New York City Criminal Defense Attorney - Theft Cases
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Theft charges can be one of the most damaging crimes of which you can be
convicted in New York. Not only does it carry a permanent criminal record
and possible incarceration like other crimes, but theft convictions tend
to have far reaching collateral consequences that can affect your immigration
status, job status, and future employment opportunities. Many New York
theft related offenses are also considered crimes of moral turpitude which
can have severe immigration consequences. If you currently work or plan
to work in finance or banking, a theft charge can have additional consequences.
While there are many different crimes that involves theft, such as fraud
and counterfeiting, the most common theft crimes are larcenies. Larceny
is committed if you wrongfully take, obtain, or withhold property from
another with the intent to deprive that person of the property. There
are many ways you can commit a larceny. You can simply steal a piece of
property, you can embezzle property, obtain property by making a false
promise, or obtain property by extorting someone. All of these methods
will result in you being charged and possibly convicted of larceny.
Petit and Grand Larceny. Larceny is charged in varying degrees depending on a number of factors.
The least serious charge is
Petit Larceny. You can be convicted of Petit Larceny when the prosecutor proves that
you stole property. Petit Larceny is a class A misdemeanor for which you
can be sentenced up to a year in jail. Value is irrelevant for Petit Larceny.
Whether you steal property valued at $.01 or $500 you can be convicted
of the crime. As the value of the stolen goods increases, the charge becomes
more serious. If you steal property valued that exceeds $1,000 you can
be charged with
Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree. This charge is a class E felony for which you can
be sentenced up to 4 years in prison. Once the value exceeds $3,000, the
charge becomes Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. This is a class D felony
and you could be sentenced up to 7 years in prison. If the value of the
property is over $50,000 the charge will be Grand Larceny in the Second
Degree. This is a class C felony and you could face up to 15 years in
prison. The most serious larceny charge is Grand Larceny in the First
Degree. You can be convicted of this charge when you steal property valued
at over $1,000,000. This is a class B felony and you can be sentenced
up to 25 years in prison.
Theft of Services. A separate type of theft that is commonly charged, especially in New York
City, is theft of services. You can be convicted of theft of services
when you accept a service without paying, paying with a forged instrument,
or paying with a stolen credit/debit card. This is often charged when
people do not pay for subway rides, taxi rides, or after eating in a restaurant.
Theft of services is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
There are several defenses to a larceny charge. Since the prosecutor has
to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt, attacking any of the
elements is always an option. Usually this is done by showing you did
not intend to steal the property. Without the necessary intent, you cannot
be convicted of a larceny. It is also a defense if you had a good faith
belief that the property rightfully belonged to you. If charged with larceny
due to extortion by threatening to turn someone in for a criminal act,
it is a defense that you believed the threatened charge was true and your
sole purpose was to compel the person to correct the action. Mistake is
another common defense. If the circumstances of your case can support
a credible argument that due to a mistake or error, payment was not rendered,
this could provide you with a critical defense.
It is important to avoid a theft conviction at all costs. Since in New
York criminal records are permanent and public records, every future employer
will be able to see that you were previously convicted of stealing. It
is a red flag that will immediately lower your chances of receiving employment
offers. Theft convictions are also considered “crimes of moral turpitude”
which can have serious immigration consequences for non-citizens including
deportation. While there are crimes that have longer prison sentences
and higher fines, few crimes have as far reaching consequences than theft.
Contact us today for a case evaluation.