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Theft vs Larceny vs Robbery vs Burglary in New York? What’s The Difference? 2024

Theft vs Larceny vs Robbery vs Burglary in New York? What’s The Difference? 2024

Burglary, robbery, and larceny are often grouped together as crimes of theft. Although theft is a necessary element of robbery and larceny charges, theft is not required to charge burglary. If you find yourself facing any criminal theft charges in New York City or the surrounding communities, it is beneficial to contact a New York theft lawyer.

While larceny could be charged as a misdemeanor in certain circumstances, robbery and burglary are always charged as felonies in the state. It can be useful to understand the difference between these charges and what elevates a larceny charge to a felony.

Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, the long-term penalties of a criminal conviction can harm many of your opportunities and freedoms. An NYC Theft Lawyer can provide you with the greatest chance of avoiding penalties and conviction.

Theft vs Larceny vs Robbery vs Burglary in New York

Theft vs. Larceny

In New York, the terms theft and larceny are used interchangeably. Larceny is an incredibly common crime and occurs when an individual wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds someone else’s property from them with the intent to keep it from the owner.

If the value of the stolen item or items is valued at or under $1,000, it is charged as petit or petty larceny and is a misdemeanor. Grand larceny occurs when the items total over $1,000 and is charged as a felony. The higher the item is valued, the more serious the felony charge.

There are several ways that an individual can commit larceny. Larceny can occur through tricks, embezzlement, false promises, false pretense, extortion, or wage theft.

Understanding Robbery

Robbery is a form of larceny when force, violence, or threat of force is used to commit theft. The victim of the crime is always present for a larceny to be charged as a robbery. Without the interaction and threat between parties, the crime would be charged as larceny.

Robbery is charged as a felony regardless of the value of the item stolen. The use of a weapon, resulting injuries to victims, and other aggravating factors can increase the penalties associated with a robbery charge.

Understanding Burglary

Theft is not a required element in a burglary charge. In New York, burglary is the crime of unlawfully breaking and entering or unlawfully remaining in a vehicle, building, or home with the intent to commit a crime. The crime may be theft, assault, sex crimes, arson, or other crimes. Burglary can be charged even if the individual was at one time lawfully invited to the location.

The intended crime does not have to be committed for burglary to be charged. Unlike robbery, the victim of the crime does not have to be present for the burglary. The location of the burglary can be deserted. The act of entering or remaining at the location with criminal intent is sufficient reason to charge burglary. Burglary is charged as a felony, and circumstances such as the use of weapons or the type of building entered can worsen penalties.

Penalties for Larceny

Petty larceny, the theft of items valued at or under $1,000, is charged as a Class A misdemeanor in New York. Conviction of petty larceny can result in up to one year in prison and fines of up to $1,000.

Grand larceny felony charges depend on the value of the item. The fines for grand larceny are typically twice that of the value of the property stolen, or $5,000, whichever amount is greater. Charges for grand larceny include:

  • -Property valued over $1,000 up to $3,000 is a Class E felony. Conviction results in up to four years in prison, with a minimum sentence of one year.
  • -Property valued over $3,000 and up to $50,000 is charged as a Class D felony. Conviction results in a minimum of one year in prison and up to seven years.
  • -Property valued at more than $50,000 and up to $1,000,000 is a Class C felony. Conviction carries a minimum of one year in jail and up to 15 years in prison.
  • -Property valued over $1,000,000 is a Class B felony. Conviction has a minimum sentence of one year in prison or ⅓ of the maximum given sentence and up to 25 years in prison.

In addition to criminal penalties, those charged with larceny may also face civil claims from victims of the crime.


Q: What Is Larceny in Simple Terms?

A: Larceny is the crime of theft, which is when a person wrongfully withholds, takes, or obtains another person’s rightful property. Under New York law, larceny includes acts such as:

  • -Taking or withholding property the owner has lost, knowing it was lost or was provided to the person by mistake
  • -Gaining control over property under false pretenses or false promise
  • -Obtaining property through extortion or under threat of force
  • -Gaining property through wage theft, such as not paying legal benefits or minimum wage

Q: What Is the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary in New York State?

A: Under New York laws, burglary occurs when an individual enters a building or vehicle without permission and with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary occurs whether or not anything is stolen and whether or not other intended crimes were committed. No one has to be in the building or vehicle for burglary charges to be pressed.

A robbery, on the other hand, always occurs with the victim present. An individual commits robbery when they use force or threat of force to take any property from the victim.

Q: What Is the Difference Between Larceny and Theft in New York?

A: Some states have different definitions for larceny and theft, but that is not the case in New York. Under state laws, theft and larceny are used interchangeably to describe the same crime of theft. Larceny can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the items stolen.

Q: What Is an Example of a Burglary?

A: Burglary occurs when an individual enters a home, building, or vehicle with the intent to commit a crime. This may include the crime of theft, sex crimes, or physical assault or battery. The most common instance of a burglary is a home invasion in which armed individuals break into a deserted home with the intent to steal property.

Defending Your Rights and Your Future

A criminal defense lawyer can make a life-changing difference in your criminal case. If you have been charged with theft, robbery, burglary, or other non-violent or violent crimes in New York, you need qualified and committed legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, today.

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