Articles Posted in Theft of Services

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O-1 visas are granted to individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (O-1A), as well as those with a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry, and who have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements (O-1B). O-2 visas are granted to those who accompany O-1’s for the purpose of assisting them in a specific event or performance. USCIC requires an O-2 play an “integral” role in the assistance of an O-1A’a activity, or provide “essential” assistance to the completion of an O-1B’s production. O-3 visas are granted to spouses or children of O-1 and O-2 holders. All three types of visas are usually granted for a period of up to three years, after which they may be extended in one-year increments, without limitation.

As in the case of any non-citizen, the stakes are higher for O-1, O-2 and O-3 visa holders who are arrested because they face the risk of visa revocation on top of any sentence which is authorized for the crime they’ve been arrested for. For this reason, our lawyers are extraordinarily diligent in their representation of visa holders (as well as non-citizens in general), where a great deal of effort must be placed on crafting dispositions with an eye towards preserving our clients' immigration status. In addition to being accomplished trial litigators, our attorneys are also top-notch negotiators who have secured many dismissals and non-criminal dispositions for our clients. Specifically, the attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone have represented countless visa-holders with an impeccable record of success. For all of these reasons, it is imperative for any non-citizen who has been arrested (even given a Desk Appearance Ticket) to contact us as early in the process as possible. Even those charged with seemingly “minor” misdemeanors need to be diligent, for example, those charged with: Theft of Services (PL 165.15), Petit Larceny (PL 155.25), Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree (PL 220.03), Criminal Mischief (PL 145.00), Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (PL 221.10), Assault in the Third Degree (PL 120.00), and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (PL 265.01).

Keep in mind, U.S. visa posts routinely perform criminal background checks on visa applicants, which can lead to devastating consequences for those who don't navigate the system properly, including, but not limited to, initiation of removal proceedings. For a myriad of reasons, it is critical for any O-1, O-2 or O-3 visa holder to contact an experienced attorney who understands the delicate nuances and immigration consequences posed in each of these cases. To be sure, the lawyers at Galluzzo & Arnone have successfully represented O-1 visa holder with great success. If you or a loved are faced with a criminal prosecution, contact our attorneys without delay.

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New York City owes much of its energy and excellence to the foreign citizens living and working here. Unfortunately, a visa or green card holder's right to remain in the United States can be seriously jeopardized by a Desk Appearance Ticket, even when the charges are comparatively minor misdemeanors. Many visa holders fail to take these arrests sufficiently seriously because the charges seem minor (like marijuana or subway fare theft) or because the arresting officer tells them "it's no big deal." Truthfully, though, career, educational, and family plans can be completely devastated by even a minor case of walking through the subway gate without paying, so it is absolutely critical that a foreign person arrested and issued a Desk Appearance Ticket retain competent counsel immediately.

In many ways, a Desk Appearance Ticket does not feel like such a big deal. The arrested person is usually handcuffed and taken to a police station where they are fingerprinted. They typically wait a few hours in a holding cell until they are given a piece of paper telling them the date and location of their appearance in court. Before Desk Appearance Tickets became routine, criminal defendants could expect to get "sent downtown" and spend the night in jail before seeing a judge. Obviously, Desk Appearance Tickets are preferable for criminal defendants because they spend less time in custody and also have the opportunity to choose counsel for themselves prior to going to court.

Make no mistake, however: the issuance of a Desk Appearance Ticket is in fact an arrest – it is not "just a ticket". More importantly for visa holders, this event is not going to "fly under the radar" with the immigration agencies. If you were arrested and given a Desk Appearance Ticket, your fingerprints and the arrest charges have been sent to a New York state agency (the Division of Criminal Justice Services) and to the FBI, which maintains a federal nationwide law enforcement database of all arrest events across the United States (the Interstate Identification Index). Visa and green card holders should understand that the immigration agencies, in processing visa renewal requests, access this database to investigate whether the visa applicant has an arrest record. Indeed, some visa holders actually receive emails from Department of Homeland Security (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) agents after their arrests, because the agency was notified of the arrest via the fingerprint database.

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One of the great things about living in (and visiting) New York City is the amazing nightlife. The city is home to some of the best nightclubs and bars in the world, including places in the Meatpacking District like Tenjune, 1Oak, The Griffin, Gaslight, Beaumarchais, the Standard (The Top of the Standard and Le Bain),as well as other clubs throughout Manhattan, such as Lavo, Santos Party House, Provocateur, Output, the Jane Hotel, Mehanata, Verboten, Cielo, Webster Hall, the Pyramid Club, the 40/40 Club, and the Marquee, among countless others. Unfortunately, arrests for theft, assault, sexual assault, and drugs are common at these sorts of establishments, and some unfortunate people aresaddled with more than just a hangover after a night partying at these places.

The attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented dozens of people arrested at nightclubs and bars throughout the city, and our experience as prosecutors and defense attorneys has taught us that certain types of cases are quite common. Through our experience on both sides we have also learned that these types of cases present unique challenges and opportunities for defense attorneys, and have learned how to best take advantage of the unique circumstances that these cases often present.

Arrests for theft-related charges are quite typical at NYC nightclubs and bars. Failing to pay a bar tab at a nightclub – where bottle services can cost thousands of dollars – can result in an arrest for Theft of Services (Penal Law Section 165.15), a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. We find that oftentimes the nightclubs are attempting to make outrageous and inflated charges and the patron is simply disputing those charges when being arrested. We have defended other individuals that were arrested before they could straighten out security checks imposed by their credit card companies. Typically, these cases can be resolved with non-criminal dispositions and payment for the services, and we have done that for many of our clients.

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One of the great things about New York City is that a fun night of partying can be had relatively safely because taxis are so readily available to drive residents home. The proliferation of Uber has also made it easier for people without cash on hand to get a ride home after a night of drinking. However, sometimes, people having a good time in the city get into taxis without realizing that they don’t have any way of paying for the taxi – either they don’t have enough cash on hand or they have forgotten their wallet at the bar. It is a common and honest mistake made time and again by law-abiding citizens and professionals in New York City. What is surprising to most people, however, is that this mistake routinely results in a criminal arrest that can have serious immigration and job consequences for the person that made the innocent mistake.

Though it seems like a simple and small matter that ought to be handled civilly, taxi drivers typically will call police or drive their passengers to police precincts for arrest. There, police officers will typically arrest the passengers and fingerprint them and give them Desk Appearance Tickets charging them with one count of Theft of Services, a class A misdemeanor in violation of Penal Law Section 165.15 (PL 165.15). Recently, the stepdaughter of Attorney General Loretta Lynch was arrested for this mistake (though the arrest was ultimately voided when her boyfriend came to the precinct and paid her fare), and the attorneys at Galluzzo & Arnone LLP have represented dozens of people charged criminally under this scenario.

A conviction for a misdemeanor gives a person a permanent criminal record and potentially carries a maximum jail sentence of one year. However, this is not a typical result for most individuals arrested and charged with Theft of Services (PL 165.15). It should be noted that a person is only guilty of this crime if he or she intends to withhold payment for taxi services – in most of these cases, the failure to pay is an accident, and not intentional. That being said, the arrest itself can have serious consequences for some professionals and non-citizens.

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Individuals without criminal records arrested for misdemeanors in New York City are routinely charged by way of a Desk Appearance Ticket. Though individuals issued Desk Appearance Ticket do not spend twenty-four hours in prison awaiting arraignment like other defendants, their cases are no less serious than those misdemeanor cases pursued the “traditional” way (in which defendants do not get released from custody until they are arraigned before a judge the day after their arrests). One of the advantages for defendants issued Desk Appearance Tickets (as opposed to the “traditional way”) is that they have an opportunity to seek counsel of their choosing for their arraignments. As a result, the attorney-authors of this blog are routinely asked: “Should I hire an attorney for my Desk Appearance Ticket?” Our typical answer: only if you care about your future, your career, or your family.

Public defenders are available for indigent defendants at arraignments on Desk Appearance Tickets. However, if you are not indigent, then you do not qualify for a public defender, meaning that you will have to return with a privately-retained lawyer anyway. Even if you do qualify, technically, for a public defender, you should consider various other reasons for hiring a private attorney. First and foremost, you will be unable to speak to a public defender in advance of your court date, whereas a private defense attorney can meet with you and prepare you and answer your questions in advance of your court date. Also, defendants with private attorneys are usually seen by the judge first and can typically leave before 10:30 am; those people relying on public defenders may find themselves waiting in line all day to talk to an attorney, and waiting to see a judge well into the afternoon session. If your case lasts beyond the arraignment, you may find it extremely difficult to get ahold of a public defender, as they are typically responsible for hundreds of criminal cases at a given moment and are often unable to respond to voicemails; in contrast, a private lawyer presumably has more time to answer your phone calls and questions and meet with you in the office. The private attorneys at our office, unlike public defenders, will continue to work on your case after its done to ensure that where, if applicable, the records of your arrest have been properly sealed and the matter cleared from the public domain. Finally, the attorneys at our office, unlike public defenders, can sometimes in certain types of cases assist out-of-state residents, students, or foreign citizens by appearing for them in lieu of personal appearances.

Most importantly, though, these matters are important and must be taken seriously. A criminal conviction – even for a misdemeanor – can create permanent obstacles to employment, naturalization, university admission, and more. There is no expungement of criminal convictions in New York, so a criminal conviction for even a misdemeanor is a permanent matter of public record and can haunt a person for the rest of his or her life. FINRA-licensed brokers can unwittingly jeopardize their careers in seemingly trivial matters, and non-citizens can prevent themselves from being able to stay in the United States in accepting a disposition that seems otherwise reasonable. These are mistakes that can be avoided with the advice of good and prepared counsel.

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The short answer to the question above is: probably, but maybe not. If you have been issued a Desk Appearance Ticket in New York City, the chances are that your case is an unusual misdemeanor that required some investigation by the prosecutor, or you are first-time offender charged with shoplifting, theft of services (like jumping a turnstile, for example), marijuana possession in public, orlow-level possession of a controlled substance. If your case falls into the latter category (shoplifting [Penal Law 155.25], theft of services [Penal Law 165.15], marijuana possession in public [Penal Law 221.10], or low-level drug possession [Penal Law 220.03]), and you have a genuine hardship in appearing (say, you live in a far-away state or a foreign country), you may be able to give an affidavit to an attorney authorizing him to appear on your behalf and accept a pre-arranged disposition on your behalf. This is only true in some counties and in certain types of cases and needs to be arranged with the prosecutor in advance.

If you or a loved one have been given a Desk Appearance Ticket, you should contact experienced Desk Appearance Ticket attorneys who routinely handle a wide variety of Desk Appearance Tickets and have represented countless clients from out-of-state and foreign countries faced with the prospect of long and expensive trips for the sake of quick appearances in court on minor charges. If you are unable to appear in court for your arraignment because of the distance or hardship, they may be able to help you.

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The arrest of a friend or loved one often happens unexpectedly. The majority of New Yorkers do not have any experience with the criminal justice system and are often thrust into a position of having to deal with the possibility of bail being set. This post will explain a few factors that go into a judge’s decision as to whether to set bail, explain what steps should be taken immediately before the arrested person sees the judge, and finally, if bail is set, will explain the basic process.

First of all, the question may arise, “What is bail?” Bail is simply a condition set forth by the Court that the defendant must first comply with before he can be released from the custody of the New York City Department of Corrections. In most cases, that would be an amount of money designated by the judge in either cash or bond. The difference between these two methods of bail will be explained later.

It should be noted that in the case of many first-time offenders, no bail will be set at all. This is because the purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant returns to court to answer for the charges. Contrary to popular belief, bail is not supposed to be “preventative detention,” or a way to prevent people from committing future crimes. Thus, if a defendant is an otherwise law-abiding citizen, and the charge is not serious enough to warrant bail, a judge may simply release him or her on their own recognizance. This is sometimes called “ROR.” In other cases, however, a judge may determine that a certain amount of bail is appropriate even for a first time offender. The criteria that the judge will consider is set forth in the Criminal Procedure Law:

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A very common arrest charge in New York City is Theft of Services, a Class A misdemeanor under Penal Law Section 165.15. In fact, the Wall Street Journal published an article on June 25, 2012 on the rise in “farebeat” cases. The offense itself is punishable by up to one year in jail. Sometimes people get arrested for this crime and have to spend a night in jail, and sometimes they just receive a Desk Appearance Ticket, or DAT, which allows them to come back to court on another date without having to go through Central Booking.

There are eleven different subsections in Penal Law Section 165.15, meaning that it is possible to commit this crime in a wide variety of ways. By far the two most common type of arrests stem from subsections (2) and (3), however. Subsection 2 states that a person is guilty of Theft of Services when, “[w]ith intent to avoid payment for restaurant services rendered, or for services rendered to him as a transient guest at hotel, motel, inn, tourist cabin, rooming house or comparable establishment, he avoids or attempts to avoid such payment by unjustifiable failure or refusal to pay, by stealth, or by any misrepresentation of fact which he knows to be false.” Thus, a person who intentionally skips out on a restaurant or hotel bill can be arrested and convicted and sentenced to up to one year in prison. Plea bargains are common in these types of cases, however, where the accused agrees to pay back the money owed. Interestingly, though, there is no “aggravated theft of services” charge, meaning that even if the hotel bill is in the tens of thousands of dollars, the worst possible crime that can be charged is an A misdemeanor, generally speaking. In short, the Grand Larceny statutes in Penal Law Chapter 155 do not apply to restaurant or hotel services. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why “dining and dashing” is supposedly on the rise at swanky restaurants in New York City.

Subsection 3 states that a person is guilty of theft of services when “[w]ith intent to obtain railroad, subway, bus, air, taxi or any other public transportation service without payment of the lawful charge therefor, or to avoid payment of the lawful charge for such transportation service which has been rendered to him, he obtains or attempts to obtain such service or avoids or attempts to avoid payment therefor by force, intimidation, stealth, deception or mechanical tampering, or by unjustifiable failure or refusal to pay.”