New York Grand Larceny
Grand larceny is on the rise not only in New York but across the country. According to the New York Penal code, grand larceny is defined as stealing the property of another person with the intent of depriving that person of such property. You can commit larceny in a number of different ways including by embezzlement, trick, lying, or extortion. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05. Larceny arises to the more serious crime of grand larceny with stiffer penalties if the value of the property stolen exceeds $1,000. The theft will also be considered grand larceny if the type of property stolen makes the crime more serious, if the property is taken directly from the person of another, or if the property was obtained by extortion. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30. If the value of the item stolen is under $1,000 then the crime of petit larceny would apply. If you have been charged with grand larceny it is important to speak with an experienced New York grand larceny lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. If convicted, the penalties for this crime are serious, so it is important not to delay. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience representing clients who have been charged with grand larceny and other serious crimes such as assault, domestic violence and sex crimes. Find out what we can do for you by contacting us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.Grand larceny defined
In order to fully understand what a charge of grand larceny entails, it is important to understand the legal definitions of the terms used to define grand larceny. New York law has specific definitions for "property" and "owner," in reference to a grand larceny charge. While we often think of property such as money, car, jewelry or electronics as the targets of theft, for purposes of a grand larceny charge the stolen property can be practically any type of real or personal property including money, computer data, computer programs, or any other thing of value. Gas, steam, water, or electricity is also considered property for purposes of a grand larceny charge. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(1). An "owner" of the property can be any person who has the right of possession of that property that is superior to the right of the person who has taken the property. If there is joint or common ownership of property, then one joint or common owner does not have a right of possession of the property that is superior to any other joint or common owner. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(5).
"Obtain," "deprive," and "appropriate" are terms that describe specific types of stealing for purposes of a grand larceny charge. Obtaining property is defined as causing the transfer of the interest or a legal interest in the property from the owner to another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(2). Deprive, on the other hand, means to withhold property, or cause property to be withheld from its owner either permanently or for an extended period of time. Even if you do not keep the property, but dispose of it in a manner that its owner is not likely to recover it, you would have deprived the owner of his or her property. If you appropriate property it means that you exercise control over the property or cause a third person to exercise control over it permanently or for an extended period. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(4).Degrees of Grand Larceny Charge
There are 4 levels of severity of grand larceny that are distinguished by the potential penalty based on the value of the property you are accused of stealing and the type of property at issue. Grand larceny in the fourth degree is the least serious grand larceny charge. You will be charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree if the value of the property stolen is $1,000 but under $2,999.99 . You will also receive this charge if the property taken is a public record, secret scientific material, credit or debit card, firearms, motor vehicle, a religious vestment, an access device intended to be used to steal telephone service, or ammonia gas. Furthermore, if you take the property from the person of another or if extortion is involved, the charge will be grand larceny in the fourth degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30. Grand larceny in the fourth degree is a class E felony.
Grand larceny in the third degree is a class D felony. In order to be charged with grand larceny in the third degree, the value of the property must be between $3,000 to $49,999. You will also be charged with grand larceny in the third degree if you steal an ATM, or the contents of an ATM. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.35. If you have already been convicted of grand larceny in the third degree based on stealing an ATM or its contents, and you are caught doing it again, you can be charged with aggravated grand larceny of an automatic teller machine, a class C felony with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.43.
Grand larceny in the second degree involves stealing property with a value of at least $50,000 but not over $999,999. The charge will be grand larceny in the second degree if you obtain the property through extortion by leading the victim to believe that he or she will be physically harmed or the property will be damaged. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.40. Grand larceny in the second degree is a class C felony.
The most serious grand larceny offense is grand larceny in the first degree. Grand larceny in the first degree is class B felony and requires that the value of the property be more than $1 million. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.42. The possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison.
An important thing to be aware of with this crime is the dollar amounts mentioned above are cumulative. For example, if a defendant steals $1,000 every day from an ATM for 50 consecutive days, the defendant has committed grand larceny in the second degree because the total amount involved is $50,000. This crime can be distinguished from the crime of burglary, where a defendant enters a dwelling and takes $1,000. Every day for 50 days, they would be charged with 50 counts of burglary.Defenses to a grand larceny charge Property value
The value of the property in question has a very important impact on what degree of larceny the defendant will be charged with. If the value of the goods cannot be properly determined, the value will be determined by the replacement value of the item. Prosecutors will often allege that value for the goods far exceeds the correct market value for the item. It can be argued that the stolen items are worth less than what has been charged, which if proven can reduce the larceny charge.Intent to deprive
In order for this crime to be committed, the defendant must take property with the intent to permanently deprive the victim. The intent is important here. Therefore taking something by mistake, or borrowing an item does not constitute larceny.Identity
If the perpetrator of the crime was not immediately apprehended, the issue of identity can arise. There must be actual proof linking the defendant to the crime. Lack of this evidence can create reasonable doubt, which must be met in order to have a valid larceny charge.
Statutory defenses If you have been charged with grand larceny, you may be able to use a statutory defense. New York law provides that a defense to grand larceny is that if you in good faith thought that you had the right to take the property, you have a defense to the grand larceny charge. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.15. A second defense is applicable in grand larceny cases that involve extortion. If in trying to prevent someone from being charged with a crime, you use fear to try to make that person take specific steps in order to avoid a criminal charge, then you have a defense to a charge of extortion.Sentencing
If you are convicted of grand larceny, your sentence could include jail, prison, a fine, restitution, probation, or a combination of any of these punishments. Your specific sentencing will depend on a number of factors including the grand larceny charge of which you were convicted. The most serious grand larceny offense is grand larceny in the first degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.42. The possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison. Grand larceny in the first degree is also different from other grand larceny offenses in that there is a minimum sentence for first time offenders and non-predicate felons. The minimum sentence for such offends is 1-3 years. Predicate offenders will be sentenced to a minimum of 4.5-9 years in prison.
On the other hand the least serious grand larceny charge is grand larceny in the fourth degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30. Grand larceny in the fourth degree 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, if you are a predicate offender, the minimum sentence for grand larceny in the fourth degree is 1.5 years in prison. If you are first time offender, instead or receiving a jail or prison sentence, you may be sentenced to 5 years probation. Or you may receive a short jail term followed by 5 years probation.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
If you have been accused of a theft crime, it is important to seek legal guidance right away. The consequences for this crime can be significant, so it is imperative that your rights are protected. Contact our firm for guidance and a free consultation. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been accused of grand larceny, petit larceny, burglary, robbery, embezzlement and other criminal offenses. 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 larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.