Suffolk County Grand Larceny of a Vehicle

Grand larceny of a vehicle, commonly referred to as grand theft auto or car theft, is one of the most common crimes in New York. Despite high tech anti-theft devices standard to most cars, car theft remains common, costing victims and insurance companies billions of dollar annually. Grand larceny of a vehicle does not only involve stealing cars. It also refers to stealing other motorized vehicles such as trucks, SUVs or minivans. Grand larceny does not only refer to stealing vehicles. It can mean stealing money, personal property, computer data, credit cards, electronics, scientific data, or just about anything of value. Depending on factors such as the value of the property stolen, the criminal charge will be either a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony is more serious than a misdemeanor and the punishment is more severe. In the case of a theft of a car or other vehicle, the charge will likely be a felony. This means that if you are convicted of grand larceny of a vehicle, you will probably be sent to sent to prison. If you are charged with grand larceny of a vehicle or any other type of theft, contact an experienced Suffolk County Grand Larceny of a Vehicle Lawyer who will aggressively defend you throughout the criminal process.

Types of Grand Larceny

Under the New York law there are several different types of larceny crimes. A larceny charge could be petit larceny or grand larceny. A grand larceny charge may be grand larceny in the fourth degree, grand larceny in the third degree, grand larceny in the second degree, and grand larceny in the first degree. For each of the larceny charges, the property value must be:

  • • Petit larceny: $1,000 or less
  • • Grand larceny in the fourth degree: Greater than $1,000, but not more than $3,000.
  • • Grand larceny in the third degree: Greater than $3,000, but not more than $50,000.
  • • Grand larceny in the second degree: Greater than $50,000, but not more than $1,000,000
  • • Grand larceny in the first degree: Greater than $1,000,000

If the property taken is a vehicle, than the rules is different. If the vehicle has a value that is more than $100, then the charge will be grand larceny in the fourth degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(8). If the value is $100 or less, then the charge will be petit larceny, misdemeanor. Most cars, at least most cars that people want to steal, have a value that is significantly more than $100. Thus, if you are accused of stealing a car, at a minimum the charge will be grand larceny in the fourth degree. The higher the value of the car, the more serious the grand larceny charge.

For purposes of the grand larceny statute, a vehicle must be motorized. In other words, the vehicle cannot be bike. Other vehicles that are excluded from the definition of vehicle include motorcycles, electric wheelchairs, snowmobiles, ATVs, fire or police vehicles, farm tractors and certain other farm equipment. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.30(8); N.Y. VTL § 125

Defenses

As with any larceny charge, there may be defenses available to you that if proven, may result in the charges against you being reduced or dropped altogether. Or they may cause you to be acquitted of the charges.

Claim of Right Defense. If you took the vehicle with a good faith belief that you had the right to take it, then under the grand larceny statute you may have a valid claim of right defense to a charge of grand larceny of a vehicle. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.15. To use this defense, it is not necessary for your belief to be correct or even reasonable. If you mistakenly believed that you had a right to take the car, then you did not have the intent required by the statute to commit larceny.

Lack of Intent to Deprive. If your simply borrowed the vehicle and intended to return it, then you may be able defeat grand larceny of a vehicle charges.

Consent. If the owner of the vehicle gave you permission to use it, then you did not steal it. It is not uncommon for someone charged with stealing a car to have taken the car based on having in the past received permission from the owner to use the car in the past. This defense may be valid if you believed that you still have permission to use the vehicle.

Punishment for Grand Larceny of a Vehicle

The punishment for grand larceny of a vehicle depends on the grand larceny charge. The range of punishment is up to 25 years in prison.

Petit larceny. If you take a vehicle that is worth $100 or less, you would be charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor. Your sentence could be up to 1 year in jail, 3 years probation, or a combination of jail and probation. It is likely that you will also be ordered to pay restitution.

Grand larceny in the fourth degree. If you are convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree based on stealing a car or other vehicle, you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison, 5 years of probation, restitution or a combination of these 3 penalties. For first time offenders there is not a required minimum sentence. However, if you have a prior felony conviction, the minimum sentence for grand larceny in the fourth degree is 1.5 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the third degree. If you are convicted of grand larceny in the third degree based on taking a vehicle car that has a value of more than $3,000 you could be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison, 5 years probation, restitution or a combination of the three. For first time offenders there is no minimum sentence. However, if you have a prior felony conviction, the minimum sentence for third degree grand larceny is 2-4 years in prison.

If you have been charged with grand larceny of a vehicle, you should immediately seek legal guidance. A criminal conviction may land you in prison and 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 grand larceny of a vehicle, as well as other types of grand larceny, petit larceny, burglary, possession of stolen property, as well as other types of crimes. 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:

CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529)