Theft is one of the most common property crimes prosecuted in Commack and other parts of Suffolk County. According to a 2020 county index released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Suffolk County had the fifth-highest number of property crimes among all 62 counties in the state of New York.
If you are accused of stealing someone else’s property or have been arrested on larceny charges, you could face serious criminal consequences. In fact, an arrest or indictment for a theft offense in New York can ruin your career and reputation entirely. Consider speaking with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom and your future.
At the Law Offices of Douglas M. Reda, I am committed to providing high-quality legal services and reliable representation to clients facing theft charges in Commack and throughout Suffolk and Nassau Counties. If you are facing accusations of theft, do not hesitate to contact me to learn more about your legal options.
Theft is defined as an unauthorized taking or keeping of someone else’s property with the intention of depriving the owner of its possession. Under New York law, theft offenses are prosecuted as larceny under New York Penal Code Article 155.
Under the statute, there are five elements of larceny:
The defendant knowingly and intentionally deprived the owner of its possession;
The defendant took, kept, withheld, or exercised unauthorized control over the owner’s property;
The property is either tangible or intangible;
The property rightfully belongs to another person; and
The defendant had the intent to deprive the owner of their property permanently or for a significant period of time.
The New York Penal Code recognizes different degrees of larceny as the classification of theft charges. Larceny charges are broken down into petit larceny and grand larceny:
Petit larceny, a Class A misdemeanor, involves stealing property not exceeding $1,000;
Grand larceny in the fourth degree, a Class E felony, involves property valued at between $1,000 and $3,000;
Grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony, involves stealing property exceeding $3,000 in value but less than $50,000;
Grand larceny in the second degree, a Class C felony, involves an unauthorized taking of someone else’s property worth at least $50,000. The same charge applies to theft that involves threats to cause physical injury or damage to the property; and
Grand larceny in the first degree, a Class B felony, involves stealing property valued at over $1,000,000.
Possible penalties for theft charges vary depending on the classification of the larceny charge and the value of the stolen property.
Class A misdemeanor (petit larceny) is punishable by up to one year in jail or three years of probation and a possible fine of $1,000. A maximum prison sentence for theft-related felonies in New York include:
Class E felony: 4 years
Class D felony: 7 years
Class C felony: 15 years
Class B felony: 25 years
In addition to the prison sentence, the defendant may face a fine of $5,000 or double the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater.
If you are facing theft charges in New York, you may be able to use the following defenses to get the charges dropped or reduced:
Lack of intent
A claim of right of ownership of property (the “I thought it was mine” defense)
In some cases, the defendant may argue that the value of the property is too low for them to be charged with larceny under New York Penal Code Article 155.
If you are facing charges for stealing or receiving stolen property, do not hesitate to speak with an attorney. As a Commack criminal defense attorney with over 40 years of experience, I have proudly defended thousands of clients facing theft charges in Commack, Woodbury, and surrounding areas in New York. I understand the seriousness of the charges you face, which is why I am committed to fighting on your side. Contact me to discuss your unique situation and pursue a favorable outcome together.