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Suffolk County Grand Larceny in the Second Degree

Larceny is a crime involving the unlawful taking of the property of another person. In order words, it is stealing. Under the law, the higher the value of the property that is stolen, the more serious the charge you will face. Grand larceny does not only mean simply taking someone else's property and keeping it for yourself. It can also be acquiring the property by embezzlement, fraud, or blackmail. It is one of the most common crimes in New York and across the country. While grand larceny is different from petit larceny based on the value of the property taken, there are also several different degrees of grand larceny that are also based on the value of the property stolen as well as how the property was taken and what type of property was taken. The least serious grand larceny charge is grand larceny in the fourth degree and the most serious is grand larceny in the first degree. While grand larceny in the second degree is not the most serious, if convicted your sentence could include years and years in prison. If you have been charged with grand larceny in the second degree the best way to fight the charges is to contact an experienced Suffolk County Grand Larceny in the Second Degree Lawyer who not only is familiar with the New York criminal justice system, but who will also be committed to aggressively defending you against the grand larceny charges.

Definition of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree

Under N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.40, you have committed grand larceny in the second degree if you steal property and

  • The property has a value of more than $50,000,
  • The theft involves blackmail with the threat of harm to the victim or to the property, or
  • You are a public servant, and the theft involves blackmail as well as the abuse of your public office.

The New York Penal Code defines larceny as stealing the property of another person. For purposes of the theft statute the term "property" can refer to practically anything. Money and personal property such as electronics typically come to mind. However, the property can also be real property, computer data, computer program, evidence of debt or contract, gas, water, electricity, or any other thing of value. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.00(1). For example, in Smith v. State of New York, 901 N.Y.S.2d 902 (2009), the basis of this action involved a theft of a screenplay. In People v. Perry, 980 N.Y.S.2d 225 (2014), defendant David Perry was charged with in excess of $50,000 worth of retirement benefits.

Petit larceny, the least severe larceny charge, is a Class A misdemeanor. If the value of the property stolen is $1,000 or less, then this the charge you will face. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.25. It is sometimes referred to as the "shoplifting" charge. In all other cases the charge will be felony grand larceny. The exception to the $1,000 cutoff rule is where there is a special circumstance that would make the crime more serious even if the value of the property is less than $1,000. For example, if the theft involves extortion with threats of harm to a person, property or a threat to abuse a public office, even if the value of the property involved is less than $50,000, the charge will be grand larceny in the second degree. In addition, in the case of extortion, it does not matter if the threat was overt or subtle. In People v. Phue, 290 A.D.2d 361 (2002), the court noted that a conviction on a grand larceny in the second degree charge can be sustained if there was extortion that included a threat that was only a suggestion or innuendo.

Assessing Property Value

The assessed value of the stolen property is a critical factor in determining the charge you will face. It is irrelevant that you did not know the value of the item when you stole it, or if you thought the value of the item was lower than its actual value. The prosecutor will seek to assess the highest possible value so that you will be charged with grand larceny in the second degree or even grand larceny in the first degree. The grand larceny statute provides guidelines as to how to determine the value of stolen property. It is the market value of the property at the time and place of the larceny. If that cannot be determined an alternative way to determine value is to figure out the property's replacement cost. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.20. It will be up to you to convince the court that the value of the property was low enough to get the charge lowered to grand larceny in the third degree, fourth degree, or to the misdemeanor charge of petit larceny.

Sentence for Second Degree Grand Larceny

Grand larceny in the second degree is a Class C felony. The sentence can range from probation to several years in prison. The maximum possible sentence is up to 15 years in prison. If you are a first time offender, you may not necessarily be sentenced to prison. You may receive probation, or a short prison sentence probation. If have been convicted of a felony within the last 10 years, you will be sentenced to prison. The sentencing guidelines requires that predicate felons convicted of grand larceny in the second degree receive a minimum sentence of at least 4-6 years in prison. In determining your sentence, the court will look not only at your criminal history, but also at the facts of your case. In People v. Farnsworth, 960 N.Y.S.2d 246 (2013), defendant Rebecca Farnsworth was convicted of grand larceny in the second degree based on stealing money from her employer. Farnsworth did not have a criminal history. She was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling $150,000. In imposing this sentence, the judge considered that over several years Farnsworth deceived those who trusted her.

A conviction on a second degree grand larceny charge, or any grand larceny charge could land you in prison away from your family for years. For this reason, if you are arrested and charged with grand larceny in the second degree, you should immediately contact an experienced attorney. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts accused of theft. We understand the complexities of New York criminal law and will ensure that we will work hard to secure the best possible outcome for your case given the circumstances of your case. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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