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What Are Different Types Of Theft Charges?

The minimum type of theft charge is called, “Petty Larceny,” which means stealing something up to the value of $1,000. This frequently happens when people go places like departmental stores and take clothing, jewelry, or things of that nature. This theft falls under a misdemeanor category and is handled in local town courts or village courts.

In the case of this petty larceny, someone could face $1,000 fine, 3-years’ probation, or a maximum penalty of up to 1-year in jail. These types of charges frequently involve a young person committing a first offense. This is something that is really ripe for a plea bargain, a reduced plea, or something of that nature.

When the taken amount is so low and the person has no criminal history, the prosecutor frequently allows him to get an “Adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (ACD),” which basically states that as long as the person stays out of trouble for 6 months, the charges will be dismissed. It will seem as if he’s never been arrested before.

Other alternatives include a reduced, non-misdemeanor charge called a “Criminal Violation” or something like “Disorderly Conduct.” The benefit of a reduced charge, if a person is not a misdemeanor, is that the individual’s fingerprints, mug-shots, and record would be sealed.

If this person was convicted with the criminal charges of a petty larceny, then no matter what age he was, he would have a criminal record for his lifetime. Thusly, when he files applications for schools or a job, he will have to answer “yes” to being convicted of a crime.

Frequently, the lawyer is able to obtain a plea bargain and plea down the misdemeanor or petty larceny charge if the person had no prior criminal history and/or the person was young with a limited prior criminal history.

The next level up is felonies, which are more serious charges in New York State. They are punishable up to a state prison sentence. Felonies are tried in county courts instead of town or village courts.

The lowest level of felony is called a grand larceny. Grand larcenies go up in scale from fourth degree to first degree, depending on how much was taken and the minimum level of felony. The misdemeanor stops at $1,000. Therefore, someone who took over $1,000 would go into the felony level, thus committing a grand larceny.

The levels and the penalties increase with the amount taken. The basic probationary sentence with a misdemeanor is 3 years’ probation. For a felony, the basic would be 5 years’ probation. The person would get a state prison sentence or one year in county jail. However, this depends on the level of the grand larceny. This is based on the amount taken.

Many people think of the burglary charge as a related charge, because a burglary charge frequently involves stealing from someone’s house. However, the burglary charge basically involves going into a premises, whether it is some sort of building, a commercial premises, or someone’s house, with the intent to commit any crime inside that premises.

The usual crime committed is larceny, either a petty larceny or a grand larceny. Because all burglary charges are felonies, this would be charged as a felony regardless of the amount taken.

The sentence is based upon the amount stolen and the level of the burglary, which is based upon what was done inside the premises, what type of premises was entered, and whether the person was armed or unarmed when he entered the premises.

Does The Severity Of The Punishment Or The Penalty Depend On The Dollar Amount?

The amount stolen determines the level of crime charged, which is the first factor to look at when determining the severity of the penalty. The term “Petty Larceny” is automatically just a misdemeanor, limited up to $1,000. Therefore, it’s a petty larceny if the person stole less than $1,000.

The actual sentence is frequently determined by how much the person actually stole. Someone who stole a $900 television set has a greater penalty than someone who stole a $15 pair of earrings, although the penalties the person face would still be within the confines of the maximum penalties for a misdemeanor. However, the person who stole something more valuable would be more likely to have a jail sentence or a probationary sentence than the person who stole the lesser valuable thing.

Once over $1,000 is stolen, the level of the grand larceny is determined solely upon how much was stolen. Stealing, in this case, is not simply someone going into a store and stealing. It also includes the common white-collar crimes generally referred to as embezzlement. This also falls into the grand larceny classification.

Where Do People Typically Shoplift And What Are Some Typical Items?

People typically shoplift from stores, whether it is a departmental store or a super market. To a certain extent, what they take depends largely upon who they are and what they are looking for.

For example, many teenage girls will take earrings or perfume, whereas other people might take things that could be sold out. Drug addicts take things that can later be sold to somebody else for money.

What Reasons Do People Give For Shoplifting Scenarios?

Generally, people give a two-faced answer. Frequently, people will say they forgot to pay for something, or they did not realize they hadn’t paid. Sometimes a person in a supermarket will have something in the bottom of the cart, underneath the actual cart on the rack, and say he forgot to pay for it.

The reality is that people steal for various reasons. People frequently steal at a supermarket because they need food; they steal from a departmental store because they do not have the money to pay for clothes or, more precisely, they don’t have the money to pay for the clothes they want.

The third category, which is the largest category of people who steal regularly, are people who have substance abuse problems and are stealing in order to sell the items to somebody else.

When teenagers steal, they usually haven’t thought about the consequences. Stealing was something they heard their friends were doing, so they just did it without really thinking. Usually, they take things they don’t think other people will miss, and then they get caught.

Do Some Cases Involve Automobile Theft?

Auto theft occurs, but it is not as big or as prevalent as other thefts, like grand larcenies, for example. Stealing cars offers another area in which the person can sometimes be charged with criminal possession of stolen property instead of the theft of the car, because the prosecutor can only prove that the person had the car, not that the person stole the car. In this case, the person might have bought it from somebody.

Auto theft frequently falls under criminal possession of stolen property if the person gets caught with the stolen car. However, most auto theft is actually intentional crime that allows cars to be shipped overseas for a black market. Alternately, the theft allows cars to be taken apart for used parts.

The theft can also be a crime of convenience when someone tries to get away from something quickly. In this case, he simply jumped in the car and took it.

Would Theft By Deception Refer To A Fraud Or Scam Theft?

Yes. Theft by deception is like a fraud or a scam.

Technically speaking, it would be a theft by deception if someone bought a fake Rolex watch. This is because the person selling it claimed it was a Rolex watch, and the buyer paid more than the value of that actual watch, thinking it was a Rolex.

The category of the theft and the level of crime would fall largely upon how much was stolen.

What Are Some Examples Of Theft That People Are Not Generally Aware Of?

People might not be aware that selling fake goods as real goods, like a knock-off Nike shirt, a knock-off bag, or a knock-off watch is a crime. Furthermore, people often don’t know that using someone else’s credit card without his permission is a crime.

Using someone’s car without permission is also technically a classification of theft. It’s called, “Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.”

What Does Theft By Extortion Refer To?

Technically speaking, a kidnapping for ransom is a theft by extortion. In this case, the perpetrators are forcing someone to give them money.

Oftentimes, people extort money from victims because they know about an illicit relationship the victim had with another. This is seen often in the newspaper. The federal government frequently prosecutes these types of cases because these ransom demands or threats of murder go through the mail.

The good, old-fashioned high school bullying situation, in which the bully steals lunch money from some other child, is also theft by extortion. The other child is being forced against his will to give the money. This is different than theft by deception, in which the person voluntarily gives the money in order to receive a knock-off.

For more information on Theft Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (914)788-4126 today.


Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.



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