New York Felony Theft Lawyer

Any allegation of a theft in New York is a serious matter. A conviction on theft charges of any kind carries the possibility of a jail term and heavy fines. 

Regardless of the value of the item or items stolen, a conviction could count on a person’s criminal record. If the items stolen are worth no less than $1,000, or the act meets other statutory definitions, the crime may become a felony.

Any person facing allegations of theft should speak with a New York felony theft lawyer. A skilled theft attorney works to construct a strong defense and handles cases in a discreet but aggressive manner.

What Constitutes Theft in New York?

New York Penal Law dedicates an entire article to the definitions and penalties for theft. New York Penal Law §155.05 defines larceny as a person taking or withholding the property of another person with the intent to deprive them of its use.

The most straightforward example of this is a person taking items from another’s home. However, other examples of criminal larceny may include issuing a bad check, holding property as leverage in an extortion scheme, acquiring lost property with the knowledge that another person is looking for it, or tricking another person into transferring property into the control of another under false pretenses.

It should be noted that a person honestly believing that property belonged to them can, under certain circumstances, be considered an acceptable defense against charges of larceny. 

What Makes Theft a Felony Offense?

As a New York felony theft lawyer has seen, theft that rises to the level of a felony is referred to as grand larceny, which itself encompasses multiple charges of various severities. New York Penal Law §155.30 defines the least severe form—grand larceny in the fourth degree, a class E felony—as the theft of property whose total value is between $1,000 and $3,000. This law also covers items of a less tangible value such as:

  • A credit or debit card
  • Any firearm
  • Any public record
  • A motor vehicle
  • A religious item

New York Penal Law defines grand larceny in the third, second, and first degree, respectively. These charges may involve the theft of property worth more than $3,000, theft from an ATM, or theft by extortion, and range in severity from Class D to Class B felonies depending on the amount stolen and the methods used. Potential punishments can include multi-year jail terms, with mandatory minimums being applicable in some cases.

Consulting a New York Felony Theft Attorney

New York criminal courts treat all theft-related charges very seriously. An offense could result in potential jail time, even for less serious crimes. Additionally, a criminal record can affect your access to certain jobs, housing, and civil liberties and privileges. 

An attorney may be able to help prevent this from happening. A New York felony theft lawyer could combine their knowledge of relevant laws and applicable defenses with the facts of your case to tailor an individualized defense strategy for you.