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New York Theft Frequently Asked Questions

What is theft in New York?

Theft can be defined as the unlawful taking of the property of another person or entity. In other words, theft is stealing. Theft is a broad term and in New York there are multiple criminal offenses that are related to theft.

  • Larceny. Larceny is the general term for theft. It is defined as wrongfully taking, obtaining, or withholding property from its lawful owner. There must be the intent to deprive the owner of the property. The other theft crimes described in New York’s penal code all have larceny as the foundation of the crime.
  • Robbery. Robbery is a crime of theft that involves force. It is defined as stealing using physical force, intimidation, or the threat of physical force.
  • Embezzlement. Embezzlement is a type of larceny that involves the fraudulent conversion of funds from the rightful owner another person by someone who was entrusted with the funds, such as an employee.
  • False pretenses. Larceny by false pretenses involves acquiring legitimate title to property through misrepresentation of a material fact with the intent to defraud.
  • Larceny by trick. Larceny by trick involves acquiring possession of property that belongs t someone else through misrepresentation of a material fact with the intent to defraud.
  • Burglary. Burglary is involves unlawfully entering property or remaining on property with the intention of committing a crime. While the crime that the defendant intends to commit can be larceny, a burglary can be committed with the intent of committing another type of crime such as assault or stalking.
What types of property can be involved in a theft crime?

Under New York’s larceny statute, “property” has a very broad definition. In addition to including the traditional meaning of property such as money, personal property, and real property (real estate), the term is also defined as anything of value or anything for which there is a charge such as:

  • Computer-related property such as data or computer program
  • Thing in action
  • Evidence of debt
  • Utilities such as gas, steam, water, or electricity

Anything of value may include intellectual property which would include abilities, skills, talents, or the results of any of these as well as personal services such as labor.

What are some examples of theft?

Stealing anything would be a type of theft. General categories of theft include:

  • Car theft: Sometimes referred to as “grand theft auto ”stealing a car is a type of felony larceny. If the theft of the car involves force such as during a “car jacking,” the offense would be robbery.
  • Petty theft: Petty theft, also called petty larceny is stealing something with a value of $1000 or less. Shoplifting is a common type of petty theft.
  • Cyber theft: Cyber theft is a type of larceny that involves using a computer to access and steal financial records and other confidential information.
  • Identity theft: Identify theft involves using another person’s personal information to commit other crimes such as opening financial accounts. Cyber theft is often used to commit identity theft.
  • Theft of services: Theft of services involves failing to pay for a service. For example, accessing cable or WiFi without paying for it.
Is theft a misdemeanor or felony?

Theft can be either a misdemeanor or felony. Generally, it depends on the value of the property stolen. If the value is $1000 or less, the crime would be petit larceny, a misdemeanor. If the value is over $1000, the crime would be grand larceny, a felony. In addition, robbery is always a felony. Theft of certain types of property is always a felony such as credit cards or secret scientific material.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you or someone you care about is under investigation for a crime of theft such as petit larceny, grand larceny, embezzlement, or robbery, it is critical that you have experienced representation. If you are convicted you could spend years behind bars away from your loved ones, and you will have a permanent criminal record. The skilled criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have more than 2 decades of experience successfully representing clients in New York charged with felonies and misdemeanors. We can help. Contact us at 800.NY.NY.LAW (800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients facing criminal charges in the following locations: Queens, Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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