Petit and grand larceny, as well as shoplifting, are serious crimes in the state of New York, and they are prosecuted under specific laws that define the offenses and the potential penalties for those found guilty. These crimes can have severe consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore the New York laws on petit and grand larceny and shoplifting, including what actions constitute these offenses, the potential penalties for conviction, and how to defend against such charges. By understanding these laws, individuals can better protect themselves and their rights in the face of criminal charges related to theft in New York.
Defining Larceny Under New York Law
According to New York law, larceny is the unlawful theft or withholding of another person’s property with the goal of “depriving” them of it. Other larceny offenses include:
- stealing by trick or embezzlement
- obtaining property by false pretenses or false promises
- acquiring lost property, and
- taking property by extortion.
Any money, physical or personal property, computer data or programs, utilities, and other things of value are all considered to be property under a broad definition. One can “deprive” another of property in one of two ways: either by (1) keeping it from them permanently or for so long that they lose a significant percentage of its economic value or benefit, or (2) disposing of it in a way that makes it unlikely they will be able to get it back.
Like the majority of states, New York categorizes larceny based on the amount of money or the kind of property that was taken. Let’s examine the definitions and consequences of theft offenses in this state.
Petit Larceny In New York
In New York, stealing anything worth $1,000 or less is considered petit larceny, the lowest degree of crime. A class A misdemeanor, petit larceny carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Grand Larceny In New York
When the value of the stolen property surpasses $1,000 or the crime involves a certain sort of property or conduct, larceny elevates to a felony-level charge known as grand larceny. All grand larceny offenses are punishable by imprisonment and either a $5,000 fine or the treble of the offender’s profits from the crime.
Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree NY
The crime of fourth-degree grand larceny covers several different types of theft—the most common of which involve stolen property when:
- the value of the property is over $1,000
- the property consists of a credit or debit card
- the property is taken from the person of another or obtained by extortion using threats to harm another’s reputation or business
- the property is a firearm, rifle, or shotgun, or
- the property is a motor vehicle worth over $100.
Fourth-degree grand larceny constitutes a class E felony, whereby a guilty party can receive a sentence of up to four years imprisonment and a fine.
Grand Larceny in the Third Degree NY
When the value of the taken property exceeds $3,000 or when the item is an automated teller machine (ATM) or its contents, the offender is guilty of grand larceny in the third degree. A class D felony, such an offense carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail as well as a fine.
Grand Larceny in the Second Degree NY
A person who steals items valued at more than $50,000 or who obtains any amount of property through extortion involving threats of bodily harm, property destruction, or misuse of one’s position as a public employee is guilty of second-degree grand larceny. Larceny at this level is a class C felony. A guilty party might spend up to 15 years in jail and pay a fine.
Grand Larceny in the First Degree NY
A person is guilty of first-degree grand larceny when the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,000,000. The law classifies this crime as a class B felony, which carries up to 25 years in prison and a fine.
Sentencing Enhancements for Repeat Offenders
New York law provides for increased penalties for repeat offenders. Defendants convicted of a repeat grand larceny offense face mandatory minimum sentences in prison. For example, a person who commits fourth-degree grand larceny, having already been convicted of felony larceny, faces a minimum sentence of three years in prison.
Shoplifting Penalties In New York
New York’s shoplifting laws include both criminal and civil sanctions, like those in many other states.
Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting NY
Shoplifting is punishable in New York as a larceny charge. The severity of the criminal penalty for shoplifting depends on how much was stolen. (Penalties for larceny are listed above.) Theft of merchandise costing less than $1,000 is considered a class A misdemeanor. But, in New York, these misdemeanors can easily progress to felonies. Theft of goods worth more than $1,000, such as a smartphone, is punishable by felony charges and may result in prison time. Possession of an anti-security item with the aim to use it to steal goods, such as a coated bag or a security tag remover, is likewise illegal. A $500 fine and up to three months in jail are possible penalties for this class B misdemeanor violation.
Civil Penalties for Shoplifting NY
A person who steals from a store in New York, or the parent or legal guardian of a child who steals, may also be held civilly accountable to the store owner or merchant for the following:
- the retail price of the merchandise, if not returned in a sellable condition, in an amount not to exceed $1,500, plus
- a penalty not to exceed $75 or five times the retail price (with a cap of $500), whichever is greater.
(N.Y. Gen. Oblig. Law § 11-105; N.Y. Penal Law §§ 70.15, 80.05, 170.47 (2022).)
Hiring A New York Lawyer On Petit And Grand Larceny And Shoplifting Case
Employing a lawyer with knowledge of New York criminal defense laws is crucial if you are charged with petit or grand larceny or shoplifting. Theft offenses are subject to strong rules in New York, and those found guilty may face harsh penalties such as steep fines, probation, and even jail time.
A knowledgeable New York attorney can assist you in comprehending the accusations leveled against you and creating a defense plan that will give you the best chance of success. They can help you through the legal system, explain the potential results of your case, and put forth great effort to uphold your rights and interests.
Finding a lawyer with experience managing situations similar to yours is crucial when making your choice. Also, you want to think about their track record in criminal defense and their standing in the legal profession. Ideally, you should select a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the courts and judges in your area as well as the criminal justice system in New York.
Your attorney ought to be ready to thoroughly lay out the accusations made against you at your initial meeting and respond to any queries you may have. They should also give you a straightforward explanation of their costs and how they will be paid, as well as an honest evaluation of your case and its likely consequences.
Your attorney will collaborate with you to gather information, speak with potential witnesses, and create a defense plan that will offer you the best opportunity of winning your case. They will also bargain with the prosecution to try to have your charges dropped or reduced, or if necessary, to come to a good plea deal.
In conclusion, if you wish to defend your rights and interests in court, you must work with a knowledgeable New York attorney with experience in petit and grand larceny and shoplifting cases. A qualified attorney will put forth the most effort possible to protect you and provide you the best opportunity of winning your case.