Bronx Theft Lawyer
Being convicted of theft may result in both fines and prison time. In more serious cases involving stolen high-value items, such as luxury vehicles, defendants may even face felony charges that result in even more serious consequences.
If you were accused of stealing property, contact a Bronx theft lawyer as soon as possible. A competent defense attorney from the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman could review your case and conduct any investigations necessary to help uncover evidence that might help your case. Then, we could work with you to plan a defense that best fits your situation and is most likely to lead to success.
Types of Theft Charges in The Bronx
Individuals accused of theft in New York may be charged with varying degrees of larceny. New York Penal Law §155.05 defines larceny as the taking of another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of that property. A person may also be charged with larceny if they take another’s property through indirect means, such as:
- Tricking them or using false pretenses
- Using false promises or misrepresentations
- Acquiring lost property and failing to return it
Petit larceny is the most basic type of theft charge. Under New York Penal Law §155.25, a person is guilty of petit larceny if they steal another’s property. Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor that can result in up to $1,000 in fines and one year in prison.
Grand Larceny Charges
Grand larceny occurs when a person steals higher-value property. There are four degrees of grand larceny in New York. The most basic, fourth-degree larceny, occurs when an individual steals any of the following, according to New York Penal Law §155.30:
- Property with a value of over $1,000
- A credit or debit card
- A motor vehicle with a value of over $100
Third-degree grand larceny involves stolen property worth more than $3,000, according to New York Penal Law §155.35. By contrast, second-degree larceny occurs when a person steals more than $50,000 worth of property, as per New York Penal Law §155.40. Finally, New York Penal Law §155.42 defines first-degree larceny as the taking of property worth more than $1 million.
As the value of the property increases, so do the charges and subsequent penalties. As a result, any individual accused of any type of theft may benefit from contacting an attorney in the Bronx to assist with their defense.
It is important to note that prosecutors have the ability under the law to increase the severity of theft charges if a defendant faces allegations of several separate instances of larceny. Petit larceny describes theft of items that have a value under $1,000. However, in situations where a person faces charges of stealing two televisions worth $600 each, the charges may merge into a single count of grand larceny. This can transform a charge from a misdemeanor to a felony if a person faces multiple instances of low-value theft.
What Are Some Criminal Charges Related to Theft?
It is possible for a person to be accused of theft without having actually stolen property. For example, New York Penal Law §165.40 states that is a class A misdemeanor for a person to knowingly possess stolen property. Similarly, it is illegal for a person to obtain the services of another under false pretenses. For example, New York Penal Law §165.15 makes it illegal for a person to use a stolen credit card, to obtain services without paying, or to refuse to pay a hotel or restaurant for food or lodging. A Bronx lawyer could help people facing criminal charges related to theft as well.
What Must a Prosecutor Prove to Obtain a Theft Conviction?
While the simple concept of theft is easy to understand, the legal definition can be surprisingly complex. As previously mentioned, theft is any action that deprives an owner of the use of an item. Therefore, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant took the item with the intent to deprive the other party of the item’s use.
This means that the defendant’s state of mind can be a vital question in these cases. If a defendant took possession of an item with the belief that the owner gave it to them, this is not theft under the language of the law. A lawyer in the Bronx could determine how the prosecution might go about proving the elements of larceny and devise a defense based on this knowledge.
Defenses to These Allegations
Someone accused of theft may have a variety of defenses available to them. First, an individual may be able to claim that they legitimately and reasonably believed the property in question was theirs which means they did not know they were taking it from another. They may also be able to assert that they had a right to take that property. For example, the property owner, or an individual they believed to be the owner, may have given the defendant permission to take property. A person may also have a legitimate claim on the property if it was intended to be payment for a debt.
If none of these defenses apply, a person may be able to show issues with the constitutionality of the search or arrest. A Bronx theft attorney could review these and other possible defenses to help decide which ones are most appropriate for a specific case.
Talking to a Bronx Theft Attorney
Being charged with stealing can be a confusing experience. There are many different types of larceny in New York, each of which may carry a different charge and possible punishment. As a result, if you have been charged with theft, it is important to get in touch with a Bronx theft lawyer immediately.
We team is committed to defending your rights to the fullest extent. We could review your case and then sit down with you to discuss your legal options. For more information and a consultation, call today.