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What Are the Laws Regarding Theft Crimes in New York?

 Posted on May 13, 2020 in Criminal Defense

Bronx theft defense attorney

If you are accused of theft in New York, this charge can encompass a variety of criminal offenses. Therefore, it is worth understanding the extensive rules that define what these crimes can be and how they might be punished. This will play a large role in how you and your defense attorney will proceed. In some cases, the penalties may include fines and prison time. There is no better way to develop a solid defense than to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. With that said, it is important to understand how New York laws might affect your case.

New York Larceny Laws

Larceny is an old English word that equates to theft. There are two main categories of theft in New York: petit larceny and grand larceny. Both involve a person intentionally depriving another of his or her property. Theft by wrongful taking of another person's property, tricking, embezzling, false pretenses, false promises, and extortion are all considered larceny under New York law. It is important to note that if a person is aware that he or she has acquired lost property but does not put forth an effort to return it, he or she can face similar theft charges as those of someone who purposefully takes someone else's property. Extortion is a broad category that includes obtaining someone else's property through threats to physically harm someone in the future, to damage property, to engage in other criminal activity, and other willful acts.

Petit larceny, which is also referred to as petty theft, is a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 364 days. Theft of certain types of property or in certain circumstances may be charged as grand larceny, which is a felony offense. For example, grand larceny in the fourth degree may be charged for theft of property valued over $1,000 or when property is stolen through extortion. This is a Class E felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to four years. Charges of grand larceny in the third degree will apply if the property stolen is worth more than $3,000 or if money is stolen from an ATM. This is a Class D felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to seven years.

Defenses for Larceny in New York

Although each criminal theft case warrants an individualized approach based on its unique circumstances, there are a few common tactics attorneys use when contesting a larceny accusation. These can include:

  • Owner’s consent: The defendant may argue that the alleged stolen property’s owner had given permission to take the item.

  • A claim of right made in good faith: This could apply if the defendant had good reason to believe that he or she had a valid claim to the property.

  • Reasonable belief in the truth of threat: The accused may claim to have acted out of defense if he or she was being threatened somehow.

  • Truth or ambiguity of statement: This can constitute a defense where the defendant believes the accuser misunderstood him or her and that the accused did not acquire property through false pretenses.

Contact a Bronx County Theft Defense Attorney 

When facing criminal charges for larceny, professional legal assistance is a necessity. With The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC, you will get the knowledge of someone who has spent 25 years working in the criminal justice system. Gregory has law enforcement experience and a deep understanding of how to defend against serious charges. Our skilled Bronx criminal defense lawyers will aggressively fight for your rights and help you secure a positive outcome to your case. Call us today at 646-580-6675 to schedule a private consultation.




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