New York Larceny Defense Lawyer
In New York, theft crimes are prosecuted under statutes concerning larceny. Larceny is codified at New York Penal Code Article 155. There are several different categories of larceny depending on the type and value of the property stolen, as well as the manner in which the property is taken. The crime is more severe and carries additional punishments as the value of the property taken increases and if committed using, for example, violence or threats. Notably, while most theft crimes are prosecuted under New York law, there are federal statutes prohibiting theft as well. Larceny at the higher levels is a very serious crime carrying significant penalties, including prison time. The larceny defense lawyers at Dupée & Monroe have years of experience defending clients against charges of theft, preparing the strongest possible cases and getting charges reduced or even dropped entirely.
The base crime of larceny is committed if a defendant:
- With intent to deprive another of property;
- Wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds such property;
- From the property’s owner.
“Property” is very broadly defined under the law and includes any money, personal property, real property, computer data, thing in action, legal proofs of debt or contracts, or any other thing of value.
Wrongful taking includes traditional theft as well as taking by trick, embezzlement or false pretenses, by extortion, by knowingly acquiring and keeping lost property, by way of a false promise, or any other way that involves taking someone else’s property by wrongful means. The statute includes specific additional methods such as abusing power as a public official or threatening to testify or withhold testimony about someone else’s legal claim or defense, as well as a catchall provision meant to encompass any other wrongful behavior leading to a taking of property.
Types of Larceny & Punishments
Petit larceny, the base larceny crime which involves te theft of property of less than $1,000, is a class A misdemeanor. Petit larceny carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. Larceny also includes the crimes of extortion, which is larceny by means of threat or force, as well as embezzlement, which is larceny of funds or property over which you were in control as a result of being in a position of trust. Extortion is, at its base, a felony, while embezzlement can be a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the value of the property taken.
If the defendant takes a certain type of property or takes the property in a certain way, then the crime becomes grand larceny. Stealing property worth over $1,000, or stealing property such as a credit card or car, will trigger grand larceny, as will stealing property directly from another person or by means of extortion or threats. If the elements of grand larceny are met, the crime is chargeable as a felony, which can carry significant prison time depending on the total value of the property stolen and the means by which it is taken.
Defending Against a Charge of Larceny
Defending against a charge of larceny requires poking holes in any of the required elements. For example, prosecutors must prove that the defendant had the intent to deprive another of their property. If a defendant was mistaken and reasonably believed the property to belong to them, then there is no intent to deprive. If the defendant was borrowing something with the owner’s consent or believed that they were doing so, then they did not “wrongfully” take the property or deprive the owner of the property and are not guilty of larceny. If the person from whom they “took” the property was not the property’s owner, then there should be no conviction for larceny.
Help is Available from Our Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been arrested and charged with larceny under New York state law, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C. for a larceny defense lawyer in Goshen. We represent clients charged with larceny and other serious offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.