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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 ( PL 155.05(2)(b) ).

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[4]). 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 either charge.

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.

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