Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. As the
commenter below pointed out the matters are addressed by New York
State Penal Law § 165.15. However the statute addresses each situation
differently depending on the circumstances.
Failure to pay a taxi bill falls specifically under New York State
Penal Law § 165.15(3)
3. With 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;
The operative word here is ?intent?. If the person received this
service with the INTENT of depriving the driver payment in full, a
criminal offense has occurred under the law. If there is no ?intent?
to commit the offense (the rider lost his wallet, his credit card was
unknowingly cancelled, etc) the matter is not criminal as I interpret
the statute, rather it is civil.
As for the restaurant bill, the issue is addressed specifically in New
York State Penal Law § 165.15(2)
2. With intent to avoid payment for restaurant services rendered, or
for services rendered to him as a transient guest at a 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. A person who fails or refuses to pay for such
services is presumed to have intended to avoid payment therefor.
Again, the operative word here is ?intent?. If the person received
this service with the INTENT to deprive the server due payment in
full, a criminal offense has occurred under the law. Otherwise, if
there is no ?intent? to commit the offense (and non-payment is the
result of some unfortunate oversight or occurrence; the guest lost his
money, credit card, etc) the matter is not criminal in my estimation,
it is a civil matter.
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advice (see our disclaimer below) I have the obligation to recommend
that you consult an attorney for the best advice on this matter.
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Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
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