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4 Legal Defenses Against Grand Larceny Charges in New York


According to New York Penal Law Article 155, the crime of grand larceny occurs when someone wrongfully or unlawfully withholds, takes, or controls property that is valued at more than $1,000 or that is of a particular type, including public records, secret scientific material, and credit or debit cards, with the intent of depriving the rightful owner of such property. All these elements must be proven for someone to be convicted of grand larceny. For example, if the property belongs to the defendant, there is no larceny or theft. All elements of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant cannot be convicted if the prosecutor cannot prove even just one of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are facing grand larceny charges in New York, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney who can help you develop a defense strategy that makes it challenging for the prosecution to prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Below are a few examples of defenses that can cast doubt on the elements of the crime of grand larceny;

  1. The Property’s Value Is Less Than the Cut-off Value for Grand Theft

Grand larceny in the fourth degree occurs when the property’s value exceeds $1,000. A third-degree crime occurs when the property’s value exceeds $3,000. Grand larceny in the second degree involves property worth more than $50,000. A first-degree offense occurs when the property’s value exceeds $1 million. If, for example, you are being charged with grand larceny in the second degree and the value of the property in question is less than $50,000, you can argue that the value falls below the threshold for grand larceny in the second degree. In such a case, you might still be convicted, but at least you will be convicted of a lesser charge.

  1. The Property Owner Gave You Consent To Take the Property

The prosecution must prove that you obtained, withheld, or took the property unlawfully. In other words, they must prove that the property owner never allowed you to take it. If the property owner gave you consent to take it, then there is no crime.

  1. Claim of Right

Criminal intent is a vital element of a grand larceny charge in New York. The prosecutor must prove that you intended to deny the rightful owner of the property access to it. You can fight criminal intent by showing that you genuinely believed the property was yours or had a right to the property. For example, you might have taken the property because you genuinely believed you were a co-owner.

  1. Entrapment

Another defense that can help in a grand larceny case is arguing that law enforcement induced you into committing the crime and that you would not have otherwise committed the offense. This is known as “entrapment.”  This affirmative defense generally involves showing that law enforcement coerced or persuaded you to commit the crime.

Contact Our NYC Criminal Attorney

If you are facing grand larceny charges in New York, contact our experienced NYC grand larceny attorney, Mark I. Cohen. We can help you develop a defense strategy that is suitable to your case.



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