Additionally, if the property that they steal while grave robbing is valued more than $250, this level of the offense would apply as well. A person could also be charged with cemetery desecration in the first degree if they commit the offense in the lower degree but have been previously convicted of the same offense within the past five years. This level of the offense is now a felony, which can be extremely detrimental to a person’s life if convicted. Felony convictions can cause the loss of a job, create issues in renting living spaces and even affect your ability to own a firearm.
Make sure you have an attorney you can trust by your side. If you have been charged with cemetery desecration in either level of the offense, call now to speak to one of our experienced New York criminal attorneys. We have helped hundreds of clients in the past with their criminal charges achieve favorable outcomes in their cases and would do our best to do the same for you.