The Crime of "Defrauding an Innkeeper"

The Crime of "Defrauding an Innkeeper"

The term of “defrauding an innkeeper” refers to not paying after eating at restaurants or drinks at bars, buying fuel at gas stations, or staying at hotels or motels. While it may seem like a minor “prank,” it’s a serious crime that can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or felony, some of which carry jail sentences.

Definition of “Defrauding an Innkeeper”

The definition of “defrauding an Innkeeper” today also includes the Internet and the use of expired or stolen credit cards. The practice commonly involves leaving a hotel and not paying for the room and such services as pay-per-view movies, extra nights, or room service, as well as attempting to receive credit for future services without actually earning it. A favorite way to defraud an innkeeper is leaving a restaurant or bar without paying. These, and similar crimes, are theft offenses and violate California Penal Code Section 537(a) or 537(b).

Penalties for “Defrauding an Innkeeper”

Like other theft crimes, “defrauding an innkeeper” is a violation of California Penal Code Sections 537(a) and 537(b), and can be charged as petty theft or grand theft depending on the loss value of goods or services the victim suffers.

If the value taken is less than or equal to $950, its a misdemeanor petty theft charge which carries a fine up to $1,000, plus penalties and up to $4,000 that can be added to the total assessment of the loss. There is also up to six months maximum time in county jail. If convicted of petty theft, the court may also require the defendant to pay the victim’s court fines and compensate them for their losses.

If the value taken of over $950, it would be grand theft and could be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on other factors. If the person committing the crime has a previous history of the same offense, they would likely be charged with felony grand theft which has a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison. If the charge is misdemeanor grand theft, the sentence would be up to a year in county jail.

If you have been accused of defrauding an innkeeper you need the expert knowledge of a theft attorney such as Sevens Legal Criminal Lawyers. Contact Sevens Legal Criminal Lawyers, today for a free consultation.

Sevens Legal Criminal Lawyers

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