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Damaging Phone, Electrical or Utility Lines

July 21, 2016

Damaging Phone, Electrical or Utility Lines

It is a Crime to Damage Utility Lines?

It is against the New York penal code to intentionally and maliciously disconnect, damage, or block utility wires or any related equipment. It is also against the law to damage this equipment in service of another crime. This statute is usually applied in burglary cases or domestic violence cases.

What is the Definition of “Cutting” and “Damaging?”

Cutting and damaging have specific legal definitions. Generally, a person is considered to have cut or damaged utility wires if they have: Taken down, removed, injured, disconnected, severed or obstructed a phone, electrical, or utility line of any type or equipment connected with such a line in an unlawful and malicious manner. As previously mentioned, many cases of this type are domestic violence or burglary cases. However, some cases are related to people siphoning electricity from the grid without paying for it. This practice is not only illegal, it can be dangerous to the person doing it and anyone who has to deal with their crime.

What are the Penalties for Damaging Electrical or Telephone Wires?

In most jurisdictions, damaging utility wires can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how the prosecutor chooses to approach the case. The prosecutor’s choice depends on a variety of factors, most commonly the amount of damage done, the alleged motive, and the defendant’s criminal history. Often, the case will be prosecuted as a felony and pleaded down to a misdemeanor. Conviction of a misdemeanor in this category can technically result in jail time, but it is more common to see a fine and a few months of probation. Conviction of a felony in this category usually results in jail time, probation, and a large fine.

There are many legal defenses against these charges. Which one the defense uses depends on the case and on the way it’s being prosecuted. One of the most common defenses for this type of crime is the legal defense of accident. This defense states that the plaintiff did not act maliciously. Even if the plaintiff is legally negligent, this is not enough to result in a conviction. The prosecution has to prove malicious intent, which is very difficult to do. The defense generally has a good chance of acquittal with this sort of case. While being legally negligent can result in a negative outcome in a civil case, we handle criminal defense cases.

If you are in the New York City area and require legal assistance for any kind of criminal case, we’d be happy to help. You can contact us any time via email or phone. We have a team of attorneys that will strive to provide you with the best legal assistance you can possibly get. All of our attorneys have law degrees from ABA accredited law schools, and all of our attorneys have been admitted to the New York bar.



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