Theft of Property
About the Charge of Petit Larceny
Larceny occurs when someone takes or withholds property from its owner. There are several classes of larceny. Petit Larceny is the lowest level, distinguished from Grand Larceny primarily by the value of the property that is stolen: most stolen property worth under $1,000 will constitute Petit Larceny. However, there are exceptions (such as credit cards, firearms, and religious items worth more than $100) that will elevate the charge to Grand Larceny.
When the Charge of Petit Larceny Applies
The most common form of Petit Larceny is shoplifting. This charge will apply when a person takes items from a store (unless the items are worth more than $1,000). A person can be charged with this crime even if they don’t leave the store with the items. For example, if someone places an item into their pocket or bag, they might be charged on the ground that they were concealing the item and intending to steal it.
Petit Larceny does not only apply to shoplifting. People have been charged with this crime in New York State for using a doctored MetroCard at subway turnstiles, for removing a landlord’s surveillance cameras from a rental property, and for taking mail from a mailbox. Petit Larceny can also be charged when someone possesses another person’s property and refuses to return it—for example, if an acquaintance loans you a cell phone and you walk off with it.
NY PENAL § 155.25: The Charge of Petit Larceny
The New York State penal code states:
A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property. Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor.
What are the potential consequences of a Petit Larceny charge?
Petit Larceny is a Class A Misdemeanor, which means that there is no mandatory prison sentence. If you are convicted of this charge, you may be sentenced to two or three years probation or a fine as high as $1,000. However, you can also be sentenced to up to a year in a county or city jail. In addition, prosecutors in Nassau, Queens, and Suffolk counties will often charge additional counts, such as Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree.
If you are accused of Petit Larceny, you can be arrested or issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). If you are issued a DAT, you will be able to go home, but you are required to appear for arraignment at the appropriate courthouse depending on whether you are charged in Nassau, Queens, or Suffolk county. No matter what, you should be sure to consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible and don’t admit to anything unless your lawyer instructs you to do so.
What Should I Do Next?
If you are charged with Petit Larceny, it is important that you take the charge seriously and consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Do not admit any wrongdoing to police or anyone else, even if you are promised a favorable deal. Businesses will often falsely promise to let you go if you admit to stealing, but this admission can be used against you in court. Your lawyer understands the law and knows how prosecutors pursue Petit Larceny cases, and there are usually many options available to you, including pursuing an outright dismissal of the charge.
If you have been arrested for petit larceny in Nassau, Suffolk or Queens County, call Scott J. Limmer without delay
You can contact Scott by phone at 516-742-2300 to speak to him immediately. He is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round and your initial consultation is free.
Nassau County Criminal Law Office
200 Old Country Road Suite 2 S Mineola, NY 11501 Telephone: 516-742-2300
Queens County Criminal Law Office
80-02 Kew Gardens Road Suite 300 Kew Gardens, NY 11415 Telephone: 718-742-6300