Sometimes mistakes are made. A person in New York might accidentally take property they think is theirs. Other times, however, a person purposely steals property, with no intent of giving it back to its owner. When this happens, it may constitute the crime of larceny.
Under New York Penal Code §155.05, an individual commits larceny when he or she takes property without the property owner's permission and with the intention of permanently depriving that person of the property. There are a number of ways a wrongful taking can take when it comes to larceny.
One way is known as common law larceny. This is when a person commits a trespassory taking or a taking by trick, embezzlement or false pretenses. Another way is if a person writes a bad check. A third way is through a false promise within a scheme to defraud the person by saying or implying that the person will do something in the future they have no intention of doing. Finally, larceny can be committed by extortion. This means the individual forces another person to give the individual property by making the person fear that:
- They will be injured
- Their property will be damaged
- They will be forced to commit a crime
- The will have a secret exposed
- An act will be committed to harm them with regards to their health, financial circumstances, job, reputation, safety or personal relationships.
There is an issue, however, when a person recovers lost property. If a person finds lost property that he or she knows is lost or mislaid or has been given to them as a mistake, that person must take "reasonable measures" to return the property. If they do not do this, keeping the property may be considered larceny.
As this shows, there are a number of ways larceny is committed. Depending on the situation, larceny could range from a class A misdemeanor to a class B felony. These are serious criminal charges, which could result in fines or even imprisonment. Therefore, it is important to counter such charges with a strong defense, in order to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.