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New York Theft of Services Defense Attorney

Theft of Services is prohibited under New York Penal Law section 165.15. Theft of services involves failing to pay for services, often concerning those rendered by a bar, restaurant, night club, taxi, or the metro.

Theft of services may seem at first blush like a low-tier crime that does not mean much, but if handled poorly, the consequences can be severe. If you are issued a Desk Appearance Ticket for theft of services, it is vital that you secure the help of a dedicated New York criminal defense attorney to avoid spending upwards of a year in jail, among other potential punishments.

From their office in Goshen, the New York criminal defense attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. help people throughout the Hudson Valley and Orange County who have been charged with theft of services, petit larceny, or other similar offenses.

Elements of Theft of Services

Under NY PL 165.15, a person is guilty of theft of services when they use deception, stealth, force, intimidation, misrepresentation, manipulation of a mechanical device, simple refusal to pay, or some other improper means to avoid paying for a service. Below are a few of the examples listed in the statute:

  • Obtaining services by use of a stolen credit card;
  • Intentionally failing to pay at a restaurant or hotel by stealth (“dine and dash”) or other unreasonable or deceptive means;
  • Intentionally failing to pay for a subway, taxi, or other transportation fares, by way of stealth, force, intimidation, mechanical tampering, or other unreasonable or deceptive means (g., jumping a turnstile);
  • Intentionally failing to pay for cable, electric, phone, or another utility by use of a hacking device or misstatement of fact;
  • Misusing someone else’s labor.

Regardless of the specific type of services stolen, the defendant need only have attempted the crime to be convicted under section 165.15.

Penalties for Theft of Services

Theft of services is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Theft of services is often accompanied by a charge of petit larceny, also a Class A misdemeanor.

The statute identifies certain minor forms of the crime as punishable only as a violation for first-time offenders. For example, theft of cable television services with a total value of $100 or less is automatically a violation, rather than a misdemeanor, for first-time offenders. Your New York criminal defense attorney can help ensure that overzealous prosecutors do not victimize you with a more severe charge than is warranted under the circumstances.

Defending Against Theft of Services

It is highly unlikely that a prosecutor or judge would seek jail time for a first-time offense, especially if the defendant appears remorseful and repays the owed money. Restitution, a fine, and potential alternative forms of punishment such as community service are much more likely. If a defendant makes a habit of stealing services, they may face more severe punishment in extreme circumstances.

Importantly, the statute makes clear that the defendant must have explicitly acted with the intent of avoiding payment. A prosecutor cannot convict a defendant for an accident, such as simply forgetting to pay a cab or at a restaurant. If the restaurant calls you out on failing to pay, it behooves you to then pay in order to avoid any potential legal troubles.

Help is Available For Your Theft of Services Charge

The lawyers at Dupée & Monroe have decades of experience helping people like you avoid the most severe consequences which can arise from a Theft of Services ticket or conviction. If you have been arrested for Theft of Services or other offenses in Goshen, Orange County or anywhere in the Hudson Valley region, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C. for immediate assistance from experienced criminal defense attorneys.

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