NY Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal Nuisance


Some criminal charges are almost always accompanied with others. The charge of criminal nuisance is rarely filed alone and is frequently seen with drug charges and other similar crimes. We sometimes see this offense levied against someone when the prosecution is really trying to send a message by piling on the criminal charges. If you’re accused of a criminal nuisance offense, you are not without options. Discussing your case with a criminal defense lawyer will help you gain understanding as to why the charge was filed and what can be done.

The charge of criminal nuisance is usually related to maintaining your home. It is concerned with the activities that may be going on within your home and is often charged in conjunction with drug distribution offenses.

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New York Criminal Nuisance Laws

First Degree Criminal Nuisance

The charge of criminal nuisance in the first degree is applied when it’s suspected you are using your home for drug activities. In order for you to be convicted of this E Felony charge, the prosecution must prove that you

  1. Maintain a dwelling where drugs are sold, and
  2. Derive benefit from the sale of those drugs.

So whether you are the one selling drugs or if you allow someone else to sell drugs from your home in exchange for payment of some kind, you could be charged and even convicted of this offense.

Second Degree Criminal Nuisance

Criminal nuisance in the second degree is slightly less serious than 1st degree criminal nuisance and is classified as a B misdemeanor, carrying up to 90 days in jail. This is the applicable charge when the prosecution has probable cause that you:

  1. Knowingly or recklessly create a condition which endangers the safety or health of considerable number of people, or
  2. Knowingly maintains a home where persons gather for purposes of engaging in unlawful conduct.

As you can see, this particular offense is worded vaguely. It’s easy to see how this charge could be levied against you for having a loud party or for having people over who decide to smoke pot on your back porch. If your attorney can argue that you were unaware of the “unlawful conduct”, however, you could beat this charge.

Ref: NY State Law §240.45-46

Criminal Nuisance laws may not seem all that serious. But any time you have the potential to go to jail they should be taken very seriously.

Being charged with a criminal offense does not make you a criminal. Contact our offices today to discuss how best to handle the charges against you and if we might be able to help you avoid a criminal conviction.