NYS Penal Law
New York State Consolidated Laws
Article 5 - NY Penal Law
GENERAL RULES OF CONSTRUCTION AND APPLICATION
S 5.00 Penal law not strictly construed.
The general rule that a penal statute is to be strictly construed does
not apply to this chapter, but the provisions herein must be construed
according to the fair import of their terms to promote justice and
effect the objects of the law.
S 5.05 Application of chapter to offenses committed before and after
1. The provisions of this chapter shall govern the construction of and
punishment for any offense defined in this chapter and committed after
the effective date hereof, as well as the construction and application
of any defense to a prosecution for such an offense.
2. Unless otherwise expressly provided, or unless the context
otherwise requires, the provisions of this chapter shall govern the
construction of and punishment for any offense defined outside of this
chapter and committed after the effective date thereof, as well as the
construction and application of any defense to a prosecution for such an
3. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to or govern the
construction of and punishment for any offense committed prior to the
effective date of this chapter, or the construction and application of
any defense to a prosecution for such an offense. Such an offense must
be construed and punished according to the provisions of law existing at
the time of the commission thereof in the same manner as if this chapter
had not been enacted.
S 5.10 Other limitations on applicability of this chapter.
1. Except as otherwise provided, the procedure governing the
accusation, prosecution, conviction and punishment of offenders and
offenses is not regulated by this chapter but by the criminal procedure
2. This chapter does not affect any power conferred by law upon any
court-martial or other military authority or officer to prosecute and
punish conduct and offenders violating military codes or laws.
3. This chapter does not bar, suspend, or otherwise affect any right
or liability to damages, penalty, forfeiture or other remedy authorized
by law to be recovered or enforced in a civil action, regardless of
whether the conduct involved in such civil action constitutes an offense
defined in this chapter.
4. Sections 120.45, 120.50, 120.55, 120.60 and 240.25, subdivisions
two and three of section 240.26, and sections 240.70 and 240.71 of this
chapter (a) do not apply to conduct which is otherwise lawful under the
provisions of the National Labor Relations Act as amended, the National
Railway Labor Act as amended, or the Federal Employment Labor Management
Act as amended, and (b) do not bar any conduct, including, but not
limited to, peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration,
protected from legal prohibition by the federal and state constitutions.
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