Misdemeanor Larceny

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What is Misdemeanor Larceny?

Misdemeanor larceny is a particular type of criminal charge involving theft.  Larceny is usually defined as the illegal taking away of another person’s property, with the intent to deprive them permanently of the object.  Thus, a person needs to have the required mindset combined with the conduct in order to be found guilty of larceny.

In most jurisdictions, larceny is defined as a misdemeanor.  However, this can depend on various factors, most important of which is the amount stolen.  Misdemeanor larceny usually involves thefts of property or money that is worth a minimal amount.  A typical ceiling is $3,000 in many jurisdictions.  Thus, thefts of property worth up to $3,000 will result in a misdemeanor larceny charge rather than a felony larceny charge.  Again, these figures may vary by region.

What are Some Legal Penalties for Misdemeanor Larceny?

Misdemeanor larceny, also known as “common theft”, typically results in legal penalties associated with other misdemeanor charges.  These generally include monetary fines up to $1,000, along with a possible sentence in a local or county jail facility (usually up to 1 year maximum).

In addition, some criminal misdemeanor larceny cases also result in what is called “criminal restitution”.  This is where the defendant is required to pay the victim back for losses caused by the theft.  These are penalties that are levied in addition to the standard sentences.  Criminal restitution is common in cases where the theft has also resulted in property damage.

Are There Any Defenses to Misdemeanor Larceny?

As mentioned, the defendant needs to be found with criminal intent at the time of the theft.  Thus, if the defendant didn’t actually intend to permanently deprive the person of the item, or if they mistakenly believed the item was their own, they might not be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

Other common defenses to misdemeanor larceny include intoxication, or coercion (i.e., someone else was forcing them to steal the object under threat of harm).

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Misdemeanor Larceny Charges?

Misdemeanor larceny can result in criminal consequences for the defendant.  If you need assistance with misdemeanor larceny charges, you may need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area.  Your attorney can help provide you with the legal guidance needed for your defense.  Also, your lawyer will be able to explain to you your rights and defenses in relation to your case. 

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Last Modified: 03-08-2013 12:02 PM PST

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