What Does Grand Larceny Mean, Simplified!!! (US Practices)

Despite the fact that grand larceny is one of the most regularly committed ‘White Collar’ crimes in New York City and across the US, a ton of individuals are unaware of what it is or the consequences of committing it. Well, we’ll explain the various degrees of grand larceny, give some examples of what can be termed larceny in New York and across the globe, and discuss the punishments for each act.

What Does Grand Larceny Mean?

According to California Penal Code 487 PC, grand larceny, also known as grand theft, is a serious criminal offense that involves the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with a value of more than $950; the property being a firearm or car, or the property being taken immediately from an individual’s person (such as in the case of a mugging).

Depending on the circumstances of your case, grand larceny may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor, like all crimes, has consequences that are less severe than those imposed by the courts for a felony conviction. Regardless, you should consult with a skilled Los Angeles grand theft defense attorney to safeguard your legal rights, career, and reputation.

What Does Grand Larceny Mean Under New York State Law?

Grand larceny is described in New York Penal Law Article 155 as wrongfully taking, withholding, or gaining property from its rightful owner with the intent to either take the property for oneself or someone else or to deprive the rightful owner of said property.

Each degree of grand larceny has a different felony classification, ranging from class E to class B, and is mostly determined by the value and type of property unjustly taken.

What Are the Origins of Grand Larceny Laws?

Larceny began as a common-law offense in England, but it has since been eliminated in England, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland due to the crime being divided into other categories (theft, burglary, etc.).

Larceny is still a crime in the United States, and it is codified as a statutory crime in all US jurisdictions – however, larceny regulations differ by state.

What Do the Degrees of Grand Larceny Mean in New York?

The severity of the penalty increases from the fourth to the first degree of grand larceny, depending on the value of the property taken. The following are the definitions and penal laws for each:

  • The most serious charge is grand larceny in the first degree (PL 155.42), which is charged when the property is worth more than one million dollars.
  • When the goods stolen are valued at more than $50,000 but less than one million dollars, it is considered grand larceny in the second degree (PL 155.40(1)).
  • When the theft is more than $3,000 but less than $50,000, it is considered grand larceny in the third degree (PL 155.35).
  • Theft of goods worth more than $1,000 but less than $3,000 is considered grand larceny in the fourth degree (PL 155.30(1)).

In addition to these degrees, aggravated grand larceny of an automated teller machine (PL 155.43) is a class C felony, similar to grand larceny in the second degree. This charge can only be brought if the defendant was previously convicted of grand theft in the third degree during the previous five years.

What Are the Consequences of Each Level of Larceny in New York?

Regardless of the nature of the property taken, the penalties for theft are specifically proportional to the degree. The following are the maximum punishments for each degree of larceny:

  • A 25-year sentence for first-degree larceny.
  • Second-degree larceny carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.
  • Larceny in the third degree can result in a seven-year sentence.
  • Larceny in the fourth degree is punishable by a four-year prison sentence.

Instead of jail time, first-time offenders may be punished with probation, community work, fines, or conditional sentences.

What Is the Difference Between Grand and Petty Larceny?

While grand larceny refers to the illegal taking of anything worth a specific sum of money, petit larceny refers to the illegal taking of any property that isn’t yours, regardless of its value (but it must be less than $1000).

Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor, not a felony, and commonly occurs in scenarios such as shoplifting from a grocery store or stealing a wallet from an unsecured café table.

If theft directly from a person is involved, even the taking of low-value things might be punished as grand larceny. For example, if someone steals $30 from a person, they could be prosecuted with grand larceny in the fourth degree.

Defending Grand Larceny in Los Angeles

The bulk of theft crimes in the Los Angeles area is considered felonies. The value of the property/item taken, whether a weapon was used in the execution of the crime, and your criminal history all influence whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony by the prosecution.

Meanwhile, it’s crucial to remember that grand theft can take many forms, including embezzlement or taking property that has been entrusted to you. Prosecutors will try hard to turn a petty theft charge into a grand theft charge by saying that you took the property by theft or false pretenses, by trick, or that which was entrusted to you. To be found guilty, the jury must simply decide that the accused took the property; they do not have to agree with the prosecutor’s theory. Whatever your case, we strongly advise you to call criminal defense lawyers right away.

Penalties for Grand Larceny in California

In California, grand theft is considered a wobbler offense. This basically indicates it’s a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor grand larceny conviction carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.

Felony grand theft has harsher sanctions, including jail terms of sixteen months, two years, or three years.

Being charged with grand larceny does not guarantee that you will be found guilty. A skilled defense lawyer has a number of viable options at his or her disposal. For example, your lawyer could argue that you did not mean to steal, that you were wrongly accused, that the person whose property you took consented to you taking it, or that the property you are accused of stealing was truly yours. Even if the evidence against you appears insurmountable, an experienced and professional attorney can identify the best course of action to fight the allegations and protect you from severe criminal penalties.

What You Should Know!!!

A theft occurs when an individual takes someone else’s property with the goal of permanently removing it from the owner’s possession. The term “theft” is mostly used in legal contexts to indicate a wide range of offenses involving the taking of property. For instance, embezzlement, extortion, receiving stolen property, and unlawful use of property, are all examples of theft. Grand theft, on the other hand, usually refers to larceny, or the stealing of personal or tangible property.

States have traditionally distinguished between two forms of larceny: grand and petit (or petty). The value of the property stolen is based on either of these two kinds of larceny offenses applied, with grand theft ensuing when the property was worth more than a set dollar sum set by law.

Most states now have theft or larceny laws that do away with the difference between grand and petty theft, while all have laws that impose varying degrees of punishment depending on the value of the goods.

Minimum Price

Grand theft is a more serious theft violation since the stolen property is of significant value. The amount of items that must be worth before a crime is labeled a grand theft rather than a petty theft varies by state. In many areas, the difference between petty theft and grand theft, for example, is $500. This means that stealing $499 worth of property is considered petty theft, whereas stealing $500 worth of property is considered major theft.

Property Appraisal

The value of the stolen item is a crucial consideration in many grand theft cases. A prosecution must be able to show that the stolen property is worth more than the grand theft minimum, otherwise, the accused will be found guilty of grand theft. A variety of approaches are used to determine value, including determining the property’s fair market value, the highest reasonable value, or the retail value.

Property Categories

If a certain kind of property is stolen, even if it is not worth the minimum amount required for grand theft, grand theft can occur. The categories of property considered grand or felony theft vary by state but often include automobiles, weapons, or farm animals.

Collaborators or Multiple Items

Many people work together to take items in some theft offenses, or a single person steals multiple items in the same theft. In some states, all property stolen from a single owner, a single location, or as part of a single criminal impulse may be considered as a single bunch of objects. The value of the different articles is totaled together in these states to assess whether the theft qualifies as grand theft. If there are several victims or no unifying plan to steal, the value of multiple goods cannot be pooled together in other states.


Grand theft laws in several states have different degrees of severity, with higher degrees denoting more serious offenses and carrying more serious penalties. As earlier mentioned, a jurisdiction may, for example, define grand theft in the first degree as any theft of goods worth more than $100,000. When the value of the property is between $50,000 and $100,000, grand theft in the second degree, a less serious crime, may apply. When the property is valued at more than $500 but less than $50,000, it is considered third-degree grand larceny.


Grand theft was once regarded a felony charge, which meant that a conviction may result in a year or more in prison. Grand theft may still be used in state theft laws today, however it is not always deemed a felony so can be a minor charge.

#1. Prison or Jail

A judge can sentence you to up to a year in jail for a misdemeanor conviction of grand larceny, while felony convictions can last much longer. Sentences of five to twenty years or more are conceivable in scenarios where the theft involved extremely valuable items if the defendant is a repeat offender.

#2. Fines

If you are convicted of grand theft, you may be forced to pay a hefty fine. Fines for misdemeanors are usually under $1,000, whereas felony fines can surpass $100,000.

#3. Restitution

When you’re convicted of stealing something, you’ll almost always have to pay restitution in addition to fines. The property owner receives restitution, while the state receives a fine as a penalty. The value of the stolen property is frequently used to determine restitution.

#4. Probation

A person guilty of big theft may potentially be sentenced to probation by the court. Probation normally lasts at least a year, but punishments of three years or more are possible. While on probation, a person must follow specific guidelines, such as meeting with a probation officer on a regular basis, finding or retaining employment, paying all fines and restitution within a set time frame, and not stealing or committing any more offenses.

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