Suffolk County Grand Larceny in the Third Degree

Grand larceny in the third degree is one of 5 New York grand larceny charges. It is the second least severe. Larceny is the legal term for theft. There are 2 types of larceny: petit larceny and grand larceny. Petit larceny is the misdemeanor larceny charge and grand larceny is the felony larceny charge. There are number of types of larceny including extortion, vehicle theft, and fraud. In addition, there are 4 degrees of the grand larceny charge: fourth degree, third degree, second degree and third degree. Even though there are grand larceny charges that are more severe than grand larceny in the third degree, it is still a felony and if convicted you can face a jail term of several years. Because of the possible consequences, if you are charged with third degree grand larceny, the best course of action is to contact a Suffolk County Grand Larceny in the Third Degree Lawyer who understands New York criminal law and who will vigorously defend you.

Under N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.35, you will be charged with grand larceny in the third degree if you take property that belongs to another person and

  • The value of the property is more than $3,000, or
  • The property is an automated teller machine (ATM) or the contents of an ATM machine.

In addition to grand larceny in the third degree, New York law includes 5 other larceny charges: petit larceny, grand larceny in the fourth degree, grand larceny in the second degree, grand larceny in the first degree, and aggravated grand larceny of an automated teller machine. Grand larceny in the third degree is one of the larceny charges which is a felony, meaning that if convicted you could face several years in prison.

The Different Types of Larceny

In general grand larceny in the third degree is distinguishable from other types of larceny based on the value of the property at issue. The prosecutor will charge you with grand larceny in the third degree if the value of the property you are accused of stealing is more than $3,000 but not more than $50,000.

Petit larceny, on the other hand, will be the charge if the value of the property does not exceed $1,000. It is a misdemeanor. Like grand larceny in the fourth degree, second degree and first degree, grand larceny in the third degree is a felony. However, grand larceny in the third degree is more serious than grand larceny in the fourth degree. For a fourth degree charge, the value of property must exceed $1,000 but not exceed $3,000. It is the least serious grand larceny charge. On the other hand, grand larceny in the second degree and first degree are the most serious grand larceny charges. For a grand larceny in the second degree charge, the property must have a value of more than $50,000, but not more than $1,000,000. For grand larceny in the first degree, the value of the property must be more than $1,000,000.

Automated Teller Machine

In addition to the requirement that the value of the property must be more than $3,000 and not more than $50,000, you will be faced with a grand larceny in the third degree charge if you steal an automated teller machine or the contents of an automated teller machine. For example, if you withdraw $500 from an ATM from another person's account, instead of being charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, or grand larceny in the fourth degree, you will be charged with grand larceny in the third degree and face years in prison.

Being Arrested for Larceny

If you are arrested because you are a larceny suspect, because of the seriousness of the charge, you will be immediately taken into custody. You will be taken to Central Booking. You will remain in Central Booking for several hours until your arraignment hearing. An arraignment is a hearing before a judge at which you are formally charged. It is when you will learn the exact charges you will face. While you may be under the impression that you are being charged with grand larceny in the third degree, at the time of your arraignment you may discover that the prosecutor decided to charge you with additional crimes, or even a more serious larceny charge.

The judge will also make a decision about bail at your arraignment. The judge may set a dollar amount for your bail, decide that you should be held without bail, or you may be released on your own recognizance. You will be told the date of your next hearing.

Defenses to a Grand Larceny Charge

Value of the Property
A critical element of a grand larceny in the third degree charge, or any larceny charge, is the value of the property. The prosecutor will seek to charge you with the most serious possible crime, and will argue that the value of the property is more than $3,000. New York Penal law specifies how to determine the value of property. Generally, the value of property is the market value of the property at the time and place it was taken. If that cannot be determined, then the value will be the replacement cost as of a reasonable time after the property was taken. If the property is gas, water, steam, or electricity, then the value is based on its value during any consecutive 12-month period. However, the statute also provides that if the property's value cannot be determined based on these methods, then its value will be deemed to be less than $250. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.20

If you can show that the value of the property is less than $3,000, then you cannot be charged with grand larceny in the third degree. The prosecutor will have to lower the charge to either grand larceny in the fourth degree or petit larceny. If convicted of either of these two crimes, your maximum possible sentence will be less than if you were convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree.

Of course the exception to this general rule is if the property you are accused of stealing is an ATM or the contents of an ATM. That the value of this property is less than $3,000 would not be a defense.

Lack of Intent
Another critical element of any larceny charge is that you must have had the intent to deprive the owner of the property at issue. It is not unusual for there to be a misunderstanding about intent. If you borrowed the item, took it by mistake, or did not realize that you took the item, you have a defense to a charge of grand larceny in the third degree or any larceny charge.

Rightful Taking
A defense that is similar to the "lack of intent" defense is that you reasonably believed that you had the right to take the property. In other words, you did not have the intent to steal because you believed that the item was yours, or that you had the right to take it for some other reason. Under the larceny statute, however, you can only use the rightful taking defense if you are charged with grand larceny in the third degree based on trespassory taking or embezzlement. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.15.

Penalty for Grand Larceny in the Third Degree

While grand larceny in the third degree is not the most serious grand larceny charge, it is a Class D felony. If you are convicted, you will face a maximum prison sentence of up to 7 years. However, if you are a first time offender there is no mandatory minimum sentence. It is even possible that you will be sentenced to no prison time, but just to probation. If you do have a prior felony conviction, the law requires that you serve a minimum prison sentence if you are convicted of a another felony offense.

If your sentence does include probation, during the 5 years of probation you will be required to follow strict rules. The rules vary depending on many factors, but may include that you must not commit a crime, you must have a job, you must support your family, you must refrain from associating with disreputable people or patronizing disreputable places, and that you cannot leave the jurisdiction without permission. If you break any of the rules, then your probation officer may violate you. You will then be required to appear before a judge. If the judge agrees that you have violated your probation, you may be sent to jail.

Additional Consequence

Once you serve your jail, prison or probation sentence, there will be an additional consequence that may affect the rest of your life. You will have a criminal record that includes a serious felony. Nowadays, most employers will run a criminal background check before hiring. If you have a felony conviction for theft, the employer may conclude that it would be too risky to hire you. In fact, there are some jobs that you cannot hold if you have a felony record, such as teaching. Furthermore, even employers who are willing to hire those criminal records may be hesitant to hire someone with a history of stealing.

If you have been charged with grand larceny in the third degree, or any other larceny charge, it is important to be represented by an experienced Suffolk County grand larceny in the third degree lawyer. The consequence of being convicted may included years in prison, as well as a criminal record that will impact the rest of your life. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with theft crimes such as grand larceny in the third degree as well as other types of grand larceny, petit larceny, possession of stolen property, burglary, and robbery. 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 grand larceny in the following locations:

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