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Theft of Services

A theft of service has a broad definition that can include or encompass many crimes and therefore, defenses. A theft of service can be someone who is knowingly avoiding payment for services they have already obtained. Theft of service is defined by Massachusetts state law, these laws vary by state, but generally they are defined by the crime as knowingly securing the performance of a service by deception or threat, diverting another's services to the actor's own benefit, or holding personal property beyond the expiration of rental period without consent of the owner. Authorities may assume that there is intent to avoid payment that they may assume under certain circumstances, such as failure to pay for an applicable rental charge within the required time period. Many states classify the crime as a misdemeanor or felony according to the value of the services that were stolen.

In the Commonwealth, the law requires that in order to find a defendant guilty, the prosecutor must be able to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

(a) A person commits theft of services if

  1. the person obtains services, known by that person to be available only for compensation, by deception, force, threat, or other means to avoid payment for the services;
  2. having control over the disposition of services of others to which the person is not entitled, the person knowingly diverts those services to the person's own benefit or to the benefit of another not entitled to them; or
  3. the person obtains the use of computer time, a computer system, a computer program, a computer network, or any part of a computer system or network, with reckless disregard that the use by that person is unauthorized.

(b) Absconding without paying for hotel, restaurant, or other services for which compensation is customarily paid immediately upon the receiving of them is prima facie evidence that the services were obtained by deception.

c) A person may be prosecuted for theft of cable, pay television or other telecommunications services.

Massachusetts thefts of service cases require the skill of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. It is easy for innocent people to be charged with this crime if they simply forget to pay for a service or don’t realize that they need to pay for the service. For example, if the defendant is in a service contract and they misread the contract’s payment plan they can potentially be charged with this crime.

Boston, Massachusetts Theft of Services Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney

Courts view theft crimes seriously since the true costs of the thefts are often borne by other consumers in the form of higher premiums. In Massachusetts, therefore it is crucial that you obtain the best legal counsel when facing a charge such as Theft of Services. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has nineteen years of successful experience defending clients facing an array of theft related property crimes. Attorney Murphy is a highly resourceful and intelligent Boston-area defense attorney who has built a successful and reputable career vigorously defending his clients. For a free and confidential legal analysis, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy by calling (617) 367-0450 or submitting the online contact form directly to Attorney Murphy.

Client Reviews
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"Highly Recommended. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy absolutely helped me out in my time of need. When I met him in his Boston office he put me right at ease and explained the criminal process to me in a way I could easily understand and in a manner that gave me complete confidence. I was facing a criminal wanton destruction of property charge in Barnstable District Court. On the day of the case, he was at the courthouse waiting for me and my wife. Mr. Murphy handled the hearing in a very thorough and professional manner putting us through our testimony and making a powerful argument to the decision maker. My case was thrown out and I could not be happier with the service from Attorney Murphy. I highly recommend him to you as a skilled legal advocate!" Rob, Avvo User
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"Excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer. From the first consultation I knew Patrick Murphy was the right choice for my criminal defense. He was knowledgeable of the laws and knew how to build up a strong defense for my case. Every phone call and email I made was promptly answered. When it came time for my hearing, Patrick was prepared and able to get the criminal complaint against me dropped without ever becoming charge! Would highly recommend this attorney to anyone seeking a top quality defense attorney to handle their case!" John, Avvo User
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"OUI Not Guilty Verdict. Patrick Murphy provided excellent service as council on my case. He worked diligently over a long legal process that spanned over 3 years. He was able to take my case to a Jury Trial and get me a Not Guilty verdict through he expert knowledge of the law and expertise in cross examination of the prosecutions witnesses. He was very professional and available at anytime night or day to answer questions." Chris, Avvo User
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"Highly Skilled and Professional Lawyer. Attorney Pat Murphy did a great job guiding me through an A&B charge, and most importantly getting the case dismissed in a very timely manner. He is very professional, returns call promptly, and did a great explaining his strategy and the legal process to me. I was confident throughout the whole process that I was in good hands and would receive the best possible outcome in my case. Would highly recommended Attorney Murphy." Avvo User
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"I Felt That I was in Good Hands... and I Was! Mr. Patrick J. Murphy was very quick to respond to my needs. He was always there to answer any questions I had in a timely fashion, and he made me feel very comfortable in an extremely uncomfortable situation. Having Mr. Murphy by my side in the courtroom felt like I was at an advantage. He speaks with confidence. He doesn't stutter or pause while put on the spot. He treated me with respect. He listens. He always greeted me with a warm welcome and never wasted any time." Avvo User