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  • Published: May 8, 2024

Understanding The Legal Implications Of Petit Larceny: Insights For AttorneysThe Inniss Law Firm, PLLC. | Criminal Defense Law Firm In Hudson Valley, New York

Shoplifting is becoming increasingly common in many cities in New York and attorneys are interacting with more and more potential clients accused of shoplifting. In the State of New York, shoplifting is classed as a Petit Larceny, and is a punishable offense.

Being arrested can be a frightening experience, and if you have a potential client or current client accused of Petit Larceny, it may be helpful to be able to explain to them what to expect. What legal repercussions might your client be facing? What are the financial and social costs of a Petit Larceny charge for a client?

In this article, we’ll explore the definitions of Petit Larceny in New York State to help better prepare you and your client for litigation. We’ll cover general laws and more recent changes to the laws surrounding Petit Larceny.

How Is Petit Larceny Defined In New York?

Petit Larceny in New York is defined as the theft of any item or items totaling less than $1,000 in individual or combined value. This includes items that are shoplifted and unless your client has stolen items of greater than $1,000 in value, they are looking at a Class A Misdemeanor charge.

It is important to consider, however, that under new laws, a theft of $500 from one store and a theft of $501 from a second store would result in a Grand Larceny as opposed to a Petit Larceny charge, as this total amount is now above the $1,000 limit. Thus, defense attorneys now need to consider total theft from multiple stores to understand how to best defend and prepare clients.

Petit Larceny includes charges of individual shoplifting as well as charges of shoplifting committed while with a group of people.

What Are The Legal Penalties For Petit Larceny?

As a Class A Misdemeanor, Petit Larceny in the State of New York brings with it a maximum sentence of 364 days in prison. Petit Larceny may also include fines of up to $1,000 or a fine double the value of the property lost or damaged during the shoplifting event.

It’s also important for defense lawyers to consider the social and professional consequences of a Petit Larceny conviction on your client. Having a compassionate and attentive lawyer can go a long way in helping a client feel respected and heard.

Increasingly, many men and women facing shoplifting charges are struggling parents seeking a way to provide for their families. Even middle-class families can feel enough financial pressure to consider theft.

In light of these factors, New York attorneys are seeing more and more repeat offenders as clients. This leads many to ask if charges increase in New York for second or third Petit Larceny convictions. Is this something your client needs to worry about?

Does New York State Have Stricter Laws For Repeat Offender Shoplifters?

The State of New York does not have stricter sentences for those convicted of repeat Class A Misdemeanor charges. While there are laws in the books demanding stricter sentences for repeat felony offenses, repeat Petit Larceny charges do not carry harsher penalties in New York.

This is good news for your client. Many clients worry about so-called “three-strike” laws, but harsher penalties don’t apply to non-violent crimes such as shoplifting. While a judge may choose to hand down a maximum sentence of 364 days, he or she can not hand down a longer term for a repeat offense.

However, if your client is accused of criminal use of a firearm or of causing physical injury to a store employee in the course of the alleged shoplifting, they may be looking at felony charges. Recent changes to the New York State budget seek harsher felony charges for those convicted of physically harming a retail worker during a shoplifting incident.

It’s important to review your client’s case carefully, accurately preserve and review all evidence, and be aware of possible injuries that retail workers sustained in the course of the alleged shoplifting incident.

Final Thoughts

Petit Larceny is a Class A Misdemeanor in New York State, carrying with it jail time of up to 364 days, possible fines, and social as well as professional consequences for the client.

While Petit Larceny involves the theft of $1,000 or more in goods,changing laws allow for Grand Larceny charges if thefts from multiple stores total more than $1,000 in value. Keep this in mind when defending clients and be aware of the role that alleged assault of a retail worker can play in a shoplifting incident, as this can cause a client to face felony charges as well.

Have questions about the legal implications of Petit Larceny? Seeking a quality shoplifting defense lawyer in Hudson Valley, New York?

Allow hard-working criminal defense attorney and former NY State Trooper Randall Inniss to review your case and offer his insights. Give The Inniss Law Firm a call today at (845) 533-0265 and set up an initial consultation.

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