In this post we’re going to extrapolate on charges involving false written documents in the New York penal code. But before we get into that, let’s first define some of the terms involved.

Definitions of terms.

  • When we say enterprise, we mean an entity of one or more people who are engaged in business, political, or some other kind of activity.
  • Business record is any writing or article that’s maintained by an enterprise to reflect on its condition or activity.
  • A written instrument is an instrument or article, including data or a program that contains some sort of printed matter used for recording information that can be used for the advantage or disadvantage of someone.

Falsifying business records in the second degree.

Now that we’ve gotten the definitions out of the way, let’s get into the charges. You’re guilty of falsifying business records in the second degree when you make or cause a false entry in the business records of an enterprise, or alter or destroy a true entry of an enterprise, or omit a true entry in the business records, or prevent the making of a true entry or cause the omission of it. This crime is punishable as a class A misdemeanor.

Falsifying business records in the first degree.

The first degree of this crime is when you commit the preceding crime and your intent to defraud includes also an intent to commit another crime, or else conceal a crime. This charge is a class E felony.

Falsifying business records; defense.

Keep in mind that it is an affirmative defense if you’re a clerk, bookkeeper or other employee who executed your employer’s orders.

Tampering with public records in the second degree.

You’re guilty of this crime when you knowingly remove, mutilate, destroy, or otherwise make a false entry in order to knowingly tamper with the records. This crime is a class A misdemeanor.

Tampering with public records in the first degree.

This charge is the same as the preceding, but involves knowingly tampering with the records of a public servant. This one is a class D felony.

Offering a false instrument for filing in the second degree.

To be guilty of this you’d have to register or record a written instrument that you know contains a false statement or false information. This charge is punished as a class A misdemeanor.

Offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

This is similar to the previous charge, but with the addition that you have the intention to defraud the state or any political subdivision and then offer this to some sort of public servant with the knowledge or else the belief that it’ll be filed with or become part of the records of someone in public office, or if you commit this crime in the second degree and then the instrument involved is a financing statement that’s covered under certain sections of the law. Committing this crime will land you a class E felony.

Issuing a false certificate.

You’re guilty of this crime when you’re a public servant and you issue this kind of instrument with the intention of defrauding someone. This is punishable as a class E felony.

Issuing a false financial statement.

Lastly we come to issuing a false financial statement. You’re guilty of this when you knowingly make a written instrument that purports to describe the financial condition of someone and it’s inaccurate, or if you represent that a written instrument is accurate to someone’s financial condition, whereas you know that it’s inaccurate. This crime is punishable as a class A misdemeanor.

As you can see that wasn’t quite so difficult as you might’ve thought it was going to be. When you take the complicated letter of the law and simplify it down to terms that make more sense in conversational language, the problem of describing the law becomes negligible. We hope that this post helped you to better understand the state of New York’s penal law, and we hope you’ll stay tuned for more posts to come. And remember, if you’re facing any sort of legal problem or believe that you will be facing such a problem in the near future, it’s best that you reach out to the kind folks over at Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC. It might be the best thing you do all day.