Larceny can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property that was stolen. In New York, the statute of limitations for grand larceny is five years. The statute of limitations is the limited time period that the state has in which to initiate a criminal case against a defendant. All levels of grand larceny in New York are felonies.
Petit larceny is a Class A misdemeanor. New York Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) 30.10(2)(b) or (c) holds that a prosecution for a misdemeanor must be initiated within two years after the commission of the crime.
Degrees of Grand Larceny in New York
According to New York Penal Law (PL), the four degrees of grand larceny are:
- Grand larceny in the first degree (PL 155.42) for property over $1 million.
- grand larceny in the second degree (PL 155.40(1)) for property over $50,000 but less than $1 million.
- Grand larceny in the third degree (PL 155.35) for property over $3,000, but less than $50,000.
- Grand larceny in the fourth degree (PL 155.30(1)) for property over $1,000, but less than $3,000.
A person is guilty of petit larceny when they steal property of an amount less than $3,000.
Grand Larceny in the Second Degree
Grand larceny in the second degree is the correct charge if the property stolen was obtained by extortion committed by instilling in the victim fear that the offender will:
- Cause physical injury to some person in the future.
- Cause damage to property.
- Use or abuse their position as a public servant by engaging in conduct within or related to their official duties or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty in a manner to adversely affect some person.
Grand Larceny in the Third Degree
Grand larceny in the third degree is the correct charge if the property stolen is an automated teller machine (ATM) or the contents of an ATM.
Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree
Grand larceny in the fourth degree is the correct charge if the property:
- Is a public record, writing or instrument kept, filed or deposited according to law with a public office or public servant.
- Is a secret scientific material.
- Is a credit card or debit card.
- Is taken from the person of another, regardless of its nature and value.
- Is obtained by extortion, regardless of its nature and value.
- Consists of one or more firearms, rifles or shotguns.
- Exceeds $100 and consists of a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle.
- Consists of a scroll, religious vestment, vessel, item comprising a display of religious symbols which forms a representative expression of faith or other miscellaneous item of property with a value of at least $100 and is kept for or used in connection with religious worship in any building, structure or upon the curtilage of such building or structure used as a place of religious worship by a religious corporation, as incorporated under the religious corporations law or the education law.
- An access device that the offender intends to use unlawfully to obtain telephone service.
- Is anhydrous ammonia or liquified ammonia gas, and the offender intends to use or knows that another person intends to use this substance to manufacture methamphetamine.
Penalties for Larceny Offenses in New York
The penalties for larceny offenses vary depending on the degree of the offense. The severity for each offense is:
- Grand larceny in the first degree: Class B felony.
- Grand larceny in the second degree: Class C felony.
- Grand larceny in the third degree: Class D felony.
- Grand larceny in the fourth degree: Class E felony.
- Petit larceny: Class A misdemeanor.
The penalty for each offense is:
- Class B felony: Up to 25 years' incarceration and a fine up to $30,000, or double the amount the offender gained from the crime.
- Class C felony: Up to 15 years' incarceration and a fine up to $15,000, or double the amount the offender gained from the crime.
- Class D felony: Up to seven years' incarceration and a fine up to $5,000, or double the amount the offender gained from the crime.
- Class E felony: Up to four years' incarceration and a fine up to $5,000 or double the amount the offender gained from the crime.
- Class A misdemeanor: Up to 364 days in jail or three years' probation and a fine up to $1,000, or double the amount that the offender gained from the crime.
Definitions for Property
- Personal property.
- Real property.
- Computer data.
- Computer program.
- A thing in action.
- Evidence of a debt or contract.
- An article, substance or thing of value, including gas, steam, water or electricity provided for a charge or compensation.
Determining the Value of Stolen Property
The value of stolen property is determined by:
- Market value of the property at the time and place of the crime.
- If market value is unknown, cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the crime.
- Value of certain written instruments, such as a check, draft or promissory note, by the amount on the face of the instrument, less any portion the offender has paid.
- Value of certain instruments, such as a ticket or equivalent, the price stated on the face of the instrument. If no price is stated, the value is the price the issuer charges the general public.
- Value of an instrument that creates or releases a legal right. Obligation is deemed the greatest amount of economic loss the owner might reasonably suffer by losing the instrument.
- Value of gas, steam, water or electricity provided for a charge or compensation is the amount stolen in any consecutive 12-month period.
If the value of property cannot be ascertained by these standards, it will be deemed to be an amount less than $250.
Elements of Crime of Larceny
Larceny is defined as having the intent to deprive another person of property and engaging in an wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of property from the actual owner. The taking may be accomplished through:
- Common law larceny by trespass.
- Common law larceny by trick.
- Obtaining property by false pretenses.
- Acquiring lost property without taking reasonable measures to return the property to the owner.
- Issuing a bad check.
- False promise involving obtaining property of another by promising to engage in certain conduct and not intending to engage in the conduct.
A person obtains property by extortion if they compel or induce another person to deliver property to them or to someone else by instilling in them a fear that if the property is not delivered, the offender will:
- Cause physical injury to some person in the future.
- Cause damage to property.
- Engage in other conduct constituting a crime.
- Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges or removal proceedings to be instituted against that person.
- Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule.
- Cause a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action that is damaging to some person's business.
- Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another person’s legal claim or defense.
- Use or abuse their position as a public servant by performing some act within, or related to, their official duties or failing or refusing to do so in a manner so as to affect a person adversely.
- Perform any other act that would not materially benefit the offender, but that is calculated to harm another person with respect to their health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.
- New York Courts: Statute of Limitations
- New York State Senate: Section 30.10 Timeliness of Prosecutions
- New York State Senate: Section 155.30 Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree
- New York State Senate: Section 155.35 Grand Larceny in the Third Degree
- New York State Senate: Section 155.40 Grand Larceny in the Second Degree
- New York State Senate: Section 155.42 Grand Larceny in the First Degree
- New York State Senate: Section 155.25 Petit Larceny
- New York State Senate: Section 155.00 Larceny, Definition of Terms
- New York State Senate: Section 155.20 Larceny, Value of Stolen Property
- New York State Senate: Section 70.00 Sentence of Imprisonment for Felony
- New York State Senate: Section 70.15 Sentences of Imprisonment for Misdemeanors and Violation
- New York State Senate: Section 80.00 Fine for Felony
- New York State Senate: Section 80.05 Fines for Misdemeanors and Violation
- New York State Senate: Section 155.05 Larceny, Defined
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.