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What is larceny and what are some defense tactics?

| May 21, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

People who face a larceny charge also face unwanted penalties, such as jail time, fines and a criminal record. During a trial, the prosecutor has the main job of proving the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. 

This leaves some room for the defense to place some doubt, and there are multiple ways to do so. 

Larceny definition and stats 

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the definition of larceny (or theft) is the carrying or taking away of property from another’s possession. Larceny can range from shoplifting to the theft of a bicycle. Larceny refers to theft as long as there was not involvement of violence, force or fraud. 

Over the last 10 years, the incidence of larceny decreased. However, it still adds up to a loss of around $6 billion nationally. 

Larceny defense tactics 

According to FindLaw, if the prosecutor cannot prove all elements of a larceny case, there should be an acquittal. If the prosecutor is able to prove the case, the defense still has some options for arguing the charge. One is the defendant had the intent to return the property. 

One defense is that someone, typically a police officer, coerced and entrapped the person into stealing something, when the original intent was not to take anything. Another tactic is to argue that the defendant genuinely believed the property belonged to him or her. 

A defendant may claim that another person used blackmail or other threat to force the theft to occur. There may also be an argument that the original owner of the property gave consent to the defendant to take the item. 


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