Passion, Knowledge & Experience
Charges of harassment and assault can be serious, but we can help.
Harassment can either be charged under Penal Law 240.26 Harassment 2nd Degree (a non-criminal violation that can be sealed after 12 months), or under Penal Law 240.25 Harassment 1st Degree (a Class B Misdemeanor crime that could stay on your rap sheet forever). There are also Aggravated Harassment statutes. It all depends on what exactly happened.
In either case, if you find yourself in a position where someone calls the police, here are a few basic tips:
- Don’t give a statement to police. It won’t help you. I know you think you can talk your way out of this. Don’t try. Just tell the police you won’t talk without a lawyer present. Remember, “You have the right to remain silent,” so use it.
- If Harassment charges are pressed against you, remain calm, and call your attorney. A good lawyer will not just talk about legal strategies and how wonderful they are; instead, a good lawyer will coach you through the entire process, help you defuse the situation, and guide you toward an outcome that may even include a dismissal of the case.
- Remember that it never helps to make a bad situation worse. Don’t ask a complainant to “drop the charges,” because they have no control over whether you are prosecuted. Once charges are filed, it’s in the hands of the District Attorney’s office. The case against you will be captioned, “The People of the State of New York v. John Doe,” not “John Doe’s Ex v. John Doe.” You might not realize it, but the person who filed charges against you (yes, the same person who called the police) is the only person who can help you, so please don’t make them even angrier while setting yourself up for a charge of Witness Tampering.
Ultimately, many Harassment charges do result in an outright dismissal of the case. You need to remain calm, find a lawyer you trust, and follow that attorney’s advice to the letter. If you find yourself in a similar situation, contact P. Adam Militello, Esq. at (585) 485-0025 for a free telephone consultation and case evaluation.