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New York 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 is more 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 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 document displaying an expression of faith with a value of at least $100,
  • The property is a tool used to steal telephone service, or
  • The property is anhydrous or liquefied ammonia such 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 notable exceptions, if the value of the property exceeds $1,000, the theft 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 that cannot be determined, then value will be based as the property's replacement cost. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.20

The New York Penal Code has a very specific definition of the terms "property" and "owner" as used in the grand larceny statute. Property can mean practically anything including money, personal property, real property, computer data, computer program, evidence of debt or contract, gas, water, electricity, or any other thing of value. If the theft involves certain types of property such as a credit or debit card, fireman, secret scientific material, or vehicle, the charge will be larceny in the fourth degree even if such property has a value of less than $1,000. If the property is a vehicle, the vehicle must have a value of more than $100. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(1).

"Owner" is defined in terms of who has the superior right of possession. Thus, an owner of property is the person or persons who has the right of possession that is superior to any other person's right. If property has joint or common owners, then all joint or common owners have an equal right to possession. In addition, a person who is in lawful possession of property has a right to possession superior to someone who holds only a security interest of the property. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(5)

For purposes of the grand larceny statute, a firearm is a revolver, pistol, a shotgun having one or more barrels less than 18" long, a rifle having one or more barrels less than 16" long, a weapon made from a rifle or shotgun, or an assault weapon. An antique firearm is not considered a firearm under the grand larceny statute. N.Y. Pen. Law § 265.00(3). Property that is considered "secret scientific material" can be a sample, culture, microorganism, or a specimen. It can also be a record, recording, document, drawing or other material that is a record or evidence of a scientific or technical process, invention or formula. In order for the property to be 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)

Another way that a theft of property with a value of less than $1,000 becomes grand larceny instead of petit larceny is if the theft is from someone's person. This means stealing by pickpocketing, purse snatching, or stealing any item directly from someone's body. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(5)

Grand larceny in the fourth degree is the least serious grand larceny charge. It is a Class E felony. While there is no mandatory prison sentence for a grand larceny in the fourth degree conviction, you may be sentenced to prison for up to four years. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.00 However, depending on the circumstances of the case, including the your criminal history, the sentence could be probation, jail time, or prison time. If you are a first time offender you are less like to be sentenced to jail or prison time, any 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.

If you have been charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, or any other larceny charge it is important that you contact an experienced New York 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 as well as other theft crimes such as petit larceny, possession of stolen property, burglary, and robbery. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, and Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties).

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