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New York Penal Law § 145.22: Cemetery desecration in the second degree

It is against the law to steal or damage the property of another person. New York has several criminal statutes designed to punish those who steal or in some way vandalize property. There are special laws which specifically address vandalizing cemetery property. According to New York Penal Law § 145.22, you could be prosecuted for cemetery desecration in the second degree if you:

  1. Intentionally damage real or personal property that is maintained as a place of interment of human remains, or

  2. Intentionally steal personal property that is located at a place of interment of human remains and that is owned by the person or organization that maintains the place of human interment or is owned by the estate of the deceased person.

Example

As a joke on Halloween night Sara and her 4 friends sneak into a cemetery and knock over 30 headstones, causing damage to several of them. Sara and her 4 friends could be prosecuted for cemetery desecration in the second degree because they intentionally damaged property in a cemetery.

Related Offenses
  1. Trespass: New York Penal Law § 140.05
  2. Criminal mischief in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 145.05
  3. Criminal mischief in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 145.10
  4. Criminal mischief in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 145.12
Defenses

The cemetery desecration in the second degree statute requires that you either damage or steal cemetery property. If the property was merely disturbed but not damaged, the prosecutor would have a tough time proving that you committed cemetery desecration in the second degree.

Sentence

Cemetery desecration in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. As a punishment the judge may order you to spend up to a year in the county jail. However, there is also a good chance that the judge will not sentence you to jail, but will instead sentence you to a 3 year probation term.

New York Penal Law § 145.22: Cemetery Desecration in the Second Degree

A person is guilty of cemetery desecration in the second degree when:

  1. with intent to damage property of another person, and having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he damages any real or personal property maintained as a cemetery plot, grave, burial place or other place of interment of human remains; or

  2. with intent to steal personal property, he steals personal property which is located at a cemetery plot, grave, burial place or other place of interment of human remains and which property is owned by the person or organization which maintains or owns such place or the estate, next-of-kin or representatives of the deceased person interred there.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been accused of cemetery desecration in the second degree, even though it is a misdemeanor the consequences may negatively impact the rest of your life. For this reason, as soon as you are accused it is important to immediately seek legal guidance. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with criminal mischief as well as other felonies and misdemeanors such as grand larceny, burglary, and assault. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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