Much like the “No Soliciting” sign that hangs from the doors of many homes and businesses in New York City, there are also “Post no bills” signs throughout the city. In short, there are specific areas for advertising and selling and places where these acts are not allowed. This may come as a surprise to some, as anybody who walks down the streets of New York will see examples of advertising on nearly every inch of every block. However, there are strict guidelines in place in the New York legal system to protect some buildings and locations from unwanted ads.
New York Penal Law 145.30: Unlawfully posting advertisements is one such example. The charge is a violation and not listed as a misdemeanor or felony. The law relates to posting an advertisement on another person’s property without their permission. Even though New York is littered with ads for concerts, films, events, and sales, many of these postings are illegal.
An advertisement is defined under New York Penal Law 145.30 as a poster, notice, painting, or other affixation calling to a specific event. This item must also benefit a specific vendor or person. Under this statute, it is assumed that the vendor had prior knowledge to the advertisement in question being placed upon the forbidden location. A vendor is an individual who is set to benefit from a specific product, service, or entertainment display, as advertised.
If there was a major concert scheduled to take place in August at a venue in the Bronx, a vendor might hire a team to go throughout the city and hang advertisements to spread awareness. This team, without knowledge of New York Penal Law 145.30 might simply walk around and hang posters, stickers, and signs wherever they notice other ads, such as on every building they see, subway terminals, pay phone walls, benches, and telephone poles. If a specific building owner noticed an advertisement on their door where they had posted a “Post no bills” sign, they may call the police. The vendor in question would then be charged with Unlawfully posting advertisements.
The easiest defense to New York Penal Law 145.30 is proving that one had permission to post an advertisement. Of course, it is not always possible to prove permission, especially if the party where the ad was posted had filed a complaint. As such, there is another defense to this claim regarding permission granted from a vendor to post the ad. Vendors must authorize specific workers to hang posters, stickers and other forms of advertisements on their behalf. If a vendor were to face a charge of Unlawfully posting advertisements, a NYC defense attorney could argue that the worker posted these ads without the consent of the vendor. It can be argued that the third party was prompted to post ads in specific areas and acted of their own will when displaying the ad on a building where they had no permission. One might call to claim all of the other advertisements in close proximity to the item in question. They could also point to the fact that there was no visible “Post no bills” sign in the area when the advertisement was posted.
Unlawfully posting advertisements is not a New York misdemeanor or felony charge, but it is still a violation. A conviction under New York Penal Law 145.30 could result in a jail sentence of up to 15 days. However, this act is not considered a crime. For this reason, even if convicted, the act would not go on one’s criminal record.
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