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New York Larceny Laws

The crime of larceny occurs when someone takes another's property (without the use of force) with the intention of depriving the rightful owner of that property either permanently or for a significant amount of time. Practically speaking, larceny is the same as common theft; the term itself is rooted in English common law. New York is one of a handful of states that still use the term larceny for what is commonly referred to as theft.

New York Larceny Laws at a Glance

Learn more about New York's laws prohibiting larceny in the table below.


Penal Code Section 155.00 et seq.

Elements of Larceny

The accused, when stealing the property, had the specific intent to either:

  1. Cause the property to be withheld from its owner permanently or for such an extended period as to significantly decrease its worth or benefit; or
  2. To exercise control over the property (or enable a third person to do so) permanently or for such an extended period as to reap the major portion of its worth or benefit.
Statutory Definition of "Property"

Any money, personal property, real property, computer data, computer program, thing in action, evidence of debt or contract, or any article, substance or thing of value*, including any gas, steam, water or electricity, which is provided for a charge or compensation.

*Value of the property is determined by its market value at the time and place of the crime, or the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the crime.

  • Owner's consent
  • Claim of right made in good faith
  • Reasonable belief in truth of threat (for extortion)
  • Truth or ambiguity of statement (for obtaining property by false pretenses)
Petit Larceny: Classification and Penalties

Class A misdemeanor; up to 1 year in prison, fine of up to $1,000

Grand Larceny: Classification and Penalties
  • Property exceeding $1,000 in value: class E felony; up to 4 years in prison (min. 1 yr.), plus fines*
  • Property exceeding $3,000 in value: class D felony; up to 7 years in prison (min. 1 yr.), plus fines
  • Property exceeding $50,000 in value: class C felony; up to 15 years in prison (min. 1 yr.), plus fines
  • Property exceeding $1,000,000 in value: class B felony; i[ tp 25 years in prison (min. 1 yr. to 1/3 of the maximum sentence given)

*Fines are typically double the value of the property taken or $5,000, whichever is greater

Note: Check the statute for additional conditions that may give rise to a particular charge.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a New York criminal attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

The Various Methods for Committing Larceny in New York

Section 155.05 enumerates the eight recognized methods for committing larceny. The first four variations are those historically recognized as larceny:

  • Common law larceny by trespassory taking (the taking of personal property from its owner without his or her consent)
  • Common law larceny by trick (the use of fraudulent misrepresentations to come into possession of property)
  • Embezzlement (the conversion of property belonging to another which was entrusted to the embezzler)
  • Obtaining property by false pretenses (the making of an intentionally false statement concerning a material fact to acquire title or possession of personal property)

The latter four variations are more modern derivatives of the offense:

  • Larceny by acquiring lost property
  • Larceny by committing the crime of issuing a bad check
  • Larceny by false promise (obtaining property by means of an express or implied promise to engage in certain conduct in the future pursuant to a scheme to defraud)
  • Larceny by extortion (obtaining property by a wrongful use of fear which is induced by a threat of physical injury, damage to property, or other harmful consequence)

If the prosecution cannot establish that the defendant employed one of the aforementioned means to commit the crime, no conviction may be obtained.

Charged Under New York Larceny Laws? Get Legal Help

Depending on the value of the property allegedly stolen, prior offenses on your record, the underlying circumstances of the incident, and other details, you may be facing several years in prison for a larceny conviction. Your best bet to fight the charges is to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney in New York who will be able to evaluate your case and let you know the defenses available to you.

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