Offenses Against Property


Arson

Because of its destructive and deadly nature, arson is a grave offense. The term “arson” refers to malicious damage or destruction of any building, inhabited structure, vehicle, vessel, or real property by means of fire or explosion. While there are several types of arson crimes defined by the law, arson offenses consider the damage to property, injuries obtained by victims, and loss of life. Penalties for arson can be heavy and long-lasting; as such, it is vital for those levied with such a crime to find high-quality legal representation to protect them in court.

Arson in the Fifth Degree

A person is guilty of arson in the fifth degree when he or she intentionally damages the property of another without the consent of the owner by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion. Arson in the fifth degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Arson in the Fourth Degree

  • A person is guilty of arson in the fourth degree when he recklessly damages a building or motor vehicle by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion.
  • In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the defendant had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle.

Arson in the fourth degree is a class E felony.

Arson in the Third Degree

  • A person is guilty of arson in the third degree when he intentionally damages a building or motor vehicle by starting a fire or causing an explosion.
  • In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that (a) no person other than the defendant had a possessory or proprietary interest in the building or motor vehicle, or if other persons had such interests, all of them consented to the defendant’s conduct, and (b) the defendant’s sole intent was to destroy or damage the building or motor vehicle for a lawful and proper purpose, and (c) the defendant had no reasonable ground to believe that his conduct might endanger the life or safety of another person or damage another building or motor vehicle.

Arson in the third degree is a class C felony.

Arson in the Second Degree

A person is guilty of arson in the second degree when he intentionally damages a building or motor vehicle by starting a fire, and when another person who is not a participant in the crime is present in such building or motor vehicle at the time, and the defendant knows that fact.

Arson in the second degree is a class B felony.

Arson in the First Degree

A person is guilty of arson in the first degree when they intentionally damage a building or motor vehicle by causing an explosion or a fire and when:

  • such explosion or fire is caused by an incendiary device propelled, thrown, or placed inside or near a building or motor vehicle; or when an explosion or fire is caused by an explosive; or when an explosion or fire either causes serious physical injury to another person, or the explosion or fire was caused by the expectation or receipt of financial advantage or pecuniary profit by the actor and when another person who is not a participant in the crime is present in such building or motor vehicle at the time; the defendant knows that fact.
  • As used in this section, “incendiary device” means a breakable container designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion upon impact, containing flammable liquid and having a wick or a similar device capable of being ignited.

Arson in the first degree is a class A-I felony.

Burglary

Burglary is a serious felony offense in New York. The lowest-level Burglary charge is a class D felony, carrying a possible penalty of up to 7 years in prison for a first-time offender. The two highest levels are classified as violent felony offenses, meaning a significantly longer prison sentence. If you or a loved one has been charged with burglary, lean on an experienced criminal defense attorney to consult on the circumstances of your case.

Burglary in the Third Degree

A person is guilty of burglary in the third degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime therein. Burglary in the third degree is a class D felony.

Burglary in the Second Degree

A person is guilty of burglary in the second degree when they knowingly enter or remain unlawfully in a building with the intent to commit a crime and in effecting entry or while in the building or in immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime:

  • Is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon.
  • Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime.
  • Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument.
  • Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearms.
  • The building is a dwelling.

Burglary in the second degree is a class C felony.

Burglary in the First Degree

A person is guilty of burglary in the first degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime and while in the dwelling or immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime:

  • Is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon
  • Causes physical injury to any person
  • Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument
  • Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or other firearms; except that in any prosecution under this subdivision, it is an affirmative defense that such pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm was not a loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or another serious physical injury, could be discharged.

Burglary in the first degree is a class B felony.

 

Computer Crimes

In New York, the law details five distinct offenses involving computers: unauthorized use of a computer, computer trespass, computer tampering, unlawful duplication of computer-related material, and criminal possession of computer-related material.

Unauthorized Use of a Computer

A person is guilty of unauthorized use of a computer when he or she knowingly uses, causes to be used, or accesses a computer, computer service, or computer network without authorization. Unauthorized use of a computer is a class A misdemeanor.

Computer Trespass

A person is guilty of computer trespass when he or she knowingly uses, causes to be used, or accesses a computer, computer service, or computer network without authorization and:

  • he or she does so with an intent to commit or attempt to commit or further the commission of any felony, or
  • he or she thereby knowingly gains access to computer material.

Computer trespass is a class E felony.

Computer Tampering

The crime of computer tampering is divided into four degrees. The fourth-degree charge occurs when a person commits the offense of unauthorized use of a computer and intentionally alters or destroys data or a computer program belonging to another person. The most severe offense is the first-degree charge in which a person is guilty of altering or destroying data or a computer program causing damages in excess of fifty thousand dollars.

Duplication and Possession of Computer-Related Materials

Additionally, the state of New York penalizes the unlawful duplication and criminal possession of computer-related materials. Duplication occurs when a person unlawfully copies or reproduces computer material, data, or programs, that has no right to do so. The latter charge occurs when a person having no right to do so, possesses in any form a copy or reproduction of computer data or programs.

Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief is unlawfully damaging the property of another person. There are several degrees of criminal mischief. Criminal mischief in the fourth degree, which is the lesser of all charges, is when a person, having no right to do so, nor having any reasonable ground that they would have such a right to do so, he or she

  • Intentionally damages the property of another person.
  • Intentionally participates in the destruction of an abandoned building.
  • Recklessly damages the property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars.
  • Or, with intent to prevent a person from communicating a request for emergency assistance, intentionally disables or removes telephonic, TTY, or similar communication equipment while that person is attempting to seek emergency assistance from police, law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical services personnel. Or is attempting to contact emergency assistance from another person or entity in order to protect themselves or a third person from imminent physical injury.

The most severe of the charges is criminal mischief in the first degree. A person is guilty of criminal mischief in the first degree when with intent to damage the property of another person and having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he damages the property of another person using an explosive.

Criminal mischief in the first degree is a class B felony.

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property

In New York state, there are five degrees of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property; the degree to which an individual is charged is related to the value of the property illegally in possession of the accused. Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree is the least serious of all charges. The charge has no minimum value of the property in contrast to the four other degrees of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in New York. In New York, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree is a class B felony. Under Penal Law Section 165.54, a person is guilty of Grand Larceny in the First Degree when:

He knowingly possesses stolen property, with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the recovery by an owner, and when the value of the property exceeds one million dollars. Criminal possession of the stolen property in the first degree is a class B felony.

Larceny

Larceny is the name given to theft-related crimes where an individual knowingly and intentionally obtains or withholds property belonging to another person for an extended period or permanently. Depending on the type of property stolen and/or the property’s value, as well as the circumstances of the crime, there are several degrees of severity that can be charged.

Petit Larceny

A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property. Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor.

Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

A person is guilty of grand larceny in the fourth degree when he steals property and when:

  1. The value of the property exceeds one thousand dollars; or
  2. The property consists of a public record, writing or instrument kept, filed or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant; or
  3. The property consists of secret scientific material; or
  4. The property consists of a credit card or debit card; or
  5. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is taken from the person of another; or
  6. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is obtained by extortion; or
  7. The property consists of one or more firearms, rifles, or shotguns, as such terms are defined in section 265.00 of this chapter; or
  8. The value of the property exceeds one hundred dollars, and the property consists of a motor vehicle, as defined in section one hundred twenty-five of the vehicle and traffic law, other than a motorcycle, as defined in section one hundred twenty-three of such law; or
  9. The property consists of a scroll, religious vestment, vessel, or other items of property having a value of at least one hundred dollars kept for or used in connection with religious worship in any building or structure used as a place of religious worship by a religious corporation, as incorporated under the religious corporations’ law or the education law.
  10. The property consists of an access device which the person intends to use unlawfully to obtain telephone service.
  11. The property consists of anhydrous ammonia or liquefied ammonia gas and the actor intends to use or knows another person intends to use, such anhydrous ammonia or liquefied ammonia gas to manufacture methamphetamine.

Grand larceny in the fourth degree is a class E felony.

Grand Larceny in the Third Degree

A person is guilty of grand larceny in the third degree when he steals property and when the value of the property exceeds three thousand dollars.

Grand larceny in the third degree is a class D felony.

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree

A person is guilty of grand larceny in the second degree when he steals property and when:

  1. The value of the property exceeds fifty thousand dollars; or
  2. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is obtained by extortion committed by instilling in the victim a fear that the actor or another person will (a) cause physical injury to some person in the future, or (b) cause damage to property, or (c) use or abuse his position as a public servant by engaging in conduct within or related to his official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely.

Grand larceny in the second degree is a class C felony.

Grand Larceny in the First Degree

A person is guilty of grand larceny in the first degree when he steals property and when the value of the property exceeds one million dollars. Grand larceny in the first degree is a class B felony.