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New York Felony Larceny Frequently Asked Questions

What is felony larceny?

In New York larceny is defined as stealing property with the intent to deprive another of property. There are two types of larceny: petit larceny and grand larceny. Although both are crimes, petit larceny is a misdemeanor, while grand larceny is a felony. A larceny charge will be a felony if the property:

  • Has a value of more than $1000
  • Is a public record
  • Is secret scientific material
  • Is a credit or debit card
  • Was taken from the person of another
  • Was taken by extortion
  • Is a firearm
  • Has a value of more than $100 and is a motor vehicle
  • Is a religious item used with religious worship and has a value of at least $100
  • Is the type of ammonia used to make methamphetamine
What are the possible consequences for a grand larceny conviction?

In New York the sentence for a grand larceny conviction may include incarceration, probation, fines, fees, and restitution. The specific sentence that a defendant will receive depends on a variety of factors, including the classification of the specific felony larceny offense involved. There are 4 grand larceny charges, each of which is based on the value of the property stolen.

Grand larceny in the fourth degree. If someone is charged with stealing property with a value of more than $1,000 but less than $3,000, or if the property is a firearm, vehicle, credit card, or debit card, the person will face a fourth degree grand larceny charge. It is a class E felony. The possible sentence is up to 4 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the third degree. If someone is charged with stealing property with a value of more than $3,000 or an ATM, or an ATM's contents, the prosecutor will charge that person with grand larceny in the second degree. It is a class D felony. The possible prison sentence is up to 7 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the second degree. If someone is charged with stealing property with a value of more than $50,000, or if the theft involved extortion then the charge would be grand larceny in the second degree. It is a class C felony. This grand larceny charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the first degree. If someone is charged with stealing property with a value of more than $1 million, the criminal charge would be grand larceny in the first degree. It is a class B felony. The possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison.

Another important factor in sentencing is the defendant’s criminal history.

What are the defenses to felony larceny?

Three of the most common defenses to a felony larceny charge in New York include: lack of “intent to deprive,” consent, and belief of ownership.

Consent. If the defendant had consent to take and possess the property of another person, then the defendant did not steal it. For example, Janice allowed her boyfriend, Frank, to borrow her second car any time he wanted to. Sometimes Frank kept the car for 2-3 weeks at a time. One day Janice and Frank got into a big argument and Frank drove away in Janice’s car. Angry, Janice reported the car stolen. In this case Frank would not have committed grand larceny because he had consent to use Janice’s car, and Janice did not revoke the consent.

Belief of ownership. If the defendant can show that he (or she) reasonably believed that he owned the property, then the court may conclude that the defendant did not have the requisite intent to deprive another of the property. For example, Arthur borrowed Jack’s red bike. Despite Jack asking for it back several times, Arthur did not return it. Months later Jack saw the bike in Arthur’s driveway and you took it. However, it turns out that the bike was not the bike that Arthur borrowed from Jack, but one that looked very similar. If Arthur contacted the police to report that Jack stolen the bike, the prosecutor would probably decline to prosecute because Jack had a good reason to believe that he owned the bile. In fact, there may be a good case against Arthur for a grand larceny charge since he never returned Jack’s bike.

Value of the property. In most cases a felony larceny charge is based on the value of the property taken being more than $1000. If the property’s value is $1000 or less, then the appropriate charge would not be grand larceny, but petit larceny. Similarly, for any of the grand larceny charges there must be evidence that the value of the property meets the required minimum dollar amount. Otherwise the prosecutor would have overcharged the defendant in an effort to convict the defendant of a more serious charge than would be appropriate.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you or someone you care about is facing a felony larceny charge, it is critical that you have experienced representation as early in the case as possible. The skilled criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have more than 20 years of experience securing favorable results for clients in New York charged with felonies and misdemeanors, including grand larceny as well as other offenses related to theft. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Bronx, and Westchester County.

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