Some states use the terms “theft” and “larceny” interchangeably, whereas others define them differently. New York is one of those states that distinguishes between the to.
Larceny is a type of theft crime in which the perpetrator withholds, wrongfully takes or wrongfully obtains the property of another. Their intent is to deprive the owner of the property. Issuing a bad check is an example of larceny. Other forms of larceny are embezzlement, extortion, taking property under false pretenses and tricking others into taking their property.
Criminal defense lawyers may look into whether a type of theft counts as robbery. If you used force or threatened force in order to steal the property, then this is robbery and a felony. Penalties for robbery are more severe when the perpetrator uses a weapon or causes someone’s injury during the crime.
Misdemeanor or felony
Larceny is either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen property. Misdemeanor larceny, more frequently called petit larceny, usually doesn’t result in jail time, and when it does, the jail sentence isn’t long. Most felony larceny sentences have shorter sentences than robbery because they don’t involve violence. Having a criminal history, however, could result in a stricter sentencing.
New York refers to a felony larceny charge as grand larceny. Stealing or withholding property that is over $1,000 in value is grand larceny. There are four degrees of grand larceny with the first degree consisting of stolen property valued at over $1 million. It could result in a 25-year prison sentence.
Sometimes, an instance that you might think is petit larceny is actually grand larceny. The rule of $1,000 isn’t always held. Stealing directly from a person could make the crime grand larceny even when the stolen property isn’t over $1,000. An example of stealing directly is pickpocketing someone.