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The Basics of Shoplifting Laws in New York

| Jan 26, 2017 | Theft & Property Crimes |

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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