Suffolk Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

Under New York law, the legal term for theft is larceny. Depending on the value of the property stolen, the theft is either petit larceny, which is a misdemeanor, or grand larceny, which is a felony. Grand larceny can take several different forms including embezzlement, fraud, extortion or blackmail, auto theft and stealing directly from the person. It is one of the most common crimes in New York. There are also several degrees of the grand larceny charge that differ based on the value of the property stolen as well as how the property was taken. The least serious grand larceny charge is grand larceny in the fourth degree. Even though it is the least serious grand larceny charge, it is still a felony. If you are convicted of this crime, you could end up in prison. If you have been charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, you should immediately contact an experienced Suffolk County Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree Lawyer who understands the law related to grand larceny, including defenses, and who will vigorously defend you against the charges.

Definition of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

Under N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30, you have committed grand larceny in the fourth degree if you take someone else's property and

  • The value of the property is greater than $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 gun,
  • The property was taken from another's person,
  • The property was taken by blackmail,
  • The property is a car or other vehicle that is worth over $100,
  • The property is religious property with a value of at least $100,
  • The property is a device used to steal telephone service, or
  • The property is a substance that is used to make methamphetamine

A critical factor in determining whether the larceny charge will be petit larceny, a misdemeanor, or grand larceny in the fourth degree, a felony, is the value of the property stolen. With a few important exceptions, if the value of the property exceeds $1,000, the larceny will be considered grand larceny. The value of the property is defined as its market value at the time and place of the theft. If the value cannot be determined using that method, then the value will be based on the property's replacement cost. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.20. However, if the value of the property cannot be conclusively found then a fourth degree grand larceny charge will not stick. For example, in People v. Walker, 071114 NYAPP4, 2014-05254, (July 11, 2014) , the defendant Jerel Walker was convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree based on stealing a jar of coins and a television. However, upon appeal the court reversed the conviction concluding that "rough estimates" were not sufficient to establish the property value.

Definition of Owner. "Owner" means the person or persons who has the right of possession to property that is superior to any other person's right of possession. If the property has joint or common owners, then all owners have an equal right to possession. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(5)

Definition of Property. Under the New York larceny statute, the term "property" can mean practically anything including money, personal property, real property, computer data, gas, water, electricity, or any other thing of value. For example, in People v. Ciervo, 577 N.Y.S.2d 140 (1991), defendant Joseph Ciervo was convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree for theft of electricity from Consolidated Edison. Ciervo had tampered with his home's meter so that it would understate the consumption of electricity in his home.

In addition, if the theft involves certain types of property including a credit card, debit card, firearm, scientific material, or a car, the charge will be larceny in the fourth degree even if though property is worth less than $1,000. If the property is a car or other vehicle, the vehicle must have a value of more than $100. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(1).

A firearm is a revolver, pistol, a shotgun having at least one barrel that is less than 18" long, a rifle having at least one barrel that is less than 16" long, a weapon made from a rifle or shotgun, or an assault weapon. An antique firearm is not a firearm as defined by the grand larceny statute. N.Y. Pen. Law § 265.00(3). Property is "secret scientific material" if it is a sample, culture, microorganism, or a specimen. Or a record or evidence of a scientific or technical process, invention or formula. In order for the property to be considered secret scientific material it cannot be intended to be available to anyone besides the owner or people who have rightful access to it, and it must give those with rightful possession a competitive advantage over others. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(6)

Pickpocketing. If you steal property directly from another's person, even if the value of the property is less than $1,000, the charge you will face is grand larceny in the fourth degree. This means stealing by pickpocketing, purse snatching, or stealing any item directly from someone's body. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(5). For example, in People v. Clemons, 567 N.Y.S.2d 244 (1991), defendant Shirley Clemons was charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree after stealing $86 from someone's pocket.

Penalty for Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree

Grand larceny in the fourth degree is the least serious grand larceny charge. It is a Class E felony, with a maximum sentence of up to 4 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.00. However, depending on the circumstances of the case including your criminal history, the sentence could be probation, jail, or prison. If you are a first time offender you are less likely to be sentenced to jail or prison, and may receive probation, or a short jail sentenced followed by probation. On the other hand, if you are a predicate offender meaning that you have been convicted of another felony within the last 10 years, the minimum sentence for grand larceny in the fourth degree is 1.5 years in prison. In the case of People v. Clemons, Clemons was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in prison because of her status as a predicate felon.

If you have been arrested and charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, or any other theft charge it is important that you contact an experienced attorney right away. A grand larceny charge is complex and the degree of the charge will impact sentencing. In addition, depending on the facts of your case there may be defenses to the charge that may result in a charge reduction, dismissal of your case, or acquittal. 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 as well as other theft crimes such as 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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