NY Penal Law § 165.15: Theft of services

by ECL Writer
Theft of services

The majority of us picture stolen money, jewels, televisions, cars, or other valuables when we think about theft. Yet, theft services like utility services, cab rides, or restaurant services is a typical theft crime rather than stealing goods, a vehicle, or money.

 Under New York Penal Law § 165.15, you could be prosecuted for theft of services if you:

  • Obtain a service by using a credit or debit card you know to be stolen,
  • Obtain services from a hotel or restaurant and intentionally fail to pay,
  • Obtain railroad, subway, bus, air, taxi, or any other public transportation service without payment by stealth, deceit, or mechanical tampering,
  • Obtain a telecommunication or utility service by tampering, the use of a decoder, misrepresentation, fraud, or use of a canceled or revoked access device,
  • Obtain admission to a theater or concert hall by use of a mechanical device, or
  • Access computer services without paying.

Sentence For New York Theft Services

Theft of services might be classified as a violation, a Class A misdemeanor, or a Class E felony depending on the sort of crime you committed. If you are found guilty of theft of services as a violation, your punishment may include a fine and a jail term of up to 15 days. If you are found guilty of theft of services, which is a Class A misdemeanor, you might receive a fine and up to a year in jail as punishment. If you are found guilty of theft of services, a Class E felony, you could receive a fine and up to 4 years in jail as part of your punishment.

New York Penal Law § 165.15: Theft Of Services

A person is guilty of theft of services when:

  • He uses a credit card or debit card that he knows to be stolen to obtain or attempt to obtain a service or to persuade or attempt to persuade the provider of a service to accept payment on credit terms for a service delivered.
  • He avoids or attempts to avoid payment by unjustifiable failure or refusal to pay, by stealth, or by any misrepresentation of fact that he knows to be false in order to avoid paying for services provided at restaurants or to him as a transient guest at a hotel, motel, inn, tourist cabin, rooming house, or a similar establishment. A person is assumed to have intended to avoid paying for such services if they fail or refuse to do so;
  • By using force, intimidation, stealth, deception, mechanical tampering, or an unjustifiable failure or refusal to pay, he obtains or attempts to obtain railroad, subway, bus, air, taxi, or any other public transportation service with the intent to do so without paying the lawful charge therefor, or with the intention to avoid paying the lawful charge for such transportation service which has been rendered to him; or
  • With intent to avoid payment by himself or another person of the lawful charge for any telecommunications service, including, without limitation, cable television service, or any gas, steam, sewer, water, electrical, telegraph or telephone service which is provided for a charge or compensation, he obtains or attempts to obtain such service for himself or another person or avoids or attempts to avoid payment therefor by himself or another person by means of (a) tampering or making connection with the equipment of the supplier, whether by mechanical, electrical, acoustical or other means, or (b) offering for sale or otherwise making available, to anyone other than the provider of a telecommunications service for such service provider’s own use in the provision of its service, any telecommunications decoder or descrambler, a principal function of which defeats a mechanism of electronic signal encryption, jamming or individually addressed switching imposed by the provider of any such telecommunications service to restrict the delivery of such service, or (c) any misrepresentation of fact which he knows to be false, or (d) any other artifice, trick, deception, code or device. For the purposes of this subdivision the telecommunications decoder or descrambler described in paragraph (b) above or the device described in paragraph (d) above shall not include any non-decoding and non-descrambling channel frequency converter or any television receiver type-accepted by the federal communications commission. In any prosecution under this subdivision, proof that telecommunications equipment, including, without limitation, any cable television converter, descrambler, or related equipment, has been tampered with or otherwise intentionally prevented from performing its functions of control of service delivery without the consent of the supplier of the service, or that telecommunications equipment, including, without limitation, any cable television converter, descrambler, receiver, or related equipment, has been connected to the equipment of the supplier of the service without the consent of the supplier of the service, shall be presumptive evidence that the resident to whom the service which is at the time being furnished by or through such equipment has, with intent to avoid payment by himself or another person for a prospective or already rendered service, created or caused to be created with reference to such equipment, the condition so existing. A person who tampers with such a device or equipment without the consent of the supplier of the service is presumed to do so with intent to avoid, or to enable another to avoid, payment for the service involved. In any prosecution under this subdivision, proof that any telecommunications decoder or descrambler, a principal function of which defeats a mechanism of electronic signal encryption, jamming or individually addressed switching imposed by the provider of any such telecommunications service to restrict the delivery of such service, has been offered for sale or otherwise made available by anyone other than the supplier of such service shall be presumptive evidence that the person offering such equipment for sale or otherwise making it available has, with intent to avoid payment by himself or another person of the lawful charge for such service, obtained or attempted to obtain such service for himself or another person or avoided or attempted to avoid payment therefor by himself or another person; or
  • He (a) sells, offers for sale, or otherwise makes available, without consent, an existing, canceled, or revoked access device; (b) uses, without consent, an existing, canceled, or revoked access device; or (c) knowingly obtains any telecommunications service with fraudulent intent by use of an unauthorized, false, or fictitious access device with the intent to avoid payment by himself or another person of the lawful charge for any telephone service that is provided. For the purposes of this subdivision, an access device is any number that can be used to get phone service, including a calling card number, credit card number, account number, mobile identification number, electronic serial number, or personal identity number.
  • With intent to avoid payment by himself or another person for a prospective or already rendered service the charge or compensation for which is measured by a meter or other mechanical device, he tampers with such device or with other equipment related thereto, or in any manner attempts to prevent the meter or device from performing its measuring function, without the consent of the supplier of the service. In any prosecution under this subdivision, proof that a meter or related equipment has been tampered with or otherwise intentionally prevented from performing its measuring function without the consent of the supplier of the service shall be presumptive evidence that the person to whom the service which is at the time being furnished by or through such meter or related equipment has, with intent to avoid payment by himself or another person for a prospective or already rendered service, created or caused to be created with reference to such meter or related equipment, the condition so existing. A person who tampers with such a device or equipment without the consent of the supplier of the service is presumed to do so with intent to avoid, or to enable another to avoid, payment for the service involved; or
  • He knowingly accepts or receives the use and benefit of service, including gas, steam or electricity service, which should pass through a meter but has been diverted therefrom, or which has been prevented from being correctly registered by a meter provided therefor, or which has been diverted from the pipes, wires or conductors of the supplier thereof. In any prosecution under this subdivision proof that service has been intentionally diverted from passing through a meter, or has been intentionally prevented from being correctly registered by a meter provided therefor, or has been intentionally diverted from the pipes, wires or conductors of the supplier thereof, shall be presumptive evidence that the person who accepts or receives the use and benefit of such service has done so with knowledge of the condition so existing; or
  • With intent to obtain, without the consent of the supplier thereof, gas, electricity, water, steam or telephone service, he tampers with any equipment designed to supply or to prevent the supply of such service either to the community in general or to particular premises; or
  • With intent to avoid payment of the lawful charge for admission to any theatre or concert hall, or with intent to avoid payment of the lawful charge for admission to or use of a chair lift, gondola, rope-tow or similar mechanical device utilized in assisting skiers in transportation to a point of ski arrival or departure, he obtains or attempts to obtain such admission without payment of the lawful charge therefor.
  • Obtaining or having control over labor in the employ of another person, or of business, commercial or industrial equipment or facilities of another person, knowing that he is not entitled to the use thereof, and with intent to derive a commercial or other substantial benefit for himself or a third person, he uses or diverts to the use of himself or a third person such labor, equipment or facilities.
  • With intent to avoid payment by himself, herself, or another person of the lawful charge for use of any computer, computer service, or computer network which is provided for a charge or compensation he or she uses, causes to be used, accesses, or attempts to use or access a computer, computer service, or computer network and avoids or attempts to avoid payment therefor. In any prosecution under this subdivision proof that a person overcame or attempted to overcome any device or coding system a function of which is to prevent the unauthorized use of said computer or computer service shall be presumptive evidence of an intent to avoid payment for the computer or computer service. Theft of services is a class A misdemeanor, provided, however, that theft of cable television service as defined by the provisions of paragraphs (a), (c) and (d) of subdivision four of this §, and having a value not in excess of one hundred dollars by a person who has not been previously convicted of theft of services under subdivision four of this § is a violation, that theft of services under subdivision nine of this § by a person who has not been previously convicted of theft of services under subdivision nine of this § is a violation and provided further, however, that theft of services of any telephone service under paragraph (a) or (b) of subdivision five of this § having a value in excess of one thousand dollars or by a person who has been previously convicted within five years of theft of services under paragraph (a) of subdivision five of this § is a class E felony.

Defenses

Your acts would have to be deliberate in order for you to be found guilty of stolen services. You would have a defense to an allegation of theft of services if, for instance, you leave a restaurant without paying the check thinking your dinner partner was going to do so.

Hiring A New York Theft Of Services Lawyer

One of the most important steps in defending yourself against theft of services accusations is to hire a New York theft of services attorney. Theft of services is a crime that carries heavy penalties, such as fines and incarceration. It is crucial to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side who can offer you the required legal advice and counsel.

There are a number of things to take into consideration before selecting a theft of services attorney in New York. Choose a lawyer first who has experience addressing instances involving theft of services. A skilled attorney will be familiar with the nuances of New York law and be able to effectively defend you.

Second, search for a lawyer who is acquainted with the criminal court system in New York. In your case, a lawyer with experience in the New York court system will be more knowledgeable about the prosecutors, judges, and court procedures.

Third, seek a lawyer who has experience managing instances involving theft of services. You want a lawyer who has a track record of successfully representing clients at trial or through negotiation.

Fourth, you should look for a lawyer who is responsive and communicative. A good lawyer will keep you informed about the progress of your case and will be available to answer any questions you may have.

Finally, you should consider the cost of hiring a lawyer. While you do not want to sacrifice quality for cost, it is important to find a lawyer whose fees are reasonable and transparent.

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