Theft of Services Charges in New York (Penal Code 165.15)
A theft of service charge in New York City generally takes one of two common forms.
One theft of services situation in New York City is a fairly common scenario. Person is out late. Person takes cab home. Person realizes that he or she doesn't have the money for the cab on hand. Cab driver becomes angry and refuses to allow person to go to ATM. Cab driver calls the police. Police arrive and arrest for theft of services. Cab drivers are notoriously short-fused when it comes to this issue and will call the police in cases where it would have simply been quicker to take the person to an ATM.
Another theft of services charge in New York City is fare evasion on the subway, commonly referred to as "jumping the turnstile" but can be charged for any number of variations on the theme. Another common version of subway related theft of services is using one of the various specialty discounted metro cards when you are not supposed to. For example, an adult using a student's card could be charged as theft of services.
Prognosis - In Most Cases - Good
Although theft of services is a misdemeanor, like many common Desk Appearance Charges, the prognosis is likely to be pretty good, even for people who believe that they don't have much of a defense. Settlements involving no criminal conviction, or even a kind of delayed dismissal are often available depending on the criminal history of the person accused, the age of the person accused, and some other basic facts of the case.
Naturally, there are any number of other considerations that could be important that relate to certain collateral issues regarding being accused of any crime (such as immigration and employment issues). This is partly why it is important to obtain a lawyer to help resolve the issue - not for the obvious issues but to consider and rule out less obvious but nonetheless important considerations.
In the case of "turnstile jumping" community service of some amount may become a component of the settlement. In the case of cab related theft of services, payment of the cab fare is likely to be a component of any settlement.
BY: DON A. MURRAY, ESQ.
Don Murray is one of the founding partners of Shalley & Murray, a New York criminal defense law firm with offices in New York City and Westchester County. Mr. Murray is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has been practicing criminal defense in New York for more than 20 years. Any questions or comments about this article or seeking representation on a Desk Appearance Ticket can be directed to him directly at 718-268-2171.