What is the Criminal Charge of Larceny?
Most jurisdictions, they are synonymous—they mean the same thing. Theft and larceny usually are the depriving of something of value from another person—whether it’s temporary or permanent. What does that mean? If you go into a store and take a can of soup and put it in your jacket, you have deprived the store the use of that soup and you have committed the crime of theft. Some states require you to actually leave the store to get charged with the crime. Technically, the crime of theft or larceny occurs when you temporarily, or permanently, deprive the owner of the value of that item. Theft occurs when you take money, take an item, like shoplifting, or steal from a bank— when you deprive the owner of that property the use of that property— that is a theft. There are many different levels of theft. In some jurisdictions, shoplifting may be a petty theft misdemeanor, or the lowest level misdemeanor—which means you may be subject to a fine, probation, or county jail. The more in value that you take, like a car, $10K, or a painting—the more in value you take will determine if it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, sometimes called grand theft. Grand theft is usually a felony charge, which is determined by the value of the object that is stolen. Petty theft means the value of the item is less; grand theft means the value is more. The term petty larceny means lower in value of the subject matter. Grand larceny, or grand theft, means the value of the subject taken is worth more. The greater the value of the item taken, the greater the punishment. In order to have a theft we must have taking, or depriving, the use of that item—either temporarily or permanently. It’s a petty theft if the value of the item is less; and a grand theft if the value is more.
Kevin Hayslett, Esq.
J. Kevin Hayslettis an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally rated in singles and doubles. You can follow Kevin onGoogle+, oron Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Sirius Satellite Radio show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard the first Thursday of every month.