Queens Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

Under N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30, you have committed grand larceny in the fourth degree if you steal property and

  • The value of the property exceeds $1,000,
  • The property is a public record,
  • The property is secret scientific material,
  • The property is a credit or debit card,
  • The property is a firearm,
  • The property was taken from someone's person,
  • The property was taken by extortion,
  • The property is a vehicle that is worth over $100,
  • The property is a religious vestment with a value of at least $100,
  • The property is a telephone service access device, or
  • The property is anhydrous or liquefied ammonia that can be used to make methamphetamine

In addition to grand larceny in the fourth degree, the New York Penal Code includes 3 other degrees of grand larceny: grand larceny in the third degree, grand larceny in the second degree, and grand larceny in the first degree. Furthermore, there is also a type of larceny called petit larceny. Grand larceny in the fourth degree is the least serious grand larceny charge and carries the least severe potential sentence.

Difference Among Larceny Charges

In general, the differences in the various larceny charges are based on the value of the property which is stolen. If the value of the property is $1,000 or less, the charge will be petit larceny. Since a charge of grand larceny is reserved for thefts that are considered serious, the value of the property must be more than $1,000. If the value is greater than $1,000 but not more than $3,000, then the charge will be grand larceny in the fourth degree, making grand larceny in the fourth degree the least serious grand larceny charge. If the property's value is greater than $3,000 but not more than $50,000, the charge will be grand larceny in the third degree. For a grand larceny in the second degree charge, the value of the property must exceed $50,000 but not exceed $1,000,000. The most serious grand larceny charge is grand larceny in the first degree. The value of the property must exceed $1,000,000.

Other Factors

In addition to the requirement that the value of the property must be more than $1,000 and less than $3,000, there other factors that bear on the type of larceny charge you will face.

Public Record

If you steal a public record, the charge you will face is grand larceny in the fourth degree. A public record is any record or other written instrument filed with, deposited in, or otherwise constituting a record of a public office or public servant.

Scientific Material

Stealing scientific material is a grand larceny in the fourth degree crime. Scientific materials are practically anything used in scientific research. Under the statute examples of scientific material include: a sample, device, culture, material, micro-organism, drawing, recording, document, or record. In order to be scientific material such material must represent a scientific process, invention or formula. The material must not generally be available to the public, and because of this, affords the owner an advantage over others. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(6).

Credit or Debit Card

If you steal someone's credit card or debit card, you can be charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree. A credit card is any type of card that can be used to obtain property on credit. It can be a credit card, or a charge card, charge plate, or any other device used for this purpose. A debit card is a card or device used to purchase property in lieu of cash. N.Y. GBS Law § 511.

Firearm

Stealing a firearm is considered so serious that regardless of the firearm's value, at a minimum you will be charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree. A firearm is a pistol, revolver, shotgun with one or more barrels that are less than 18", a rifle with one or more barrels that are less than 16", a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle, or an assault weapon. However, an antique gun is not considered a firearm for the purposes of the grand larceny in the fourth degree statute. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(3); N.Y. Pen. Law § 265.00(3)

The Person

If you steal from "the person," regardless of the value of the property, you will be charged with at least grand larceny in the fourth degree. Stealing from the person means taking directly from someone's body. For example, if you "pickpocket" another person, you would have stolen from "the person."

Extortion

Stealing by extortion means forcing someone to give you property because you threatened to cause harm to someone, to damage property, to commit a crime, to accuse someone of a crime, to expose a damaging secret, to cause a labor action, to testify against someone or refuse to testify for someone, to use your position as a public official to cause harm, or threaten to do anything else that would cause harm to another person.

Vehicle

Stealing a car or any other type of motor vehicle except a motorcycle is almost always grand larceny. The only time that stealing a vehicle is not a felony is if the vehicle has a value of $100 or less.

Religious Property

Stealing certain religious items is considered so serious that you will be charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree. It must have a value of at least $100 and it must be an item that is used in connection with religious worship in a church, temple, or other type of place of worship. Examples of religious property include a scroll, religious vestment, vessel, or an item that displays religious symbols.

Telephone Service Access Device

Stealing telephone service is considered serious enough that the theft of a telephone service access device is grand larceny in the fourth degree. An access device can be a calling card number, credit card number, electronic serial number, personal identification number, or a mobile identification number.

Ammonia to Make Methamphetamine

Stealing anhydrous ammonia or liquified ammonia gas that you or someone else plans to use to make methamphetamine is larceny in the fourth degree.

Defenses to a Grand Larceny ChargeValue of the Property

In order to make a grand larceny in the fourth degree charge stick, one of the things that the prosecutor must prove is that the value of the property at issue is more than $1,000. If it is determined that the value is $1,000 or less, then the prosecutor will be forced to drop the charge to petit larceny. While petit larceny is still a crime, it is preferable to a grand larceny charge as petit larceny is a misdemeanor and as such carries a potentially lighter sentence. However, there are exceptions to the general rule that the value of the property must be more than $1,000. These exceptions are if the property is a public record, scientific material, debit card, credit card, firearm, motor vehicle, religious property, or telephone access device. Two additional exceptions are if the theft is by extortion or if it is from the person.

Intent to Steal

If you can show that you did not intend to steal the property, it will be difficult for the prosecutor to prove that you committed grand larceny in the fourth degree. The larceny statute specifies that larceny means that you had the intent to deprive. If you can show that you merely borrowed the property and you intended to return it, or that you did indeed return it, you have a strong defense to a larceny charge. Or, if you can show that you mistakenly took the property, you did not have the requisite intent to be charged or convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree, or any other larceny charge.

Rightful Taking

If you believed that you had the legal right to take the property, then you have a defense to a larceny charge. However, this affirmative defense is only available if the grand larceny charge is based on trespassory taking or embezzlement. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.15.

Penalty for Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

While grand larceny in the fourth degree is the least serious grand larceny charge, it is still a felony and you may be sentenced to prison. It is a Class E felony. There is no mandatory prison sentence. However, you may be sentenced to prison for up to 4 years. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.00. If you are convicted, the judge will take into consideration several factors in determining your sentence. An important factor is your criminal background. If you are a first time offender you are less likely to be sentenced to jail or prison time. Your sentence may be just probation. If, however, you have a felony record, you may be sentenced to a minimum of 1.5 years in prison.

If you have been charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree it is important that you contact an experienced Queens grand larceny in the fourth degree lawyer right away. A grand larceny charge is complex and the degree of the charge will impact sentencing. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree as well as other grand larceny charges, petit larceny, possession of stolen property, burglary, and robbery. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of grand larceny in the following locations:

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