Larceny is a theft crime that involves the unlawful taking and carrying away of the personal property of another person. In order to be found guilty of larceny, the court must also show that the defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the use of that property.

Larceny is often called by many different terms, such as “common theft” or even just “theft”. The exact definition of larceny may vary by state or local statutes. Larceny typically begins as a misdemeanor charge, but can also result in felony charges in some instances.

Are There Different Types of Larceny?

Depending on the laws in the region, courts may divide larceny into many different sub-categories. These sub-categories usually include:

  • Misdemeanor larceny– This is usually defined as thefts below a certain dollar amount, such as $3,000. The amount may vary by region.
  • Felony larceny– Larceny above a certain dollar amount, usually around $3,000-$5000. There can also be various degrees of felony larceny.
  • Petty larceny- Often used as a synonym for misdemeanor larceny. It may be called petit larceny in some states.
  • Grand larceny– Theft over a certain amount. It is often used as a synonym for felony larceny.
  • Constructive larceny– Certain types of theft where the defendant obtains the property through legal means, but later on develops criminal intent to keep it unlawfully.

Other types of theft crimes may also be categorized under larceny statutes, such as shoplifting and embezzlement

What Are the Penalties for Larceny?

Penalties for larceny often depend on the value of the property stolen. It also matters much whether the charges are filed as misdemeanors or as felonies. For misdemeanor larceny and petty larceny, legal consequences may include some criminal fines, as well as jail time of up to one year. For felony larceny, penalties may increase to include higher fines, and time in prison for greater than one year.

As mentioned, felony larceny can be sub-divided into degrees. More serious felony larceny charges can result in longer prison sentences, such as 5 or 15 years. Various criminal defenses may be available to the defendant, depending on the facts of the case.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Larceny Issues?

Larceny can sometimes lead to major legal consequences. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you need assistance or guidance when it comes to theft charges. Your attorney can help research the laws in your state and can inform you of what your legal options are. Also, when it comes to court hearings and meetings, your lawyer can be present to provide you with representation.