Definition of a Larceny
LARCENY is the taking of another person’s personal, physical property—even temporarily– from their custody without trespassing. Larceny for legal purposes should not be confused with burglary or embezzlement. While all three are forms of “theft”, larceny does not involve “breaking and entering” or computer crimes. To better explain larceny’s specifications in regards to custody and possession,
- Taking a rose from your neighbor’s rose bush is not larceny, but stealing his car would be considered larceny.
- Pulling a necklace off the body of another person with the intention of taking it for yourself is larceny even if the necklace slips from your grasp and the owner retains possession.
- Taking a laptop given to you by your place of employment home for the purpose of keeping it is larceny.
Oftentimes, this offense gets confused with other forms of theft and distinctions must be made during the arraignment and investigation periods in regards to custody, possession, and whether or not the individual was trespassing when the event took place.
Grand Larceny Laws in New York
In New York larceny is defined as the unlawful taking or withholding property from its proper owner. The state legislature and courts have expanded on the statute’s definition of property to include money, real property, computer data, computer program or something of substance of value.
The value of the property stolen is determined by its accepted market value at the time and place of the criminal act or the cost of replacement.
New York statutes qualify eight recognized methods for committing larceny. The first four are:
- Common law larceny by trespassory taking
- Common law larceny by trick
- Obtaining the property under false pretenses.
The second group of four variations include:
The first four types have been historically recognized as larceny and the last group of four are more up-to-date derivatives. If the prosecution cannot demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant used one of the eight methods, a conviction cannot be obtained.
New York distinguishes between petty larceny and grand larceny. Any criminal act of theft of property is petty larceny, a misdemeanor. Petty larceny can be raised to grand larceny depending on the value of the property taken.
Required Proof for Grand Larceny Charges
To successfully get a conviction for larceny, the prosecutor must prove that the individual accused of larceny had the intention to:
- Cause the property to be kept from the owner permanently, or
- Exercise control of the property for such an extended period as to reap the larger portion of the property’s worth.
Grand Larceny Defense
Possible defenses to larceny charges include:
- The owner’s consent
- A claim of right which was made in good faith
- Reasonable belief in truth of threat
- Truth of statement (obtaining property by false pretenses)
Penalties for New York Larceny Conviction
The penalties for larceny varies according to the crime. Petty larceny usually brings a prison term of up to one year, a fine of up to $1000 or both. Grand larceny convictions have stiffer penalties for up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $5000 or double the amount of the accused’s gain from the crime.
Get a Grand Larceny Attorney
There are a lot of myths and misinterpretations about what is larceny. Many people believe that it is necessary for the property to be physically removed from the owner’s property for larceny to be charged. The truth is, the slightest movement of property from its ORIGINAL POSITION with the INTENT TO STEAL is enough to get convicted. Prosecution attorneys run into a problem when it comes to proof. Take this scenario, for example:
A person, in a grocery store, picks up a pack of steaks with the intention of stealing them. The person then changes their put and puts the steaks back into the meat counter. While the crime of larceny has been committed, the prosecutor will have a hard time proving it. If the thief conceals the meat by placing them inside a jacket, the intention is clear.
A good attorney from Bukh Law Firm could still raise reasonable doubt with an innocent, although bizarre, explanation.