Grand Larceny & Petit Larceny

DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN GRAND LARCENY AND PETIT LARCENY IN NEW YORK

Larceny is just a fancy legalese term for "stealing" or "theft." In New York, there are many different types of theft with which a person may be charged. The nature of the larceny charge depends on the type of property taken, where or from whom it is taken, and the value of the property.

The simplest form is Petit Larceny, New York Penal Law § 155.25. A person commits the crime of Petit Larceny when they steal property. This crime has no specifications for the type of property or its value. Petit Larceny is an A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a one year in jail. Shoplifting would be an example of Petit Larceny. Often this crime is charged in conjunction with more serious larceny crimes. Petit Larceny, because it is the simplest of the larceny charges, is the easiest to prove at trial.

Grand Larceny

The second type of Larceny is Grand Larceny. In contrast to Petit Larceny, which is a broad statute, the type and value of the property stolen in Grand Larceny charges is specific. There are four degrees of Grand Larceny. At the most basic level is Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, New York Penal Law § 155.30. This crime covers many different types of theft. The most common types of Grand Larceny in the fourth degree include property that is stolen when:

  1. The value of the property exceeds $1000;

  2. The property consists of a credit or debit card;

  3. The property, regardless of its nature or value is taken from the person of another;

  4. The value of the property exceeds $100 and the property consists of a motor vehicle.

Grand Larceny in the fourth degree is a class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison. This charge applies in situations where expensive property ($1,000 or more) is stolen. It also applies when the property is taken directly from another person, i.e. from their pocket, handbag, or even their hand. This charge is the least serious of all of the felony Grand Larceny charges, and because its requirements are still rather broad it is often charged in addition to a more serious crime. For example, in the majority of robbery cases, Grand Larceny in the fourth degree is also charged. Robbery requires the taking of property from another person with force. Although robbery, even in the lowest degree (Robbery in the Third Degree, NYPL § 160.05) is a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison, it is easier for the prosecution to prove the Grand Larceny charge, because it does not require the element of force.

Grand Larceny in the fourth degree is also applicable in a number of other situations including theft of property that consists of:

  1. Public records, writing or instrument lawfully filed or deposited with a public servant or public office;

  2. Secret scientific material;

  3. Property, regardless of its nature of value, obtained by extortion;

  4. One of more firearms, rifles or shotguns;

  5. A scroll, religious vestment, vessel or other tem comprising a display of religious symbols that has a value of at least $100 and is kept or used in connection with religious worship.

Grand Larceny in the third, second and first degrees are differentiated by the minimum value of the property stolen. Grand Larceny in the third degree, New York Penal Law § 155.35 requires that the property value exceed $3,000. This is a class D felony punishable for up to 7 years in prison. Grand Larceny in the second degree, New York Penal Law §155.40, requires that the property value exceed $50,000. This is a class C felony punishable for up to 15 years prison. Finally, Grand Larceny in the first degree, New York Penal Law § 155.45 requires that the property value exceed $1,000,000. This is a class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

In addition to the specificity requirement for the value of the property stolen in Grand Larceny in the third degree and second degree, there are other thefts that fall under these charges. Property stolen from an ATM machine also constitutes Grand Larceny in the third degree. Property obtained by extortion by threatening to cause future physical injury to another person, property damage or abuse of power by a public servant constitutes Grand Larceny in the second degree.

Call a New York Larceny Attorney Today

Larceny charges range from an A misdemeanor to a B felony - or the possibility of no time in jail to decades. Understanding the type of property involved and the value of the property can be confusing. It is important to hire an attorney familiar with the statutory requirements of each of the larceny charges in order to provide the best defense. If you have been charged with Petit or Grand Larceny, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman today.