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  • If you have recently been charged with theft whether it is grand larceny or petit larceny,  you may be eligible to have your case dismissed either through an ACD, a dismissal for facial insufficiency of the complaint, or perhaps a dismissal in the interests of justice.  
  • If you were charged with felony grand larceny, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible and preferably before indictment.

A larceny conviction has serious consequences. Even a petit larceny (shoplifting) charge that is plea-bargained down to a disorderly conduct in New York can wreak havoc with one's employment prospects.  On top of that, a  person's reputation, their ability to get a loan, their ability to obtain and retain professional licenses can be severely compromised.  Clearly, people who have made a one-time mistake and are accused of shoplifting or even grand larceny deserve a second chance. Moreover, if you are contemplating a career in finance or working for a bank it is imperative that you have your shoplifting or larceny charge handled properly by a lawyer who understands all of the regulations regarding theft charges and banking rules, particularly FDIC regulations.

As for shoplifting charges, the prosecutors in New York City have programs which allow people accused of shoplifting for the first time and under certain dollar amounts to keep their records clean.  Talk to your lawyer about these programs.  Sometimes, the prosecutors, under some conditions, will even allow people to get their charges dismissed early.  Again, talk to your lawyer about it.

While felony grand larceny charges are taken very seriously and dealt with harshly in many circumstances by the NYC criminal justice system, depending on the circumstances and the dollar amount, it is sometimes possible to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and/or to avoid jail time.

​Remember that employers and schools view theft convictions harshly and that criminal convictions in New York are permanent.  There is no expungement and there is no sealing.  A conviction for theft in New York will be available for background checkers to see for your entire life. There is currently no way to avoid that.  So, make sure that you have the best legal advice you can get before you plead guilty to theft. 


NYC Larceny and Shoplifting charges including theft of services are handled under section 155 of the New York State Penal Law which is essentially set forth below:

"1. A person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof.

2. Larceny includes a wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of another's property, with the intent prescribed in subdivision one of this section, committed in any of the following ways:

(a) By conduct heretofore defined or known as common law larceny by trespassory taking, common law larceny by trick, embezzlement, or obtaining property by false pretenses;

(b) By acquiring lost property.

A person acquires lost property when he exercises control over property of another which he knows to have been lost or mislaid, or to have been delivered under a mistake as to the identity of the recipient or the nature or amount of the property, without taking reasonable measures to return such property to the owner;  So, remember that when it comes to lost property it is not "finders keepers"

(c) By committing the crime of issuing a bad check, as defined in section 190.05;

(d) By false promise.

A person obtains property by false promise when, pursuant to a scheme to defraud, he obtains property of another by means of a representation, express or implied, that he or a third person will in the future engage in particular conduct, and when he does not intend to engage in such conduct or, as the case may be, does not believe that the third person intends to engage in such conduct.

In any prosecution for larceny based upon a false promise, the defendant's intention or belief that the promise would not be performed may not be established by or inferred from the fact alone that such promise was not performed. Such a finding may be based only upon evidence establishing that the facts and circumstances of the case are wholly consistent with guilty intent or belief and wholly inconsistent with innocent intent or belief, and excluding to a moral certainty every hypothesis except that of the defendant's intention or belief that the promise would not be performed;

(e) By extortion.

A person obtains property by extortion when he compels or induces another person to deliver such property to himself or to a third person by means of instilling in him a fear that, if the property is not so delivered, the actor or another will:

(i) Cause physical injury to some person in the future; or

(ii) Cause damage to property; or

(iii) Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or

(iv) Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be instituted against him; or

(v) Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or

(vi) Cause a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action injurious to some person's business; except that such a threat shall not be deemed extortion when the property is demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or

(vii) Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense; or

(viii) Use or abuse his position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to his official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely; or

(ix) Perform any other act which would not in itself materially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm another person materially with respect to his health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.

NY CLS Penal § 155.05"

As one can see, there are numerous "exotic" theories upon which an NYC prosecutor can bring a larceny charge in a NYC Criminal Court. For example,

1) A person who finds a wallet in the street and keeps it commits larceny.

2) Even if a person decides to contact the owner, they are committing larceny if they condition its return to the owner upon getting a reward.

3) A person who gets money from another based on a promise to use the money for a specific purpose commits larceny if it can be proved that the person who requests the money did not have the intent to use the money for the stated purpose.

4) Passing or drawing a check knowing that there are insufficient funds to cover said check is larceny

If you have been arrested for shoplifting or grand Larceny in New York City, talk to a lawyer before you go to court