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Is Petit Larceny, AKA, Petty Larceny, a Misdemeanor or Felony in New York: Examining NY PL 155.25

Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor not a felony, right? After all, New York wouldn’t call New York Penal Law 155.25 “Petty Larceny” if it was a felony crime. Even if you look at New York’s Larceny statutes in New York Penal Law Article 155.00, Petit Larceny, codified as NY PL 155.25, doesn’t have any degree where other theft offenses often have degrees. For that matter, it seems to make sense if Grand Larceny is a felony, then Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor.

If you follow the above logic, you won’t need a New York criminal lawyer to reach what should be the obvious conclusion. If you steal property valued no greater than $1,000.00, you have not violated any felony crime based on the value of the property illegally taken, but read that definition carefully. While you may have only stolen a $700.00 iPhone, your exposure to a misdemeanor PL 155.25 arrest may only be the least of your worries. Why? If, for example, you used a credit card lifted from a bar or restaurant and then purchased the iPhone by acting as that named person, you likely committed the class “D” felonies of First Degree Identity Theft and Second Degree Forgery when you signed off as that person on a receipt. However, because your question was not what other crimes can you face if you are arrested for Petit Larceny, I won’t digress into associated crimes.

Petite Larceny, such as when committed in the context of a New York shoplift or even an embezzlement, remains a misdemeanor unless the value of the property exceeds the $1,000.00 threshold. Yes, there are certain types of property, such as a credit card, that when stolen automatically constitutes a felony offense, but a Petit Larceny is elevated from PL 155.25 to the Grand Larceny crimes of PL 155.30, PL 155.35, PL 155.40 or PL 155.42, when the aggregate value of theft from a victim or single larceny breaches $1,000.00, $3,000.00, $50,000.00 and $1 million respectively.

The above values are critically important if not central to any larceny prosecution from Manhattan and Brooklyn to Queens and Westchester County. Assuming the accused is not a predicate felon where incarceration is mandated on any felony conviction, the values relate directly to punishment. PL 155.30, Fourth Degree Grand Larceny has a maximum sentence of four years in prison, PL 155.35, Third Degree Grand Larceny has a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, PL 155.40, Second Degree Grand Larceny has a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison and First Degree Grand Larceny can land you in a cold, dank, lonely prison cell for up to twenty-five years. Fun. Petit Larceny? A conviction for Petit Larceny is punishable by as much as a year not in a New York State prison, but a county jail.

Remember, merely because a Petit Larceny is not a felony, but a misdemeanor, does not mean you should relax your defenses and shrug your shoulders in indifference. Have no misgivings. If you are convicted not only will you be ashamed and burdened with a criminal record in perpetuity, but you will only have yourself to blame when you have difficulties landing a respectable job, securing professional licensure, and maintaining your legal status in the United States.

To expand your knowledge about New York larceny crimes, including misdemeanor Petit Larceny and the various felony degrees of Grand Larceny, a little effort to review the links provided here will undoubtedly be time well spent.

Crotty Saland PC, a New York criminal defense law firm, represents clients arrested and investigated for larceny crimes in New York City, the Hudson Valley and other municipalities. The founding criminal defense lawyers at Crotty Saland PC served as Assistant District Attorneys in Manhattan before establishing the law practice.