What Is Larceny?

Gavel and HandcuffsLarceny, as a crime, carries a felony charge and is often distinguished from theft by the property involved in the commission of the act, as well as how the act was committed. True theft is usually centered around the acquisition of money and if force is involved, then it becomes aggravated theft or mugging. By definition, the intent has to be to deprive a person of property, permanently and without force but through trickery or false intentions.

Want to know more about the difference between larceny and theft and what kind of defense can be sought? Philip Averbuck cares about your freedom and has years of experience in defending this kind of criminal charges. Call him today for a complete consultation.

Larceny vs. Theft

In terms of comparison, larceny vs. theft can be determined by the exact property involved and in how it was committed. If someone steals your wallet without you knowing, it is pick pocketing or theft. If someone sells you a car, and you later find out it was stolen, then the person who sold you that car committed larceny.

Now that you know the difference, how would you defend against such a charge if it was ever levied against you? The first step would be to obtain the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney, because, as we said, this is a felony and could carry some severe penalties with it. Next, several things have to be proven or challenged in order to present a winning defense, and for that, the lawyer will need your full cooperation.

Levels of Charges

In most states, there are laws on the books that will define the monetary levels of property involved in this type of felony. Very often, there is a minimum amount of around $500 that has to be met before the charge can be upgraded to grand larceny. This would have to involve the illegal transfer of property that could have included a car, high end electronics, something of value that would warrant charges being brought.

Petty larceny or petit larceny, is the charge that would be placed on losses of property below the state minimum. More often than not, the charge is placed not so much because of the value but the manner in which the property was taken. Property gained through trickery and false promises will cause someone to be embarrassed, and want to punish the person responsible.


To successfully defend against a larceny charge, the attorney will have to prove two important things: the actual value of the property, and who really owned it at the time of its transfer from someone else to you. In the case of something like a car, this can be very easy to establish, thanks to vehicle identification numbers. With other property, unless a record exists, it might not be so easy to establish either ownership or worth. Remember, trickery and deceit is based on actions and the intent would have to be proven as well.

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