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How does New York law define property for the crime of larceny?


As discussed on this blog in the past, the crime of larceny in the state of New York consists of the stealing of another person's property, whether for oneself or for a third person, with the intent to deprive the property owner of the property. One may wonder, how is the term "property" legally defined when it comes to the crime larceny?


Per New York Penal Code section 155.00(1), a number of items fall under the definition of property for the purpose of committing larceny in New York. The first type of property one may think of when one thinks of larceny is the taking of money, and this indeed falls under the definition of property for the purpose of larceny. However, there are other items that fall under the statutory definition of property in New York.

A second item that falls under the statutory definition of property in New York is personal property. Personal property could be anything from jewelry to a lawnmower. Real property also falls under the statutory definition of property for the purposes of larceny.

Other, less tangible items also fall under the statutory definition of property for the purposes of larceny. This includes computer programs and data or evidence of a contract or debt. In addition, utilities such as electricity, water, steam or gas that are paid for constitute property per New York code. Finally, there is a catchall that anything that has value will fall under the statutory definition of property for the purposes of larceny.

New York code is nuanced. Being accused of the crime of larceny is a serious situation, particularly if the criminal charges are unfounded. Because of this, it is important that those accused of larceny understand all the aspects of the charges they face, so they can promulgate a strong defense. Since this post is not legal advice, the help of an attorney could be invaluable in such situations.

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