The lawyers at Galluzzo & Arnone have represented numerous defendants
accused of committing a wide variety of larcenies, from simple shoplifting
to complex grand larceny schemes.
A person commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property
or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully
takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner of the property (PL 155.05(1)). The act of larceny can be accomplished in many different ways, including,
among others, embezzlement, extortion, false promise, and by trespassory
taking (an example of which would be shoplifting). A finder of lost property
whose owner can be easily determined – such as a credit card with
a name on it – must make reasonable efforts to return the property
to its owner. Otherwise, the finder risks being charged with larceny as well (
Key Penal Law Provisions:
- Petit larceny, PL 155.25, a class A misdemeanor
- Grand larceny in the fourth degree, PL 155.30, a class E felony
- Grand larceny in the third degree, PL 155.35, a class D felony
- Grand larceny in the second degree, PL 155.40, a class C felony
- Grand larceny in the first degree, PL 155.42, a class B felony
The most common larceny charge is a Class A misdemeanor called Petit Larceny(PL
155.25), and a person is guilty of it when he simply steals property.
It is most often charged in cases of shoplifting but it can be applied
to a very wide variety of acts. In Manhattan, prosecutors at arraignments
routinely offer a standard plea bargain to people accused of Petit Larceny
that have never previously been arrested: Disorderly Conduct (PL 240.20
- a violation) with a one-day Stoplift program.
Grand larceny in the fourth degree is the next most serious Larceny crime,
and is classified as a class E felony. There are eleven different forms
of grand larceny in the fourth degree, but some are more common than others.
First and foremost, a person is guilty of grand larceny in the fourth
degree when he steals property worth in excess of $1,000. Similarly, third
degree involves a taking of $3,000, second degree requires $50,000, and
first degree requires $1,000,000. However, the theft of a motor vehicle
is felony grand larceny in the fourth degree as long as the vehicle is
worth more than $100.
In addition, felony grand larceny in the fourth degree includes any intentional
theft of property from the “person” of another. The “person”
is an individual’s immediate sphere or area, and includes his/her
clothing, purse or backpack, or even the grocery cart he/she is pushing.
Thus, pickpockets are always charged with felony grand larceny, no matter
how small the value of the property taken. Similarly, pickpockets are
oftentimes charged with subsection 4 of grand larceny in the fourth degree,
which makes it a felony to intentionally steal a credit card or debit
card (PL 155.30). Interestingly, the thief does not have to be aware
that the wallet he stole from someone contained credit cards to be guilty
of this charge.
A person who extorts property from another can either be guilty of Grand
Larceny in the Fourth Degree or Grand Larceny in the Second Degree depending
upon the form or extent of the intimidation employed by the actor; the
value of the property that is taken through extortion is irrelevant to
Grand Larceny in the third degree occurs when the value of the stolen property
exceeds three thousand dollars. Grand Larceny in the second degree occurs
when the value of stolen property exceeds fifty thousand dollars or when
the property is obtained through extortion. Grand Larceny in the first
degree involves the theft of property in excess of one million dollars.