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NY Penal Law § 145.15: Criminal Tampering in the Second Degree

It is against the law to use the services of a company such as the electric, gas, or water company without that company's permission. If you do so, you could face a charge of criminal tampering in the second degree. Under New York Penal Law § 145.15 criminal tampering in the second degree involves tampering or making connection with property of any of the following types of companies:

  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Sewer
  • Steam or water-works corporation
  • Telephone or telegraph corporation
  • Common carrier
  • Nuclear powered electric generating facility
  • Public utility operated by a municipality or district

In People v. Myles, 58 A.D.3d 889 (N.Y. App. Div., 2009), an employee of an electric power company discovered the presence of jumper cables in defendant Charles Myles' meter box. The presence of the jumper cables caused 10% of the electric current to bypass the meter. As a result, Myles' bill for electric power was lower than it would have been had the jumper cables not been present. Myles was convicted of criminal tampering in the second degree as well as theft of services and petit larceny.

Related Offenses
  1. Tampering with a consumer product in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 145.45
  2. Tampering with a consumer product in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 145.45
  3. Theft of services: New York Penal Law § 165.15

If you were unaware of the tampering, you may have a valid defense against the charges. For example, in the case of People v. Myles, the charges against the second defendant Stephanie Myles were ultimately dismissed because there was no evidence that Stephanie was aware of the tampering.


Criminal tampering in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. As such, if you are convicted you could be sentenced to as much as 1 year in jail. The judge, however, does have the option of sentencing you to a probation term of 3 years. You may also be required to pay a fine.

New York Penal Law § 145.15: Criminal Tampering in the Third Degree

A person is guilty of criminal tampering in the second degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he or she tampers or makes connection with property of a gas, electric, sewer, steam or water-works corporation, telephone or telegraph corporation, common carrier, nuclear powered electric generating facility, or public utility operated by a municipality or district; except that in any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant did not engage in such conduct for a larcenous or otherwise unlawful or wrongful purpose.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While criminal tampering in the second degree is a misdemeanors and not a felony, the consequences of a conviction are serious. You may end up spending a year in jail-- away from your family and friends. Once you are released from prison you will have to face life with having a criminal record. However, there are defenses to a charge of criminal tampering in the second degree that may cause the charge to be dropped, reduced or you being acquitted. 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 criminal mischief as well as other felonies and misdemeanors such as grand larceny, burglary, and assault. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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