Criminal Use Of A Public Benefit Card In The First Degree: NY Penal Law § 158.35

by ECL Writer
Conspiracy in the first degree

Utilizing someone else’s identification card to access medical assistance, food stamps, or public aid benefits constitutes a legal violation. For instance, if you accept another individual’s public assistance card as collateral for a loan or in return for money, drugs, property, or services, you commit a crime. Under New York Penal Law section 158.35, you could face charges for first-degree criminal use of a public benefit card if you:

  • Acquire three or more public benefit cards in exchange for a benefit from another party, or
  • Hand over three or more public benefit cards to another person in exchange for money or a controlled substance as defined in section 220.00(5) of this chapter.

In accordance with New York Penal Law section 158.00(1)(a), a “public benefit card” encompasses medical assistance, food stamp assistance, public assistance, or any other state-issued identification entitling individuals to public aid benefits.

Sentence

Being found guilty of first-degree criminal use of a public benefit card, classified as a class E felony, could result in a sentence involving a maximum of four years of imprisonment, up to five years of probation, and a significant monetary penalty.

Defenses

The prosecution bears the burden of demonstrating the involvement of a minimum of three public benefit cards. If they can only establish that you exchanged two public benefit cards for a benefit or received two public assistance benefit cards in exchange for drugs, then first-degree criminal use of a public benefit card would not be a suitable charge.

New York Penal Law § 158.35: Criminal use of a public benefit card in the first degree

First-degree criminal use of a public benefit card occurs when an individual, through a single act or a sequence of actions, willfully (i) acquires three or more public benefit cards from one or multiple individuals in return for a benefit, or (ii) hands over three or more public benefit cards to one or multiple individuals in exchange for money or a controlled substance as defined in section 220.00(5) of this chapter.

Related Offenses

Hiring a New York Lawyer for Criminal use of a public benefit card in the first degree case

Hiring a New York lawyer for a criminal use of a public benefit card in the first degree case is essential for navigating the complexities of the legal system. This serious offense involves fraudulent misuse of public assistance, potentially resulting in severe consequences. A skilled attorney will assess the evidence, build a strong defense, and work to protect your rights.

In New York, first-degree charges signify aggravated circumstances, such as significant financial loss to the government. A competent lawyer will aim to minimize penalties, including fines and potential imprisonment, while ensuring a fair legal process. They’ll leverage their knowledge of New York’s legal statutes and precedents to craft a solid defense strategy, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome. Hiring a lawyer is an investment in safeguarding your future and preserving your reputation.

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