Perhaps the most common type of crime committed by young people in New York and beyond is theft. Whether it’s a privileged teenager stealing a magazine for a thrill, or a child who has fallen into gang activity robbing a person on the street, theft-related offenses are all too common among adolescents. Until recently, criminal attorneys representing juveniles and children in New York State’s adult criminal justice system, even as 16 year olds, where these youths faced severe penalties including prison. Due to the recent Raise the Age legislation in New York, these “Adolescent Offenders” can now be diverted into Family Court, rather than the more severe and frightening adult system, where there are more services, programs and support available to hopefully intercept these teenagers before they go too far down the criminal rabbit-hole.
While many instances of theft seem simple enough, there is actually much more going on in any given theft from a legal point of view whether you are charged with any degree of Grand Larceny or Petit Larceny. Under New York law, and as your criminal defense attorney can further explain, these offenses largely come down to a person’s intent. As a given case or scenario gets more and more complicated, a person’s intent becomes more and more difficult to discern from their actions. This is especially apparent in so-called New York White Collar crimes or allegations of criminal offenses in the context of banking or financial transactions.
What is “stealing” you ask? A mere taking of someone’s property without their permission or authority? Yes, in part, but actually much, much more. While those unfamiliar with the criminal law may see theft, larceny and stolen property related crimes through their own respective lenses, the New York Penal Law defines these offenses – Petit Larceny, Grand Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property – with elements that every prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and every criminal defense lawyer actively challenges to prevent the District Attorney from doing so.
Drafted by the legislature into Penal Law 155.05(1), to violate either misdemeanor Petit Larceny or any degree of felony Grand Larceny, you must have the intent to deprive another person of his or her property or appropriate the same for yourself or another party. Not only must you have this goal when taking the property, but you in fact must do so successfully and wrongfully.
As set forth in New York Penal Law 155.05(1), the hallmark of any arrest involving misdemeanor Petit Larceny or felony Grand Larceny is that no matter the taking or the nature of the property involved, an accused must also have the intent to deprive another person of that property or, alternatively, appropriate the same to him or herself. In non-legal terms, if an accused takes another person’s wallet from their hand, $100 in cash from their pocket, or diamond encrusted tiara from their head and instead of running off to squirrel it away or sell it, for example, he or she merely tosses it on the ground and walks away, prosecutors may not prove a larceny related arrest beyond a reasonable doubt. While clearly an issue of fact as to intent, before any judge or jury can render a verdict, the District Attorney, aka, the “People,” must establish the element of either “deprive” or “appropriate” as defined in Penal Law 155.00. As demonstrated in the below case, albeit an extreme and grotesque example of a moral failing, failure to do so can be fatal to any larceny offense.
From corporate enterprises and families to small businesses to the New York State government, budgets always seem to get tighter and tighter. By no means an excuse to commit a crime of deceit or fraud, it is far from atypical to hear of investigations and arrests involving Criminal Tax Fraud as set for New York State Tax Law Article 1800. With penalties in terms of dollars and prison looming overhead, what may be a simple mistake has the potential to devolve into a felony with crippling consequences. Whether through a criminal lawyer versed in tax crimes and laws or on your own, to best prevent yourself from running afoul of any of these statutes, and particularly a “tax fraud act” defined in New York State Tax Law 1801, knowledge is key. Serving only as a cursory analysis of the various criminal offenses associated with failing to remit, providing materially false or fraudulent information on a return, evading taxes and other misconduct, this entry will briefly address when Criminal Tax Fraud is also violates the Grand Larceny statute found in Article 155 of the New York Penal Law.
There are three degrees of Robbery in New York State all of which are felony crimes. Third Degree Robbery, New York Penal Law 160.05, Second Degree Robbery, New York Penal Law 160.10 and First Degree Robbery, New York Penal Law 160.15. Each of these crimes, ranging from Third to First Degree, have potential sentences of up to seven, fifteen and twenty five years respectively. Not only is an arrest quite severe, but a punishment and sentence for the latter two offenses, NY PL 160.10 and NY PL 160.15, also have mandatory minimums of 3.5 and 5 years from the lesser crime to the more serious. Without addressing the numerous differences between the crimes, you can discuss how a Second Degree Robbery differs from a First Degree Robbery with your own criminal defense lawyer, there are some important factors that distinguish these felonies. While briefly address the elements of these crimes, this blog entry will address a specific characteristic of any Robbery arrest in New York and one that is addressed in the Jury Instructions for NY Penal Law Article 160.
In New York, there are several criminal charges unique to the jurisdiction, whether it’s in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or upstate in Rockland or Westchester County. The first of these not-so-obvious criminal statutes is Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, PL 165.05, 165.06 and 165.07. A person may be charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle when they take a vehicle without the consent of the owner. This may sound like simple stealing, covered by other crimes such as Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, PL 155.30(8). However, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle also covers situation where the person took possession of the vehicle lawfully, such as renting a car, but when that person then operates it outside the bounds of the rental agreement, such as keeping the car past the date it was due to be returned, or operating it outside of the are that the owner permitted it to be used. This could also apply in a situation where a person turns over their car to a mechanic for some repair work, and the mechanic takes the vehicle for joy-ride, or otherwise uses the car without the owner’s consent. Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, just like Petit Larceny, PL 155.25.
In New York, general theft-related crimes are referred to as “larcenies.” A crime of larceny essentially boils down to an allegation that a person, the defendant in a criminal case, stole property. There are many different ways in which a person steals property under the Criminal Procedure Law and Penal Law, specifically under Penal Law 155.05, which defines “larceny.” What level of crime may be charged, such as a B Felony, D Felony, or A Misdemeanor, and whether a person may be charged with Grand Larceny or Petit Larceny, depends on many factors including the method by which the person allegedly stole property, the nature of the property that was stolen, and the total value of that property. The difference between being charged with a felony and a misdemeanor is huge, and it is critical that a person charged with a larceny in New York understands the implications of that distinction. A criminal lawyer with expertise in this area can be invaluable.
Health care, and issues surrounding the same, is discussed almost daily on the radio, television and internet. Simply, health care is a daily part of our lives in both the political and literal sense. While we may know about “Obama Care,” attempts to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and different health insurance options, New York criminal lawyers often hear about or deal with health care issues in a completely different context. What is that you ask? Because of the prevalent fraud that is perpetrated to and in the health care system, District Attorneys and the New York State Attorney General actively investigate and prosecute individuals and groups of people from pharmacists and physicians to patients and office staff, for violating a Health Care Fraud pursuant to New York Penal Law Article 177. Depending on the amount of the theft from a health plan over a one year period, exposure to incarceration is not merely a legitimate concern, but a potential reality whether a person is arrested for First Degree Heath Care Fraud, Fifth Degree Health Care Fraud or crime in between.
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.