New York Penal Law § 158.30: Criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree

It is against the law to use another person's identification card to receive public assistance benefits such as medical assistance, food stamps, or public assistance benefits. For example, if you accept another person's public assistance card as collateral for a loan, or in exchange for money, drugs or some other property or service, you would have committed a crime. Under New York Penal Law section 158.30 you could be prosecuted for criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree if you:

  1. Knowingly loan money, property or provide service and you accept a public benefit card as collateral for repayment of the loan or as the payment of the property or service,
  2. Knowingly obtain a public benefit card in exchange for a benefit, or
  3. Knowingly deliver a public benefit card to another person in exchange for money, in exchange for a controlled substance, or in order to commit an unlawful act.

Under New York Penal Law section 158.00(1)(a), a "public benefit card" is a medical assistance card, food stamp assistance card, public assistance card, or other identification issued by the state or a social services district which entitles a person to obtain public assistance benefits.

Example

Daphne was broke and needed cash to pay a bill. She tried to borrow money from friends, but no one lend it to her. Finally she told Jill that if Jill would lend her $300, she would let Jill hold on to her public benefit card until she paid Jill back. Jill agreed. Jill could be charged with criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree as she accepted a Daphne's public benefit card as collateral for a loan.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal use of a public benefit card in the first degree: New York Penal Law section 158.35
  2. Criminal possession of a public benefit cards in the third degree: New York Penal Law section 158.40
  3. Criminal possession of a public benefit cards in the second degree: New York Penal Law section 158.45
  4. Criminal possession of a public benefit cards in the first degree: New York Penal Law section 158.50
Defenses

The prosecutor must prove that you obtained the public benefit card in exchange for some sort of benefit. If the card was given to you as a "gift," then you did not commit the crime of criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree.

Sentence

As a class A misdemeanor, if you are convicted of criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree your sentence may include a jail term of up to a year, a probation term of 3 years, and a fine.

New York Penal Law § 158.30: Criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree

A person is guilty of criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree when he or she knowingly: 1. Loans money or otherwise provides property or services on credit, and accepts a public benefit card as collateral or security for the repayment of such loan or for the provision of such property or services; 2. Obtains a public benefit card in exchange for a benefit; or 3. Transfers or delivers a public benefit card to another (a) in exchange for money or a controlled substance as defined in subdivision five of section 220.00, or (b) for the purpose of committing an unlawful act.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree is a misdemeanor, you should take it seriously. Not only could you end up in jail, you will have to repay the money you received. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in violation of New York state law and federal law. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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