Theft is essentially the act of taking something that does not belong that person. The very act of stealing something has a highly specific definition under the penal code. Stealing is defined in great detail under New York state laws. Those who are accused of theft will be charged under a statute known as grand larceny. These laws fall under the purview of New York criminal law. Under these laws, the concept of larceny is defined as those who have obtained any form of property that belongs to another person. The law further defines larceny as the act of keeping such property deliberately away from the rightful owner. The laws do not distinguish between those who take the property for themselves and those who give the items to someone else instead. It is possible to engage in larceny in many varied ways. These include extortion, embezzlement, writing a bad check, by false pretenses or by tricking someone out of something they own deliberately and maliciously.
Under the laws of the state of New York, people who have engaged in this form of law breaking have done so under certain circumstances. For larceny to be considered second degree larceny, the defendant must have stolen property that is worth more than fifty thousand dollars. They must have also engaged in a form of activity known as extortion. For example, someone may walk into a jewelry store and see a beautiful necklace she really wants to buy. The price of the necklace may be thousands of dollars. A person may then write a check to cover the cost of the necklace. The check can bounce because there aren’t enough funds to cover the costs. A store owner may make repeated efforts to contact the person in question and find they can’t do so. In that case, this can be considered grand larceny in the second degree. Under state laws, there are also related offenses that may come into play during the course of any prosecution. These include grand larceny in the first, third and fourth degrees.
People who are being charged with this crime should keep in mind they have possible defenses at their disposal. Someone can argue that they had the right to take the property and were correct in doing so. Under state laws, it is not necessary to actually have the legal right to take the item. What matters is what is known as a good faith claim. The good faith claim means the person acted under a reasonable belief at the time they chose to remove the property. Any prosecutor must prove a specific state of mind that is known as intent. They must prove that the person being charged did not take the property by accident or that the property was merely borrowed and not entirely taken. If the defendant can demonstrate that they did not have such an intent, the charges may be dismissed and the case ultimately dropped.
Second degree larceny is what is what is known as a class C felony. Those who are convicted of this crime can face many possible legal outcomes that are often dependent on a person’s prior behavior and any history of run ins with the law. A judge may choose sentences that range from probation to prison. In general, a first time offender may only face probation on the expectation that this is a one time offense that will not take place again. However, those who have been convicted of a previous felony in the last decade may face a much harsher sentence in the aftermath of such a conviction. They may be sent to prison for as long as fifteen years. Sentencing guidelines require that those have engaged in such acts be sentenced to between four and six years in prison. All those who are confronting a serious charge of grand larceny need the best possible legal help.