Member of:
Justia Lawyer Rating
American Association for Justice
Union Plus

New York Theft of Services Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Theft of Services in New York?

Theft of services is a criminal offense involving obtaining services through an illegal means. Like larceny, robbery, and embezzlement, theft of services is a type of stealing. Unlawful activities that amount to theft of services include:

  • Staying at a hotel and intentionally fail to pay
  • Obtaining a service using a credit card that was stolen
  • Using the bus, subway, train, taxi, or any other public transportation service without paying
  • Obtaining service from a utility company or a telecommunication company by using a decoder or some other fraudulent means, or by using a cancelled access device.
  • Accessing services without paying for them

Back to Top

What Are the Penalties in New York for Theft of Service?

Theft of services is a misdemeanor. This means that someone who is convicted may be sentenced to jail for up to a year. The sentence would likely include restitution, requiring the defendant to pay the victim for the losses suffered due to the theft. In addition, the defendant may be required to pay fines and fees.

If the defendant is a repeat offender, instead of being a misdemeanor the charge will be a class E felony. This means that the penalty will be more severe than if the charge was a misdemeanor. The sentence could include a prison term of up to 4 years, probation, restitution, fines, and fees.

Back to Top

Are There Any Defenses to a Theft of Services Charge?

The prosecutor has the burden of presenting evidence that the defendant committed the crime of theft of services. The defendant can refute the prosecutor’s case by presenting defenses. Common defenses include:

  • Entitlement to the services. If the defendant was entitled to the services, then there was not theft. For example, if the defendant did in fact pay for the service, then the defendant would have been entitled to the services and there would be no theft.
  • Lack of Intent to steal the services. If the defendant was under the impression that the service was free, or thought that another person had paid for the service, then there would have been no intent to steal the services. For example, friends dining in a restaurant each assumed the other had paid. Both walked out without having paid the bill. Both were arrested and charged with theft of service. They both may avoid conviction using the defense that they assumed the other had paid the bill

Back to Top

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

A misdemeanor or felony conviction for theft of service, will negatively impact your future. You may end up in jail, on probation, and will face fines and fees. You will also end up with a criminal record that may impact your ability to find work. If you are under investigation for theft of services, it is important that you have experienced representation. The skilled criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have more than 2 decades of experience successfully representing clients in New York charged with felonies and misdemeanors. We can help. Contact us at 800.NY.NY.LAW (800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients facing criminal charges in the following locations: Nassau County, Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Suffolk County, Queens, and Westchester County.

Back to Top

Client Reviews
My wife and I met under some unconventional circumstances. After I had some legal problems, Mr Bilkis and his firm continually got me out of trouble. I then had his firm represented my wife and he got her out of trouble! We are still married and got our ways straightened away. We both can't thank him enough for saving our lives and our families! J.P.
I contacted Stephen Bilkis' office for an issue regarding a family member and I could not be happier with the results. I have recommended the firm to friends and family, all of whom were also ecstatic with Mr. Bilkis and all members of his staff. P.R.
I was in need of legal assistance for a very sensitive matter for a family member. I contacted the law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC and was met with staff whose demeanor was supportive, compassionate and professional. The lawyer handling our case had many years of experience and treated us as if we were his own family. Our experience was so good, and we became so close to all of the staff and all of the attorneys who assisted us, that we consider them our extended family and continue to send them our home baked gifts for the holidays. P.A.K.
I hired Stephen Bilkis and Associates to represent me on a legal matter a few months ago and am grateful for their swift action and resolution on my behalf. I was impressed with their professionalism and would recommend them to friends and family in a heartbeat. M.B.