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The Sanders Firm, P.C.: Describing Offenses Against Public Order

In New York City, The Sanders Firm, P.C. provides those charged with offenses against public order legal representation. Offenses against public order are found under Article 240 New York Penal Law. There are close to three dozen such offenses and degrees of such. It is important to remember that if you are arrested and charged with any of the offenses under Article 240 that you have rights, including the right to consult with a lawyer prior to being questioned by law enforcement and the right to have your lawyer present when you are questioned.

Riot, Unlawful Assembly and Criminal Anarchy

When someone is guilty of inciting a riot or unlawful assembly, this usually involves a group of at least four people who are encouraging the disruption of the public peace or who are directly involved in such disruption. Riot in the first degree is a class E felony.

Criminal anarchy, which is a class E felony, is described in the following manner: “A person is guilty of criminal anarchy when (a) he advocates the overthrow of the existing form of government of this state by violence, or (b) with knowledge of its contents, he publishes, sells or distributes any document which advocates such violent overthrow, or (c) with knowledge of its purpose, he becomes a member of any organization which advocates such violent overthrow.”


There are various degrees of harassment. Harassment occurs when an individual interferes with another person’s ability to feel safe and secure in public or in private. It may include contacting a person repeatedly and making threats, seeing and threatening them, and physically harming the person.

Aggravated harassment in the first degree, which is a class E felony, involves using symbols, such as burning crosses, Swastikas, and nooses, to in some way threaten or annoy. Other types of actions are included in this crime. As noted in the law, “A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the first degree when with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, because of a belief or perception regarding such person`s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct…”

Both aggravated harassment in the first and second degree involve a person having been convicted of the crime of harassment in the past ten years and engaging in it again.

Falsifying Information or Actions

One may be guilty of offenses against public order if they in some way report false information. This includes disseminating a false registered sex offender notice and falsely reporting an incident. It is also a crime to place a false bomb or hazardous substance in the public way. If one places a false bomb or hazardous substance in a sports stadium or arena, mass transportation facility or enclosed shopping mall, they are guilty of a class D felony.

Interference with Services

It is also a crime to interfere with health care services or religious worship. The class of the crime depends upon the severity of the action. In this specific area of offenses against public order, one may be guilty if they threaten or in some way impeded the administration of health care services or the ability of someone or a group to engage in religious worship.

Public Order Offenses

There are many other offenses against public order. However, on this page The Sanders Firm, P.C. has focused on the vast majority of them. Contact The Sanders Firm, P.C. in New York, if you require legal representation relating to any of these criminal offenses. We will consult with you and represent you throughout the criminal justice process. If you have been charged with an offense against public order, you are innocent until proven guilty. We will be your voice for justice in the New York criminal justice system.