Usually an offense perpetrated in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and other New York City locations, Theft of Services (New York Penal Law 165.15) is a crime that often results in a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) type arrest. While far from a felony crime, arrests for NY PL 165.15 are not without collateral and direct consequences. In fact, it is usually those people who have most at stake or those most in danger of bearing the brunt of those penalties are the individuals who are arrested. While a review of the Theft of Services statute, consequences of the crime and DAT process is available through the links peppered throughout this blog entry, the purpose of this entry is to address a recent Brooklyn Court decision relevant to the defense of NY PL 165.15.
Before proceeding, whether you received a New York City Desk Appearance Ticket for Theft of Services or you spent a night in jail waiting to see a judge, the crime of NY PL 165.15 is the same. That is, if you intentionally avoid or attempt to avoid paying for subway / public transportation by deception, stealth or some other method and you actually obtain or attempt to obtain the particular service, you are guilty of this misdemeanor crime. Collateral consequences to immigration or careers in finance aside, Theft of services is punishable by no more than one year in jail.