Theft of Service

Theft of Service

New York Penal Law Section 165.15 governs the law of Theft of Services. In essence, theft of services is defined as the obtaining of services by deception, fraud, or unlawful means.  

Leaving a cab without paying the fare or jumping a subway turnstile are examples of Theft of Services. Another example is riding the bus without paying the fare.

One type of Theft of Services is eating a meal in a restaurant and leaving without paying. A similar type is leaving a hotel without paying for your room.

The Theft of Services laws applies to utilities and telecommunications as well. Attempting to obtain or obtaining, “cable television service, or any gas, steam, sewer, water, electrical, telegraph or telephone service,” without paying, constitutes a crime under the law. There are numerous means prohibited by the Penal Law by which one can obtain these services including, but not limited to, paying for the service with a stolen credit card, using a fake name with the service provider, or employing certain technical equipment, such as a decoder or descrambler, to gain access to these services. The law also prohibits selling these services on your own in a manner not allowed by the supplier.

While some believe that theft of services is a minor crime, it must be treated seriously, as it is a Class A  misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year incarceration.  While jail is unlikely for a first time offense of Theft of Services,  any disposition involving theft  can have a negative impact on future employment and immigration status.

Therefore, it is imperative to speak to a New York criminal defense attorney if you are charged with Theft of Services.  The Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, LLC, is committed to defending clients in both New York State and Federal cases. Call for a free consultation at 212-951-1232.