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NY Penal Law § 145.20: Criminal Tampering in the Third Degree

Among New York's many laws designed to protect property, there are several laws related to tampering. Tampering means to alter or meddle with something. Typically the purpose of tampering is to make the tampered object or service operate different from the way it was meant to operate, to inconvenience someone, or to confer a benefit to the person who did the tampering. Under New York Penal Law § 145.20 criminal tampering in the third degree involves tampering with another person's property with the intention of significantly inconveniencing that person or a third party.


Judd was angry that his ex-girlfriend was dating someone new. To get revenge, Judd hacked in to his ex-girlfriend's computer that she used to run her small, home-based business. Judd changed the settings on her website so that no orders from her customers would get through. As a result, Judd's ex-girlfriend lost a significant amount of business. Judd could be prosecuted for criminal tampering in the third degree as has actions caused a substantial inconvenience to his ex-girlfriend.

Related Offenses
  1. Tampering with a consumer product in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 145.40
  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 you did not damage the property or service of another person intentionally, but accidentally, the prosecutor may have a difficult time moving forward with a criminal tampering in the third degree case against you. In addition, if the actions that you are accused of committing did not result in a "substantial" inconvenience to another person, you may have a valid defense against the charge.


Criminal tampering in the third degree is a Class B misdemeanor. As such, if you are convicted you could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail. The judge, however, does have the option of sentencing you to a probation term of 1 year. You may also be required to pay a fine as well as restitution to the victim.

New York Penal Law § 145.20: Criminal Tampering in the Third Degree

A person is guilty of criminal tampering in the third degree when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, he tampers with property of another person with intent to cause substantial inconvenience to such person or to a third person.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

While criminal tampering in the third degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still a crime. There is a chance that you will be sent to jail. You also may have to pay a fine. 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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