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Types of larceny charges and defense strategies

Larceny is a serious crime for many reasons, including the fact that the potential penalties are severe. If you're charged with larceny, it's important to review the details of your case with the idea of implementing the right defense strategy.

There is more than one type of larceny charge in the state of New York:

  • Theft as petit larceny: Categorized as a class A misdemeanor, punishment for a conviction is not to exceed a fine of $1,000 and one year imprisonment.
  • Theft as grand larceny in the fourth degree: If the value of the property is more than $1,000, a motor vehicle, firearm or credit card, the offense is charged as grand larceny in the fourth degree. This carries a punishment of up to four years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
  • Theft as grand larceny in the third degree: If the value of the property is more than $3,000, the offense is grand larceny in the third degree, which is a class D felony. Punishment can include imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine up to $5,000.
  • Theft as grand larceny in the second degree: If the value of the property is greater than $50,000 or is obtained through extortion, second degree grand larceny is typically the charge. This is a class C felony, meaning it carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
  • Theft as larceny in the first degree: As a class B felony, this is the most serious grand larceny charge. A conviction can result in up to 25 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $30,000.

What's the best defense strategy?

Once you understand your charges, turn your attention to the many types of larceny defense strategies. For example:

  • Belief of ownership: If you believe a piece of property is yours, you can't commit larceny by taking it.
  • Belief of right to use: You can argue that the person accusing you of larceny gave you permission to use their property.
  • Entrapment: This occurs when another party, such as a police officer, induces you to commit a crime that you wouldn't have committed under your own power.

These are not the only defense strategies, but they are among the most common. Each one is worth considering if you find yourself facing larceny charges.

For more information on larceny, related crimes and defense strategies, review our website and blog.

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Robert D. DiDio
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