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NY Penal Law § 155.25: Petit larceny

In New York larceny is a legal term for stealing. There are two general types of larceny: petit larceny and grand larceny. Under New York Penal Code § 155.25 you will face a charge of petit larceny if you steal property. However, petit larceny only applies if the property that you are accused of stealing has a value that is less than $1,000. Otherwise, the charge will be grand larceny. While you can commit petit larceny in a number of different ways, petit larceny is the charge most often associated with shoplifting.


Bob is in a clothing store absentmindedly browsing while talking on his cell phone. He is in the middle of an exciting conversation as he picks up a shirt. He continues to chat and hold on to the shirt as he saunters out of the store. Less than 30 seconds later he returns to the store and puts back the shirt. Bob did not commit petit larceny as he did not intend to steal the shirt. Furthermore, he almost immediately returned the merchandise

Related Offenses
  1. Grand larceny in the fourth degree: New York Penal Code § 155.30
  2. Grand larceny in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 155.35
  3. Grand larceny in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 155.40
  4. Grand larceny in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 155.42

If you are confronted inside the store, you may have a valid defense to a shoplifting charge. In order to shoplift you must take merchandise from the store without paying for it. If you never leave the store with unpaid for merchandise, then you may have a valid defense against a shoplifting charge.

Another defense to a shoplifting charge is lack of intent. The New York Penal Code § 155.05 larceny is the taking of property of another intending to deprive another of property or appropriate the property to yourself. This means that if by mistake you walk out of a store without paying for an item, a shoplifting charge may not be warranted. Or if you absentmindedly walk out of a store with unpaid for merchandise in your hand and then quickly go back to the store to return the item, you have not shoplifted.


Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted the maximum punishment is up to 1 year in jail. You may also be sentenced to probation, community service, or you may be required to pay a fine. In addition, you will be required to pay restitution. If the value of the property is $100 or less, the prosecutor may offer an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. This means that if you stay out of trouble for 6 months, your case will be dismissed and sealed after six months. In addition, the incident will not be part of your permanent criminal record.

New York Penal Code § 155.25: Petit larceny

A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been accused of petit larceny, shoplifting, grand larceny or any other theft crime, it is important to seek legal guidance right away. While shoplifting may seem like a minor offense the consequences of a conviction can be significant. 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 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.

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