By: Passalacqua & Associates

Are Larceny and Robbery Defined Differently in New York?

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What Distinguishes Larceny From Robbery in New York?

In the Syracuse area, if you’re charged with a crime that involves stealing – a crime such as embezzlement, larceny, robbery, or fraud – you will need to be represented by a Syracuse criminal defense attorney, and you’ll need to call that attorney’s office as quickly as possible.

What are the differences between robbery and larceny? Larceny is simple theft, while robbery may include the use of intimidation, weapons, or force. Larceny does not involve intimidation, force, weapons, or illegal entry.

What Constitutes Larceny in New York?

In this state, larceny happens when someone knowingly intends and acts to deprive, either temporarily or permanently, property from its owner. The exact sentence that someone will serve for a larceny conviction depends in part on the stolen property’s value when the crime occurs.

A larceny in this state is considered either a “petit” (petty) larceny or a grand larceny. A petit larceny is the theft of property valued at or below $1,000. Petit larceny is a Class A misdemeanor, and a petit larceny conviction may be penalized with a jail sentence and a fine.

How Are Grand Larceny Cases Handled?

Grand larceny is considered a felony in this state, and a grand larceny conviction triggers a mandatory minimum one-year prison term. When the stolen property is valued:

  1. at over $1,000,000, grand larceny is a Class B felony
  2. from $50,000 to $1,000,000, grand larceny is a Class C felony
  3. from $3,000 to $50,000, grand larceny is a Class D felony
  4. from $1,000 to $3,000, grand larceny is a Class E felony

If you steal an ATM machine, you’ll be charged with a Class D felony. If you extort someone to steal property or cash, you’ll be charged with a Class C felony without regard to the property’s value. The courts also fine most offenders who are convicted of grand larceny, and the fine is usually twice the value of the stolen property.

What Constitutes Robbery?

A robbery happens in New York when someone who is perpetrating a burglary or theft uses or threatens to use immediate physical force to:

  1. prevent or overcome resistance to taking the property illegally
  2. compel the owner of the property (or someone else) to surrender the property or otherwise assist in the crime

Every robbery charge in New York is a felony, and a robbery conviction entails a minimum mandatory prison sentence.

How is First-Degree Robbery Defined?

First-degree robbery in New York is a Class B felony. An individual in New York commits a robbery in the first degree when he or she forcibly steals property, and while committing that theft or immediately thereafter, that individual or another perpetrator of the crime also:

  1. carries a deadly weapon
  2. brandishes a firearm or any item that is perceived by the victim(s) to be a firearm
  3. uses or threatens to use a dangerous instrument
  4. seriously physically injures anyone who did not take part in the crime

How is Second-Degree Robbery Defined?

Second-degree robbery is a Class C felony. An individual commits a robbery in the second degree in New York when he or she uses force to steal property and:

  1. That individual is assisted by another person who is actually present.
  2. That individual or another perpetrator of the crime physically injures someone who did not take part in the crime.
  3. That individual or another perpetrator displays a firearm or an item that is perceived by the victim(s) to be a firearm.
  4. The stolen property is a motor vehicle.

How is Third-Degree Robbery Defined?

In New York, a robbery with no other aggravating factors is usually prosecuted as robbery in the third degree. To convict a defendant of a third-degree robbery charge, the state must prove that the defendant committed larceny and used or threatened to use immediate physical force on another person for the purpose of taking or retaining the property being stolen.

Should You Take a Plea Deal?

If you are charged with either robbery or larceny, your Syracuse felony defense lawyer will speak to the prosecutor and try to resolve your robbery or larceny case. What happens will depend on the details of the case, the prosecutor, and your own defense attorney.

Do not try to act as your own lawyer. Criminal law in New York is complex, and your freedom and future will be at risk. Any mistake could result in a conviction. And do not agree to a plea deal until you’ve discussed the deal with your Syracuse criminal defense attorney.

In most plea deals, a defendant pleads guilty to a reduced charge and receives a reduced penalty. A grand larceny charge may be lowered to petit larceny, for instance, or a first-degree robbery charge may be reduced to second-degree robbery. However, if you’re innocent, in most cases, you shouldn’t accept a plea offer.

How Can You Fight a Larceny or Robbery Charge?

Instead, if you are innocent of larceny or robbery, insist on your right to a trial by jury. At trial, a good defense lawyer will work to help you avoid a conviction. After reviewing the specifics of the state’s case against you, your lawyer may present one of these defenses at trial:

  1. You reasonably believed that you had a right to or legally owned the property or cash, and you did not have criminal intent.
  2. You have been misidentified, and someone else perpetrated the larceny or robbery.
  3. The larceny or robbery allegation has been fabricated, and no theft actually took place.

When Should You Call an Attorney?

If you’re charged with a theft crime such as larceny or robbery – now or in the future – you must have sound legal advice and effective defense representation immediately. Make the call – at your very first opportunity – to a Syracuse criminal defense lawyer.

If you’re facing a criminal charge, don’t assume that you’ll be convicted. To convict you of any robbery or larceny charge, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty as charged, and that may not be easy.

Your attorney will cast doubt on the prosecution’s evidence, and your attorney will fight to have the charge reduced or dropped or the case dismissed. If necessary, your attorney will defend you aggressively at trial.

Passalacqua & Associates Will Fight for the Justice You Need

If your freedom and your future are on the line, having the right New York criminal defense attorney can make the difference. The award-winning attorneys at Passalacqua & Associates have more than thirty years of successful criminal defense experience.

We know what it takes to win a larceny or robbery trial, but if the evidence against you is overwhelming, we will negotiate for the best possible plea arrangement. We have a proven track record in larceny and robbery cases.

If you are in the Syracuse or Utica area, and you are currently charged with larceny or robbery – or if that happens to you in the future – call Passalacqua & Associates promptly at 315-277-3548 to schedule a no-cost case evaluation and to begin preparing your defense.