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Larceny Definition

Larceny is the unlawful taking of another person’s property with the intention of depriving them of that property permanently. Larceny typically does not involve any violence; it consists of mere theft. Larceny is usually a misdemeanor charge unless there are other offenses committed.

Elements Required to Prove Larceny

The elements required to prove larceny are an unlawful taking of someone else’s property without their consent, and with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property.

Unlawful Taking

The unlawful taking of another’s property means that an individual has taken the property from someone else and prevents the owner from using it. If the property is not able to be moved, unlawful taking occurs when the individual denies the owner access to the property.

Someone Else’s Property

In order to prove larceny, the property involved has to belong to someone else.

Without the Owner’s Consent

Property that is in the possession of another without the owner’s consent is larceny. If the owner consents to the person borrowing the property, then no larceny has taken place.

The Intent to Deprive Someone Else of their Property Permanently

The final element to prove larceny is that the individual has to have the intent to deprive another of their property permanently. If the individual intends to return the property, then larceny has not occurred.

How Many Different Charges of Larceny Have Occurred?

Many times, there is confusion about whether one larceny or several have occurred. Usually, if an individual has stolen multiple items from the same person, it will constitute one larceny charge. However, depending on the state, it is possible to be accused of multiple larceny charges. What a court will typically do is look at the timing of the various larceny events and decide whether they formed one larceny charge or several. The courts will also look at where the larceny events occurred to determine if they constitute one or several larceny charges. If the larceny events were a part of a single activity, they would typically be one larceny charge. If the larceny events happened in multiple activities, then they will be multiple larcenies. It is essential to know the specific state’s requirements because if there are too many larcenies, the charge could be converted to a felony, which would greatly impact the punishment the defendant receives.

What Are the Different Degrees of Larceny?

The different degrees of larceny are determined by the value of the items stolen. Grand larceny charges apply to items of higher value, and petit or petty larceny applies to less expensive items. Each state will decide the dollar amount that separates the different degrees of larceny, which is why it is important to have a knowledge of state larceny statutes to understand the different regulations.

What Is Grand Larceny?

Grand larceny is usually distinguished by the price of the item stolen and is usually an item that is over $500 in value. Where the definition gets unclear is the difference of when a thief steals a regular purse versus a designer one. Depending on which state the crime takes place in, stealing a designer purse could convert the charge to grand larceny, which is a felony in certain states.

What Is Petit or Petty Larceny?

Petit or petty larceny is when the value of an item stolen is under a specific dollar amount. Petit or petty larceny does not usually exceed a dollar value of $500. Each state sets its own regulations about the dollar value. Petit or petty larceny is a misdemeanor crime.

Larceny is a charge that is taken very seriously in the United States. This is particularly true if the charge involves high-value items or is combined with other more serious felonies. Make sure to properly review each state’s larceny statutes to know the exact regulations that will impact your case if you are being charged with larceny.

Larceny Glossary Definition

Larceny is when an individual takes the property of another without the use of force. To prove larceny has occurred, it must be demonstrated that an individual took another’s property, without consent of the owner, and had the intent to deprive the owner of their property permanently. There are two kinds of larceny including grand larceny and petit or petty larceny. The severity of the larceny charge greatly depends on where the offense took place and the value of the item or items stolen.