Criminal Law, Pages 438–440

Penley v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia, 2008

Facts:

Defendant was discovered to have an illegal power meter on his house after his power was turned off. He asked the power company employee to leave it in place, but the employee refused, had the power cut off, and called the police. Defendant was arrested and found to have used $82.29 of power after his service was cut off and to have incurred over $155.27 in other fees, mostly relating to disconnecting the illegal meter.

Procedural History:

Defendant was convicted of obtaining utility service by fraud.

Defendant's Argument:

Defendant only used $82.29 of power, not over $200 as the statute requires.

Issue:

Can costs be included in the value of service provided?

Reasoning:

The value of services provided is measured at the time the services were taken. These costs could not be calculated when the power was taken and thus must be excluded.

Rule/Holding:

Costs must be excluded form the value of services provided.

Judgment:

Reversed.

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