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New York Larceny Trespass And Other Property Crimes

By Spodek Law Group | October 18, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 07:11 pm

New York Larceny, Trespass, and Other Property Crimes

New York has several laws that protect personal property from theft, trespass, and damage. Understanding these laws is important for anyone living in or visiting New York to avoid running afoul of the law. This article provides an overview of the main property crimes in New York, potential penalties, and defenses.


Larceny is the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of it[1]. New York divides larceny charges into misdemeanors and felonies based on the value of the stolen property[2].

Petit Larceny

Petit larceny is the theft of property valued at under $1,000[3]. It is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail[4]. Many petit larceny cases result in no jail time through resolutions like Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD), conditional discharge, community service, restitution, or theft-prevention classes[5].

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny is the theft of property over $1,000. It has four degrees[6]:

  • Fourth Degree: Theft of property worth over $1,000. Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
  • Third Degree: Theft of property worth over $3,000. Class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
  • Second Degree: Theft of property worth over $50,000. Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
  • First Degree: Theft of property worth over $1 million. Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Grand larceny sentences often depend on whether the defendant has prior felonies. First-time nonviolent felons may receive probation instead of prison.


Trespass involves entering or remaining on someone else’s property without permission. There are three degrees of criminal trespass in New York:

  • Third Degree: Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on property. Violation punishable by up to 15 days in jail. Often resolves with no jail time.
  • Second Degree: Same as third degree, but the property is fenced/enclosed or posted with no trespassing signs. Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
  • First Degree: Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling. Class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

Criminal Mischief

Criminal mischief involves intentionally damaging someone else’s property. There are four degrees:

  • Fourth Degree: Damaging any property, regardless of value. Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
  • Third Degree: Damaging property worth over $250. Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
  • Second Degree: Damaging property worth over $1,500. Class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
  • First Degree: Damaging property worth over $1,500 during a riot/other specified crimes. Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

Like larceny, first-time nonviolent offenders may avoid prison.


Common defenses to property crimes include:

  • Lawful presence on property
  • Ownership or right to possess the property
  • Mistake of fact
  • Duress or necessity
  • Lack of intent to commit the crime
  • Misidentification
  • Constitutional rights violation by police

An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence and determine if any defenses apply to your case.

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