NYC Theft Attorney Cody Warner Explains Larceny in New York 

Under New York law, a variety of theft-related crimes are categorized as “larceny.” The consequences of a conviction will vary according to the nature of the offense, but they generally follow the value of the property you are accused of having stolen. The consequences can be serious for any type of theft charge, and a conviction will go on your permanent record. NYC theft attorney Cody Warner can help you navigate your charges to get the best possible outcome.

Types of Theft Cases Handled

Cody has represented clients in all types of theft cases, including the following: 

  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Larceny
  • Identity theft
  • Extortion
  • Embezzlement
  • Back checks
  • Forgery
  • Shoplifting

Whatever charges you may be facing, whether felony or misdemeanor theft, you need skilled legal representation to navigate the legal process. An experienced NYC theft attorney can help you put these charges behind you. 

What the Prosecution Must Prove in a New York Theft Case

In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove the following elements of their case: 

  1. You knowingly and intentionally deprived or appropriated; 
  2. By taking, obtaining, or withholding; 
  3. Property owned by someone else; and
  4. For an extended period of time or permanently. 

Many theft cases have issues surrounding at least one of these elements. One of the most common issues is intent. Theft is referred to as a “specific intent” crime, which means that the prosecution must prove that your conduct was intentional. The prosecution often relies on circumstantial evidence to prove that a person intended to deprive another person or entity of the property. This could include your actions surrounding the incident and testimony from witnesses concerning your behavior. 

Another common issue in theft cases is whether you intended to deprive the owner of their property permanently or for an extended period of time. For example, taking possession of property temporarily in order to borrow it or move it is not sufficient to be convicted of theft. However, the prosecution will likely charge you with theft if the prosecution believes you had the intent to deprive a person of their property for an extended period of time or permanently.

The prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt with evidence; allegations are not enough. If you have been charged with theft, an NYC theft attorney can evaluate your case and help you weigh your options. 

The Varying Degrees of New York Theft Charges

All theft charges in New York state are felonies except one, which is misdemeanor “petit larceny.”  The law provides for five different degrees of theft charges, generally categorized by the value of the property stolen: 

  • Petit Larceny: Under P.L. 155.25, Petit Larceny involves the theft of any property valued at $1,000 or less. Petit Larceny is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. 
  • Grand Larceny In The Fourth Degree: Under P.L 155.30, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree involves the theft of property valued at more than $1,000 and up to $3,000. Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree is a class E felony and carries a potential prison sentence of up to 4 years or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 
  • Grand Larceny In The Third Degree: Under P.L 155.35, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree involves the theft of property that has a value of more than $3,000 and up to $50,000. Grand Larceny in the Third Degree is a class D felony and carries a potential prison sentence of up to 7 years or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 
  • Grand Larceny In The Second Degree: Under P.L. 155.40, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree involves the theft of property worth more than $50,000. Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is a class C felony and carries a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years. 
  • Grand Larceny In The First Degree: Under P.L. 155.42, Grand Larceny in the First Degree involves the theft of property valued in excess of $1,000,000. Grand Larceny in the First Degree is a class B felony and carries a potential prison sentence of up to 25 years in prison or more if you have been convicted of a felony within the last ten years.

Grand larceny can be charged in situations where the value of the property is less than $1000. For example, theft by way of extortion can be charged as Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree regardless of the value. Grand Larceny in the Third Degree can be charged if you stole cash from an ATM, even if the amount was less than $1,000. Whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor theft, an experienced NYC theft attorney can develop a strategic defense for your case.

Do You Need an NYC Theft Attorney When Charged with Petit Larceny?

Petit larceny is charged in cases where the value of the property stolen is less than $1,000. You can be charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing something that is virtually worthless so long as it meets the elements of theft. You may face fines and up to 1 year in jail for stealing something that is not very valuable. For this reason, petit larceny charges should be taken very seriously, and you should consult with an experienced NYC theft attorney.

A knowledgeable NYC theft attorney may be able to obtain a non-criminal outcome in your case. This typically involves disposing of your charge by way of an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) or getting it reduced to a Disorderly Conduct charge, which is considered a civil violation. An NYC theft attorney can assess the sort of outcome you should expect for your particular case.

Shoplifting In New York

Shoplifting is commonly understood to mean the removal of merchandise from a store without intending to pay for it. There is no specific crime of shoplifting in New York. Most often, people who are accused of shoplifting in a store get charged with the crime of Petit Larceny. However, you could easily face a felony theft charge if the merchandise is worth more than $1,000.  

Shoplifting cases pose some unique challenges. New York courts have long held that you do not need to leave the store in order to be charged with shoplifting. Instead, taking possession of the item in a way that suggests theft (such as placing it in your bag or under your clothing) may be considered sufficient evidence of intent to commit shoplifting. Other factors such as your behavior or proximity to the exit can also be used as evidence of shoplifting. 

Many of the facts surrounding your case may be interpreted differently, depending on who is assessing the information. The clerk who accused you of shoplifting may be looking at all conduct in his store through a biased lens. If you are charged for shoplifting, an experienced NYC theft attorney can determine the best course of action.

Defenses That You May Have Available

An experienced NYC theft attorney can review your case and determine what defenses may be available in your case, including the following: 

  • Lack of intent – the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally deprived a person or entity of the property. An NYC theft lawyer may be able to successfully argue that criminal intent is not established.
  • Value – the value of the property determines the severity of the theft charge you will be facing. Prosecutors often overvalue the property in order to bring a heavier charge. Your attorney can argue that the property at issue is not worth what the prosecution claims. 
  • False Identification – you may have been wrongly identified as the person who committed the theft. Your lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to show that the prosecution accused the wrong person. 
  • Return of property – if you returned the property before being charged with theft, this can be powerful evidence that you did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the property. 

The defenses available to you will depend on the facts of your case. A knowledgeable NYC theft attorney will listen to your side story and develop a strategic legal defense that is uniquely tailored to your case. 

Charged with Larceny? Contact NYC Theft Attorney Cody Warner Today

Being charged with a crime can leave you feeling paralyzed. Whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor theft, Cody can help you start moving forward. Contact him to schedule a free consultation to discuss your charges and how he can help take control of your case.