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New York Penal Code 155 42 Grand Larceny First Degree

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 09:34 am

New York Penal Code 155.42 Grand Larceny First Degree

New York Penal Code 155.42 deals with the crime of Grand Larceny in the First Degree. This crime involves stealing property that is valued at over $1 million dollars[1][2]. Grand Larceny First Degree is the most serious larceny offense in New York and is classified as a Class B felony[5].

What is Larceny?

Larceny is defined as wrongfully taking, obtaining, or withholding property from its owner with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. There are several ways larceny can occur, including[1]:

  • Trespassory taking – physically taking someone’s property without permission
  • Extortion – obtaining property through threats
  • Trick – obtaining property through deception
  • Embezzlement – misappropriating property entrusted to you
  • False pretenses – obtaining property by making false representations
  • Bad checks – obtaining property by writing a bad check

Larceny does not require that the property be permanently kept away from the owner. Even if the property is later returned, if it was taken with intent to deprive the owner, larceny has occurred[6].

Elements of Grand Larceny First Degree

For a defendant to be convicted under Penal Code 155.42, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt[3][4]:

  • The defendant stole property from an owner
  • The defendant did so with intent to deprive the owner of that property or appropriate the property.
  • The value of the property exceeded $1 million at the time and place of the taking

Property Value

The key factor that distinguishes Grand Larceny First Degree from other larceny offenses is the value of the stolen property. For a larceny charge to qualify as First Degree Grand Larceny, the property must be proven to be worth over $1 million[2][3].

If the prosecution cannot conclusively establish that the property was worth at least $1 million, then the charge may be reduced to a lesser degree of grand larceny[3]. For example:

  • Grand Larceny Second Degree – property value over $50,000 (Class C felony)
  • Grand Larceny Third Degree – property value over $3,000 (Class D felony)
  • Grand Larceny Fourth Degree – property value over $1,000 (Class E felony)

However, even a conviction on a lesser grand larceny charge can result in substantial prison time. So it is critical to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing any grand larceny accusations.


Grand Larceny First Degree is a Class B felony, the second most serious felony classification in New York[5]. If convicted, the possible sentences include:

  • Up to 25 years in prison[1][5]
  • For first time offenders, a mandatory minimum sentence of 1-3 years in prison[1]
  • For defendants with a prior felony, a mandatory minimum of 4.5-9 years in prison[1]

In addition to imprisonment, a fine of up to double the amount of the stolen property (up to $2 million) may be imposed[4]. Probation or a conditional discharge may not be granted for Grand Larceny First Degree, even for first time offenders[4].


  • Lack of intent – The prosecution cannot prove you intended to permanently deprive the owner of property. For example, you borrowed something without permission but intended to return it.
  • Consent – The property owner consented to you taking or using the property in question.
  • Intoxication – You were involuntarily intoxicated at the time of the alleged crime and thus could not form the requisite intent.
  • Value dispute – The property was not actually worth $1 million as required for First Degree Grand Larceny. Evidence such as appraisals can be used to dispute the prosecution’s valuation.


Grand Larceny First Degree is the most serious larceny charge in New York, applied when the value of stolen property exceeds $1 million. If convicted, you face the possibility of decades in prison. But an experienced criminal defense attorney can carefully examine the prosecution’s case and build strong defenses to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

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