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New York Petit Larceny Frequently Asked Questions

What is petit larceny?

Under New York Penal Law section 155.25, petit larceny is one of several theft crimes in the New York criminal code. It is sometimes referred to as petty theft. As a New York petit larceny lawyer will explain, you will be charged with petit larceny if the value of the items that you are accused of stealing is $1000 or less. Petit larceny is the charge that those accused of shoplifting typically face.

How is petit larceny different from grand larceny?

While both grand larceny and petit larceny are crimes of theft, grand larceny is more serious as it is a felony and petit larceny is a misdemeanor. Petit larceny is reserved for stealing relative minor amounts of property. Whether the property is jewelry, clothing, money, or something else, if its value is $1000 or less, then the charge will be petit larceny. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule. For example, if the stealing is from the person, regardless of the amount taken the charge will be a felony. Stealing from the person means taking the property directly from another person’s body, such as stealing by pickpocketing.

What should I do if I am arrested?

If you are arrested because you are believed to have shoplifted or otherwise stolen property, then what you should do is just as important as what you should not do. You should not make a statement to the police. Instead, you should immediately ask for a New York petit larceny lawyer.

What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a crime that carries a sentence of less than a year in jail. Misdemeanors are relatively minor, nonviolent crimes. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor as are issuing a bad check, prostitution, and public lewdness. However, a misdemeanor is a crime and a conviction will result in a criminal record.

What is a desk appearance ticket?

If you are suspected of committing a crime, the police have the option of arresting you and sending you to Central Booking, or arresting you and issuing you a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). A DAT, sometimes called an “appearance ticket,” is a document that gives the place, date and time for you to appear in criminal court for your arraignment. The police have the option of issuing a DAT only in cases where you are accused of a relatively minor crime such as a misdemeanor like petit larceny. Because the consequences of being convicted of any crime, even a misdemeanor, is a criminal record and possibly incarceration, it is a good idea to contact an petit larceny attorney serving clients in New York if you have been issued a DAT.

What is an arraignment?

Your first appearance in court after you are arrested will be your arraignment. During your arraignment the prosecutor will read the charge or charges against you, and the judge will let you know whether or not you have to post bail. Finally, you will be told when you must return to court. If you fail to show up for your arraignment or for any subsequent court date, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

What is a bench warrant?

Whenever you have a date in criminal court, you must attend. It is not good enough for your attorney to be present without you. If you fail to attend the judge may issue a bench warrant, which is a warrant for your immediate arrest. Furthermore, your attorney will explain that failure to show up for a court date may subject you to additional charges and may hurt your chances for a favorable outcome on the petit larceny charge.

If I am convicted of petit larceny will I go to jail?

Because petit larceny is a Class A misdemeanor, if you are convicted the maximum sentence is up to a year in jail. If you are a first time offender it is unlikely that you will go to jail. However, ultimately your sentence will depend on a variety factors. Thus, it is important that you are represented by an experienced petit larceny attorney in New York who understands the nuances of New York criminal law and procedure.

Can I get a petit larceny conviction sealed?

New York recently expanded its sealing law to allow the sealing of more convictions, including petit larceny. However, sealing is not automatic. Your attorney must present an application for sealing before a judge. The judge will look at several factors, including the length of time since your last conviction, whether you have been arrested, charged or convicted of additional crimes since your petit larceny conviction, and whether you have taken steps to improve your life since your conviction.

Still have questions? Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates for help

Even though petit larceny is a misdemeanor and not a felony, if you are arrested for petit larceny you have been accused of committing a crime. The consequences may be jail and will be a criminal record. The decisions made at every step of the criminal process are critical to the ultimate disposition of the case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with petit larceny, grand larceny and other theft crimes. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of grand 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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