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NY Penal Law § 145.27: Aggravated Cemetery Desecration in the First Degree

Cemetery desecration is a crime that involves stealing from or vandalizing a cemetery plot, grave, burial place or other place of interment of human remains. There are several different offenses defined in New York Penal Law that are directed at cemetery desecration including:

  • Cemetery desecration in the second degree
  • Cemetery desecration in the first degree
  • Aggravated cemetery desecration in the second degree and
  • Aggravated cemetery desecration in the first degree

Cemetery desecration in the first and second degree both involve stealing from or defacing a cemetery plot, grave or burial place, while aggravated cemetery desecration in the second degree involves removing human remains from a casket of crypt. Aggravated cemetery desecration in the first degree is the most serious of the 4 offenses. Under New York Penal Law § 145.27, you could be prosecuted for aggravated cemetery desecration in the first degree if within the prior 5 years you were convicted of one of the other 3 cemetery desecration crimes.

Example

On a dare, one night Henry toppled over several headstones in an old cemetery. Because the headstones where very old and not very sturdy, when Henry knocked them over they broke into multiple pieces. Henry was quickly caught and arrested. Initially he was charged with cemetery desecration in the first degree. However, once the police checked his background the discovered that Henry pled guilty to the same charge 3 years ago. Because of his prior record Henry was charged with aggravated cemetery desecration in the first degree.

Related Offenses
  1. Trespass: New York Penal Law § 140.05
  2. Cemetery desecration in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 140.23
  3. Cemetery desecration in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 140.22
  4. Aggravated cemetery desecration in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 140.27
Defenses

Depending on the facts of your case there are a number of possible defenses to a charge of aggravated cemetery desecration in the first degree. If you are accused of damaging a headstone, but the headstone was disturbed but not damaged, then you have a defense to the charge. If you are accused of moving human remains, but casket was only opened, then you have a defense to the charge.

Sentence

Aggravated cemetery desecration is a class D felony. As such, if you are convicted of this crime your sentence may include up to 7 years in prison, 5 years of probation, a fine and restitution.

New York Penal Law § 145.27: Aggravated Cemetery Desecration in the First Degree

A person is guilty of aggravated cemetery desecration in the first degree when such person commits the crime of aggravated cemetery desecration in the second degree and has been previously convicted within the past five years of the crime of cemetery desecration in the second degree as defined in § 145.22 of this article, cemetery desecration in the first degree as defined in § 145.23 of this article or aggravated cemetery desecration in the second degree as defined in § 145.26 of this article.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been accused of cemetery desecration in the first degree, you face the possibility of going to prison for several years. It is imperative that your rights are protected. 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 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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