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The Basics of Shoplifting Laws in New York

If you or someone you know has been charged with a shoplifting crime in the state of New York, there are certain basic concepts that you should be familiar with as your case moves forward.

A shoplifting crime can also be known as theft or larceny. The prosecutor could change this to a commercial burglary charge if, for example, evidence was found that you used special tools to disarm sensors or to open packages. This is important to know because all burglary charges come with felony penalties.

The table below shows the different charges and penalties for larceny charges. Note the differences in charge class, type of incarceration, and financial penalties between petit larceny and grand larceny:

Charge Type

Charge Class

Value of Items Taken

Possible Jail or Prison Time

Fines

Petit larceny

Class A misdemeanor

Up to $1000

Up to one year in jail

A fine of up to $1000

Fourth degree grand larceny

Class E felony

From $1000 to $3000

Up to four years in prison

A fine not to exceed $5000 or 2x the offender's gain from the shoplifting, whichever is greater

Third degree grand larceny

Class D felony

From $3000 to $5000

Up to seven years in prison

Second degree grand larceny

Class C felony

From $50000 to

$1 million

Up to 15 years in prison

First degree grand larceny

Class B felony

$1 million +

Up to 25 years in prison

Whether you've been charged with petit or grand larceny, you may also be facing some civil liability to the merchant, who can file a separate civil suit against you for the merchandise's retail value. You may refer to New York General Obligations Law § 11-105 for further details.

A shoplifting or other type of theft charge is one to be taken seriously, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. To have a better understanding of how to proceed in your theft or larceny case, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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Robert D. DiDio
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