Misdemeanor Larceny vs. Felony Larceny
Misdemeanor Larceny vs. Felony Larceny
The Blanch Law Firm provides experienced legal representation of clients facing all types of felony and/or misdemeanor charges in state or federal district court. Some recent cases notable for our expert criminal defense of clients charged with Larceny include:
■Our client, who was charged with six Larceny counts, was also facing an additional six Forgery counts. Despite an allegation that our client had made a full confession to both Grand Larceny and Forgery charges, we managed to obtain dismissal of all counts.
■Our client was charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (meaning theft of property amounting to more than $50,000.00 in value) and faced mandatory jail time. We got the charge dismissed.
■Our client was charged in state court with Embezzling $188,000.00 of his employer’s money. If convicted after trial, our client faced a sentence of at least one year in jail. Through skillful pre-trial negotiation, we secured a disposition requiring no jail time whatsoever for the client.
Defining the Criminal Offense of Larceny
Larceny means a wrongful taking of property. According to Penal Law Section (or Article) 155.05, larceny occurs when, with intent to deprive the owner, an individual appropriates to himself, obtains, or withholds the property from another person.
Punishment for the crime of larceny varies in severity based on the value of the wrongfully taken property. Grand Larceny simply means unlawfully taking property a larger (hence the term “Grand” Larceny) scale, as opposed to a smaller (hence the term “Petit” Larceny) one.
Grand Larceny and Petit Larceny Defined in the Criminal Law
Grand larceny is a function of the value of stolen property: if the amount exceeds $1 million, it’s Grand Larceny in the First Degree; if the amount is more than $50,000.00 but less than $1 million, it’s Grand Larceny in the Second Degree; if the amount exceeds $3,000.00 but less than $50,000.00, it’s Grand Larceny in the Third Degree; and if the amount exceeds $1,000.00 but less than $3,000.00, or the property consists of credit cards, firearms, public records, or certain technology, it’s Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree.
All Grand Larceny charges are felonies, although the penalties for conviction also vary in severity. However, because every one of them is punishable by a term of imprisonment of at least six months, a defendant is entitled to a jury trial.
By contrast, Petit Larceny, which is defined in Penal Law Section (or Article) 155.25 simply as “stealing property”, is a misdemeanor. Generally speaking, Petit Larceny as a sole charge is unlikely to result in a jury trial.
Affirmative Defense Available to Larceny Charges
According to Penal Law Section (or Article) 155.15, if a defendant took the property “under a claim of right in good faith”, meaning that the defendant reasonably believed the property was his, then it is a valid defense to a prosecution for the allegedly wrongful taking. But it is an affirmative defense, meaning that the defense must establish it at trial, rather than the prosecution. Mounting this type of defense is somewhat different from standard criminal procedure, which requires that the prosecution prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
At trial, the Blanch Law Firm’s seasoned attorneys will cross-examine the prosecution’s hostile witnesses and counter with friendly witnesses, offer evidence that helps you, and argue in your defense, including affirmative defenses, where necessary. In countless cases, our attorneys’ masterful courtroom skills have made the difference between conviction and acquittal.
Aggressive, Proactive Defense is the Best Strategy
If you have been charged with Petit Larceny or Grand Larceny, don’t hesitate to obtain experienced legal counsel. To arrange an initial consultation, Contact The Blanch Law Firm by calling (646) 706-7722.