What is Theft of Services, and what are the potential consequences of such a charge?
If someone makes use of the transit system without paying, or by using a MetroCard in an unauthorized manner, they are typically arrested and charged with the crime of Theft of Services. Every year, over 10,000 New Yorkers are arrested for this crime. While it may seem like a petty offense, in fact, anyone arrested for jumping the turnstile in New York faces up to a year in jail, up to three years of probation, and the possibility of having a criminal record for the rest of one’s life.
The official charges is Theft of Services, charged under New York Penal Law Section 160.15 In addition to jumping the turnstile, a charge of Theft of Services can arise from any other related activity, such as using another’s MetroCard, using a student MetroCard intended for another, using a bent MetroCard, or for buying or selling “swipes.”
Given the potential consequences, anyone facing a charge of Theft of Services, or turnstile jumping, should take this matter extremely seriously. Too often, those charged with even misdemeanors fail to speak with or retain a competent and experienced attorney to assist them in fighting these charges. As a result, people end up entering into a plea agreement without having any idea of the ramifications.
Should you hire an experienced attorney to handle such a charge?
Having the right attorney can spell the difference between getting the charges dismissed versus going to jail and getting a criminal record. The ramifications go well beyond the criminal justice system—a variety of professional licenses are at risk when someone is charged with this crime. Teachers, financial services employees, and others whose professions require any form of government-issued licenses may face severe consequences as a result of this charge. In addition, there may be immigration consequences for those who are not US citizens.
The right attorney often can get the case dismissed on the first court date
The right attorney will often be able to get the case dismissed with just one court appearance. An experienced attorney may be able to spot defects in the police paperwork that result in an outright dismissal of all charges, or allow the person charged to avoid even community service.
Our firm has extensive experience with Theft of Services and related charges—and in many cases we have been able to get the charges quickly dismissed. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of criminal matters, from the highest level felonies to the lowest level misdemeanors.
You will not get lost in the shuffle
As a small firm, we make sure every client receives personalized attention at every step of the process. We realize that even for a seemingly minor offense, the consequences can be extremely serious. Contact us today at 212-828-2770 or by filling out our contact form for a free consultation.