Aggravated Harassment Struck Down

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New York’s Aggravated Harassment Statute Struck Down by NY’s Highest CourtHave you been convicted of Aggravated Harassment in New York State, Penal L § 240.30?

On May 13, 2014, New York’s highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals, in the case of People v. Golb, struck down New York’s Aggravated Harassment statute, NY Penal Law § 240.30 as it pertains to prohibitions against verbal threats. The court held that the statute, a Class “A” misdemeanor, is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Because the law was declared unconstitutional, anyone previously convicted under the Aggravated Harassment statute, NY Penal L. § 240.30, has the right to have their criminal conviction expunged. If you have been convicted any time in the past and want to have your record expunged contact Palumbo & Associates, PC, to bring an expungement action.

The statute and why it is unconstitutional

NY Penal Law § 240.30(1)(a) prohibited communicating by telephone, telegraph, mail, or transmission of written communication, something likely to cause annoyance or alarm. In striking down the law, the court ruled that any censorship of speech must be limited sharply to only those words which, “by their utterance alone, inflict injury or tend to naturally evoke immediate violence.” The court held that a statute cannot broadly criminalize any communication that has the intent to annoy.

While the court struck down NY Penal Law § 240.30(1)(a), it did not strike down Aggravated Harassment Penal L § 240.30 sub sections (2), (3), and (4). Each sub section deals with a different way a person can be found guilty of Aggravated Harassment.

What this means to you if you have been convicted of Aggravated Harassment

Aggravated Harassment is a Class “A” misdemeanor. If you were previously convicted of it and did jail time we cannot get the time back for you. We can however get back your good name. If you do nothing the conviction will remain on your criminal history even though the statute of which you were convicted of was invalid. This means that it will still come up on background checks and it will still impede you from getting employment, making immigration applications, and a host of other things. This is why you must take affirmative steps to expunge your record.

Our office can represent you before the court you were convicted by bringing a Coram Nobis proceeding. A Coram Nobis proceeding, enacted in NY CLP § 440, is a device which allows people aggrieved by the criminal justice system through enforcement of unconstitutional statutes to correct their criminal history to erase and expunge their conviction. This restores the person to their pre-conviction status. Because the law that you were prosecuted under was unconstitutional and invalid, it does not matter whether you plead guilty in a plea bargain, plead guilty for a better sentence, or were found guilty after trial. If you want to get your good name back, a Coram Nobis proceeding is available to you.

Your next step

If you are interested in further exploring getting your unconstitutional of Aggravated Harassment conviction removed from your record, call us toll free at 1-877-996-6849 for a no cost, no obligation phone consultation. Our office can represent you in bringing your expungement action in any court in New York State. Our fees are value driven so that your commitment in rectifying your past criminal history for your future is affordable. When you contact us we need to know the following:

  • The full name of the court where you were convicted
  • The approximate date you were convicted
  • Whether the allegations of harassment fell under Penal L. § 240(1)(a) and if so did you allocute to just that sub section or a different sub section as well
  • Whether you were charged with other crimes or infractions in the same incident that gave rise to your conviction, and if so what the charges were
  • If you plead guilty whether other crimes were dismissed, or covered, by your plea to Aggravated Harassment
  • Whether you were found guilty by trial or plead guilty, were you also convicted of other crimes or infractions as well and if so what were they
  • It may be that you do not recall the particulars of the conviction for Aggravated Harassment and the exact section of the statute you were convicted under. Not to worry. Our office can save you money by first investigating for a small fee the record, and then advising you on whether or not you should invest the time and money to vacate your Aggravated Harassment conviction.

This is your future. Don’t wait, call today!