In New York, and a number of other states, larceny is a term used to refer to the crime of common theft. While robbery and burglary are forms of property theft, larceny is its own separate crime. Petty larceny refers to smaller property thefts with property valued at $1,000 or less and can result in up to one year in jail. Grand larceny, on the other hand, involves the theft of higher value items and can result in anywhere from one to 25 years in prison, depending on the value of the item. Typically, stealing items ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 will result in a 4th degree felony, whereas stealing items worth $1 million or more will result in a 1st degree felony.
If you were arrested and charged with larceny, the prosecution will have to prove a number of elements to have you convicted and sentenced. First, they will have to show that you unlawfully took someone else’s property. In New York, you must have taken the property away or control of the property so that the owner can no longer use it. Next, they must prove that you had the intention of permanently stopping the owner from using or enjoying the property. If you planned to give the property back to the owner, there is no requisite intent. Lastly, if you had consent from the owner to take the property, the prosecution will not be able to establish larceny.
When it comes to proving larceny in criminal court, the high burden of proof falls on the prosecution. This means the prosecution has the burden of proving that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
This a fairly difficult task for the prosecution, especially in cases where the alleged thief states that they had permission to take the item and there is no evidence of the contrary. However, your defense attorney must also do their part to poke holes in the prosecution’s arguments. If your attorney’s defense strategy is successful, the court may find you not guilty and drop all charges.
Source: FindLaw, “Definition of Larceny,” accessed on Sept. 25, 2017