Theft and Larceny Crimes

Generally Speaking, in New York State, theft and larceny crimes are divided into two categories depending if the crime is a misdemeanor or felony offence. If the crime is charged as a misdemeanor offence, the District Attorney’s office will probably prosecute the case as Petit Larceny coded under New York Penal Law 155.25 and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree coded under New York Penal Law 165.40. Both offences are at times interchangeable as both are punishable of up to one year of incarceration. However, they are distinct in that petit larceny is acknowledged as a wrongful taking while criminal possession is the possession of the stolen property regardless of whether the defendant was observed taking of the property.

In comparison, Grand Larceny in the Fourth to First Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth to First Degree are considered felony offences and are considered serious crimes. These crimes are categorized by the value of the purported stolen property. What also distinguishes these theft and larceny crimes from their misdemeanor counterparts are the length of prison time a defendant can be sentenced to. The lowest of felony theft crimes are punishable by up to four years of incarceration and defendants charged with the most serious felony larceny offense can be sentenced of upward of 25 years.

Main Categories of Theft Crimes

Petit Larceny is the unlawful taking of property or services that has a value of $1000 or under. New York classifies petit larceny as a Class A misdemeanor. Defendants convicted of a Class A misdemeanor may face incarceration for a year and be fined $1,000. See York Penal Law § 155.25, § 70.15, § 80.05(1).

Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree can be charge if the property or services stolen is valued at more than $1,000 — or if the property stolen is a motor vehicle, firearm, credit/debit card, and other types of property. New York considers this offence a Class E Felony. Conviction of a Class E felony may have a potential sentence of imprisonment for a period not to exceed four years, and a fine not to exceed the greater of $5,000 or double the amount of the defendant’s gain from the theft. See New York Penal Law § 155.30, Penal Law § 70.00(2)(e), § 80.00(1).

Grand Larceny in the Third Degree can be charged if the value of the property or services stolen exceeds $3,000 — or if the property is an automated teller machine or its contents. New York classifies this offence as a Class D Felony. Defendant’s convicted of a class D felony may be incarcerated for a period not to exceed seven years, and a fine not to exceed the greater of $5,000 or double the amount of the defendant’s gain from the theft. See New York Penal Law § 155.35, Penal Law § 70.00(2)(d), § 80.00(1).

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree can be charged if the value of the property or services stolen exceeds $50,000, or if the defendant obtains the property through certain types of extortion. New York considers this a Class C Felony. If convicted, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 15 years, and a fine not to exceed $15,000. See Penal Law § 155.40, Penal Law § 70.00(2)(c), § 80.00(1).

Grand Larceny in the First Degree can be charged if the value of the property or services stolen exceeds one million dollars. New York considers this a Class B Felony. If convicted, defendants may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 25 years, and a fine not to exceed $30,000. See New York Penal Law § 155.42, Penal Law §70.00(2)(b), § 80.00(1).

The prosecution of theft and larceny crimes are serious matters that require experienced legal representation and a proper attention to detail in order to navigate the often times confusing legal system. The Kushner Law group has had years of experience defending our client’s rights and we are here to help you better understand your options.


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