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Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 04:35 pm
In New York, larceny is defined as the wrongful taking, obtaining, or withholding of property from its owner with the intent to deprive the owner of that property. Grand larceny charges are based on the value of the property stolen, with higher values leading to more serious charges. Section 155.30 of the New York Penal Law deals with grand larceny in the fourth degree, which involves theft of property valued over $1,000.
For a prosecutor to secure a conviction under PL 155.30, they must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
– The defendant stole property from an owner.
– The property was taken without the owner’s consent.
– The defendant intended to deprive the owner of the property or use it for their own benefit.
– The value of the property exceeded $1,000 at the time of the theft.
The property does not need to be taken directly from the owner’s person. As long as the property belonged to someone else, was taken without permission, and met the value threshold, it can qualify as fourth-degree grand larceny.
Grand larceny in the fourth degree is classified as a Class E felony under New York sentencing guidelines. For a first-time offender, this carries a potential prison sentence of up to 4 years. Fines up to $5,000 may also be imposed.
Those convicted also face the stigma of a felony record. This can have long-term consequences affecting employment, housing, and other opportunities. Defendants may be able to plea bargain for a reduced misdemeanor charge to avoid some of these collateral consequences.
There are several strategies a defense attorney may use to fight Section 155.30 charges, including:
Lack of Intent – If the taking of property was due to an honest mistake or misunderstanding rather than deliberate theft, it weakens the intent element.
False Valuation – The prosecutor must accurately establish that the property exceeded $1,000 in value when stolen. Inflated estimates can be challenged.
Return of Property – If the allegedly stolen property is returned undamaged, defendants may argue they merely borrowed it and lacked intent to deprive the owner.
Consent – Defendants may claim the owner gave permission to take or use the property, negating theft.
Insufficient Evidence – Eyewitness misidentification or mishandling of evidence may undermine the prosecution’s case.
An experienced New York larceny defense lawyer will thoroughly analyze the specifics of your case to identify deficiencies in the charges and build the strongest defense.
To understand how Section 155.30 is applied, it helps to look at real-world examples of charges brought under this statute:
In a brazen scheme, a parking meter serviceman was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny after admitting to stealing over $5,000 in coins from meters he was tasked with collecting from. Surveillance footage confirmed his theft of coins on multiple occasions over several weeks. He later plead guilty in a plea bargain.
A contractor was hired to perform roof repairs on a company’s warehouse, down payment included. But instead of doing the work, he pocketed the money and disappeared. With the stolen funds exceeding $3,000, he was eventually tracked down and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny.
A man solicited donations door-to-door falsely claiming to be raising money for a cancer charity. When he was caught, it was discovered he had swindled over $1,500 from unsuspecting donors. He plead guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny charges.
Those facing charges under Section 155.30 likely have many urgent questions. Here are some common FAQs:
Theft of property valued at less than $1,000 constitutes petit larceny, a class A misdemeanor carrying up to 1 year in jail.
Prosecutors can bring multiple grand larceny charges if there were different incidents or victims involved. The value of stolen property can also be aggregated.
Returning the property helps demonstrate lack of intent to deprive the owner of their property. But charges could still apply if intent was shown when initially taken.
First-time offenders often get probation rather than incarceration. But the judge has discretion in sentencing, so prison time is possible.
If you are dealing with accusations of fourth-degree grand larceny, don’t wait to get experienced legal counsel. Reach out to the Spodek Law Group today at 212-300-5196 for strategic defense guidance. Our attorneys have an impressive track record defending theft charges throughout New York. With our aggressive representation, we’ll fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
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