I often get asked, what do I do if I’m charged with theft? What are the penalties for someone charged with theft or larceny?
Because there are many different types of theft charges, the penalties can vary depending on your unique situation.
Generally speaking in New York, the law bases your charges on what kind of property was stolen, how much the property is worth, and where it originated from. Here, we’ll discuss some common larceny charges, but when we talk about theft, you should also be aware that if violence was used in the commission of the crime, or if you steal something from a business or a residence, it’s possible that you could also be charged with Robbery and/or Burglary.
New York’s larceny laws
A theft occurs when you take, obtain, or withhold property without the legal owner’s permission or authority do so. Oftentimes in theft cases this leads to a discussion about what property is, and who the legal owner – or custodian – of the property is. The legal definition of property includes many different items, such as money, physical items, computer programs or data, substances or anything else that has monetary value.
The law states you deprive another of a property when you wrongfully withhold, dispose of or take it. The state of New York specifies various ways of committing theft, including:
- Issuing a bad check
- Acquiring lost property
- Making false promises
- Misappropriating funds through embezzlement
- Using extortion to gain property
Grand larceny classifications
Your charge may be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the incident in question. You may face penalties anywhere from fourth to first degree. The law bases grand larceny charges mainly on the value of the stolen property:
- First degree: property worth more than $1 million
- Second degree: property valued between $50,000 and $1 million
- Third degree: property stolen in amounts between $3,000 and $50,000
- Fourth degree: pilfered items valued between $1,000 and $3,000
- Petit larceny: stolen belongings worth $1,000 or less
Grand larceny charges are serious crimes with severe penalties. If officers charge you with theft, you must thoroughly understand the charges, the laws and your rights to develop a solid defense. It is vital to know how to review and assess the details of your case to determine if the charges are appropriate, what your legal options are and how to present your case in court.