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Nothing Grand About Larceny Charges

Stealing something seems like a fairly straightforward act. Most people would likely consider this theft and leave it at that. However, the law is not quite as simple. The taking of someone else’s property can take the form of many different crimes under the law. When you are charged with a crime, the distinction between property charges typically hinges on what was stolen. This is why charges can range from things like grand larceny, to petit larceny, to possession of stolen property, and then different degrees of those crimes.

Variety in Theft Crimes

ABC 7 News recently reported on a man from Rockland County who was charged with multiple theft crimes. Christopher Landes is accused of committing upwards of 60 larcenies over a two year period. Landes allegedly took property from cars, sheds, and houses, both occupied and unoccupied. Most of the property was pawned, but some of it was recovered. After his arrest, Landes was held in jail on a $5,000 cash bond. The bond was based on charges of burglary, grand larceny, petit larceny, and even criminal possession of stolen property.

Grand larceny is divided into different degrees in New York. First degree grand larceny in New York, NYPL 155.42, covers property involved in a theft if the value of the property exceeded $1 million. Second degree, third degree, and fourth degree grand larceny each have thresholds of $50,000, $3,000, and $1,000 respectively. Although each grand larceny charge carries its own sentencing guidelines, each form of grand larceny constitutes a felony charge. This is significantly different than the charge of petit larceny, often referred to as “petty larceny.” As you can imagine, petit larceny covers theft of property, not covered by a form of grand larceny. The lower threshold is why most people associate petit larceny with shoplifting.

Petit Larceny vs. Shoplifting

Not all shoplifting falls under the category of petit larceny though. Take, for example, the case of Francis Carillo. On April 11, 2016 The Patch reported on Carillo for shoplifting at the Macy’s in the Palisades mall. Carillo was allegedly taking clothing from the store, but he was not charged with petit larceny. Since the merchandise he was taking was valued at $1,200, he was taken to Rockland County Jail and charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, as well as criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree. Both charges constitute felonies.

Even though Carillo was allegedly shoplifting from a retail store, the value of the goods he was charged with played an instrumental role in his charges. A difference of $200 made the difference between felony and misdemeanor charges. Although a couple hundred dollars may not seem like a lot, this could be the difference between a small fine and serious jail time for Carillo.

If you or a loved one are being charged with theft related crimes, you are probably wondering exactly what you are being charged with. Even after you get the charges, the specifics of your case may make it so that you could alter your charges, or even dismiss them. The best way to make this happen is with the assistance of a licensed New York criminal defense attorney like Phillip J. Murphy. Phillip J. Murphy is licensed to practice in New York and has been practicing law since 1989. Contact us today to discuss your options.

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