New York Petit Larceny Sentencing Guidelines

The most common type of theft crime in New York is known as larceny. There are two general types of larceny: petit larceny and grand larceny. The difference between the two crimes is the value of the property stolen. If the property that you are accused of stealing has a value that is less than $1,000 then you will be charged with petit larceny. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.25. This is the charge that is most often applied to cases of shoplifting from retail stores. However, if the property has a value of more than $1,000, then the charge will be grand larceny even if the theft involves shoplifting. This distinction is significant as the possible sentence that you will receive if convicted has the potential to be significantly more severe if you are convicted of grand larceny rather than petit larceny. If you are accused of petit larceny, shoplifting, or any other theft crime, it is critical that you immediately contact a New York Petit Larceny Sentencing Lawyer who will support and guide you throughout the criminal process.

Because retail stores lose billions of dollars each years to shoplifters, they use several techniques to try to catch suspected shoplifters. A common technique is to employ uniformed and undercover security guards. If a security guard thinks you have shoplifted the guard can detain you, pat you down to determine if you have a weapon, and conduct an investigation to try to confirm whether or not you have shoplifted. However, the store may only detain you for a reasonable period of time. A "reasonable" period is long enough for the police to arrive and long enough for security to investigate the incident. While in appropriate cases the security guard my use handcuffs to restrain you, in the process of detaining you the security guard may not use excessive force. Excessive force is not limited to excessive physical force. It can also include verbal abuse such as using threats, foul language or racial slurs.

In an effort to get you to confess to shoplifting, store security guards use different techniques to convince you to sign a confession. Such techniques may include telling you that you cannot leave until you sign a confession, telling you that the store has videotape showing you shoplifting, or telling you that they will not call the police if you sign a confession. If you are suspected of shoplifting you should not admit to shoplifting verbally or in writing, and you should not sign a confession. Anything that you say, write or sign can be used against you later should you be arrested and prosecuted. What you say, write or sign could affect what crime the prosecutor decides to charge you with and if convicted, could affect the sentence you are given.

When the police arrive you may be arrested and taken into custody. However, if you do not have a criminal record, you will likely be issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). The DAT will instruct you when to appear in court. It is extremely important to attend your arraignment at the date and time specified on your ticket. If you do not appear the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. When you do appear in court you will be arraigned and formally charged. The charge may not only be petit larceny. You may also be charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Or you may be charged with grand larceny. A date will be set for your next hearing.

Sentence for Petit Larceny

Petit larceny is the least serious larceny crime. You will face this charge if the value of the property is $1,000 or less. It is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted the maximum punishment is up to 1 year in jail. You may also be sentenced to probation, jail followed by probation , community service, or you may be required to pay a fine. In addition, you will be required to pay restitution. If the value of the property is $100 or less the prosecutor may offer an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD). Your case will then be dismissed and sealed after six months. The incident will not be part of your permanent criminal record.

Sentence for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree

If you are charged with petit larceny, you may also be charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 165.40. It is also a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Like petit larceny the sentence could also be probation, probation and jail, community service, or payment of a fine.

Sentence for Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

If the value of the stolen property is more than $1,000, you will be charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30. If convicted, while there is no mandatory prison sentence, you may be sentenced to prison for up to four years. However, if you already have a recent felony conviction the minimum sentence for grand larceny in the fourth degree is 1.5 years in prison. If you are a first time offender, instead or receiving a jail or prison sentence you may be sentenced to probation or jail followed by probation.

Sentence for Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree

If you are charged with grand larceny, you may also be charged with felony criminal possession stolen property. Criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree applies to cases where the value of the stolen property is more than $1,000. N.Y. Pen. Law § 165.45. It is also a Class E felony, punishable by up four years in jail. If you have a recent criminal record, you will be sentenced to at least 1.5 years in prison. If you are a first time offender, you may be sentenced to probation, jail followed by probation, community service, or payment of a fine.

Other Larceny Sentences

If the value of the property that you shoplift exceeds $3,000, you will face more serious grand larceny charges with sentences that are more severe. Furthermore, you will also face more serious criminal possession of stolen property charges. In other words, what to you may seem like a simple case of shoplifting will turn into felony shoplifting with much more serious consequences.

In addition to your sentence of prison time, jail time, probation, community service, restitution, or payment of fines, the ramifications of a larceny conviction includes having a criminal record. Even if you are not sentenced to jail or prison, your employer may learn of your arrest and conviction. Your employer may fire you. If you are seeking a job, a background check will reveal your criminal record, making it more difficult for you to find a job.

If you have been accused of petit larceny, shoplifting, grand larceny or any other theft crime, you face the possibility of a sentence that will negatively impact the rest of your life. Thus, as soon as you are accused, it is important to immediately seek legal guidance. While shoplifting may seem like a minor offense, the consequences will be increasingly severe depending on the value of the property you are accused of taking. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of shoplifting and other types of theft. In addition, we have represented clients accused of other serious crimes such as drug possession, Medicaid fraud, Medicare fraud, computer fraud, forgery, and criminal mischief. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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