Public utilities and various other types of services governed by a company are off limits to most people. Tampering with them or trying to gain access to them without permission is simply not allowed. New York Code 145.15 deal specifically with this violation of the law. If you are accused with tampering with electric, gas, water, or sewer lines you could be charged with criminal tampering in the second degree
An Explanation of Criminal Tampering in the Second Degree in New York
Criminal tampering is generally taken to refer to an individual that attempts to alter or make an illegal connection with the following types of companies or public utility lines: Gas, electric, sewer, steam, water works, telephone, telegraph, a common carrier, a nuclear powered electric generating facility, or a public utility that is financed and operated by a local municipality or district. Many people might decide to tamper with such lines in order to gain free or cheap access to necessary utilities throughout the New York area. Now only does this compromise the integrity and safety of the overall system, it also contributes to decreased revenue for the city. As such, criminal tampering the second degree in New York is a serious charge. While it is a class A misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail, while a probation term of 3 years is also possible. Because of this, you need to retain the services of a NYC criminal attorney right away upon being charged with this crime.
Example of Criminal Tampering in the Second Degree
There have been cases throughout New York where an electric power company found jumper cables in the meter box of various residents. Because of the jumper cables, an estimated 10 percent of the total electric flowing to the home actually bypassed the meter altogether. Because of this, the resident enjoys a reduced power bill as a result of the jumper cables being present, which is a direct affront to the integrity of the entire electrical system in New York. Once discovered, the individual could face a charge of criminal tampering in the second degree. Other charges, such as theft of services and petit larceny are possible as well. Again, as soon as you are charged with such a crime it is important to consult with a NYC criminal attorney. You have rights and they need to be protected through the process.
Possible Defenses to Criminal Tampering in the Second Degree
It is quite possible that you were unaware that the tampering you are accused of perpetuating was actually taking place. If that can be proven, your innocence can be established. In fact, the prosecutor needs to prove that the accused was aware of the tampering in order to gain a conviction. It is also possible that the tampering device, such as the jumper cables mentioned in the example, were installed by a previous tenant. If that is the case, the current occupant cannot be held responsible. In order for this particular charge to stick, prosecutors need to establish intent. It is up to NYC criminal attorneys to establish that such intent did not exist and that any tampering was the result of the actions of another person.
Keep in mind that sentence for criminal tampering in the second degree, while not severe, can have a pronounced and negative impact on your livelihood. You need to have a criminal lawyer on your side that understands how to establish your innocence and get the charges dropped.