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What are the elements of larceny?

Larceny is often broken down into two categories: grand and petit. When lower valued items stolen, it will fall under the crime of petit or petty larceny. When items of higher value are taken, it will fall under the crime of grand larceny.

Larceny is what is known as a crime of specific intent. In other words, the person who takes the property must have the intent of deprive the owner of its enjoyment and use. Because of this specific intent, there is no way that someone could mistakenly commit larceny. Even if someone believes the property is his or hers, they would be lacking the intent of depriving someone else of the property.

Intent is only one element of the crime of larceny. There are three others. These include:

-- Unlawfully taking and carrying away

-- Property belonging to someone else

-- Without the owner of the property giving permission.

In New York, any stealing act is petty larceny, which is a class A misdemeanor crime. If the value of the property is more than $1,000, then the crime is larceny of the fourth-degree. However, if the crime involved taking property from the person of someone else or is obtained through extortion, then the crime is also classified as fourth-degree larceny. First-degree larceny occurs when the property that is stolen is worth more than $1 million.

If you are convicted of petty larceny, you could face a prison term of up to a year and up to a $1,000 fine. Grand larceny has much more serious penalties, such as a prison sentence of four to 25 years and a fine of $5,000 or double the amount the defendant gained from committing the larceny -- whichever is greater.

Presenting a strong defense is important when you are charged with the crime of larceny in New York. Theft charges can make it difficult to get a job, an apartment or even go to school. An attorney can give you more advice regarding building a strong defense.

Source: FindLaw, "Definition of Larceny," accessed Feb. 03, 2016

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