New York Penal Law § 158.50: Criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree

If you are in possession of public benefit cards that are in another person's name or in the names if several other people, you may have committed the crime of criminal possession of public benefit cards. There are 3 such statutes in the New York criminal code. The specific charge that you will face will depend on the number of cards that you have. Criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree is the most serious criminal possession of public benefit cards charge, carrying the most severe penalty. Under New York Penal Law section 158.50 you could be prosecuted for criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree if with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, you knowingly possesses 25 or more public benefit cards in the name of someone other than you.

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

Samuel knows exactly when public benefit cards arrive in the mail each month. He waited for the postal carrier to arrive. Samuel then used a gun to force the postal worker to give him his back of mail. Samuel was able to get over 100 public benefit cards. Not only could Ginger be prosecuted for robbery, he could also be prosecuted for criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal use of a public benefit card in the second degree: New York Penal Law section 158.30
  2. Criminal use of a public benefit card in the first degree: New York Penal Law section 158.35
  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

In order to violate the criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree statute, you must have the intent to defraud and you must be in possession of at least 25 public benefit cards. If you can show that your intent was not to defraud or that you had less than 25 cards, then you may have a valid defense to the charge.

Sentence

As a class C felony, if you are convicted of criminal possession of public benefit cards in the second degree your sentence may include a prison term of up to 15 years, a probation term of 5 years, and a substantial fine.

New York Penal Law § 158.50: Criminal possession of public benefit cards in first degree

A person is guilty of criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree when he or she with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, knowingly possesses twenty-five or more public benefit cards in a name or names other than the person's own name.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Criminal possession of public benefit cards in the first degree is a very serious charge. If you are convicted you could be sent to prison away from your loved ones for over 10 years. It is critical that you have experienced representation. 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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