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Suffolk County Grand Larceny of a Firearm

Whether a theft will be considered a misdemeanor or a felony generally depends upon the value of the property stolen. However, when it comes to firearms or guns, there is an exception to this general rule. Regardless of the value of the firearm, stealing a firearm is a felony. The theft is a type of larceny. New York law defines larceny as obtaining, taking or withholding the property owned by another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05(1). "Property" can be just about anything. Examples of types of property that are specifically mentioned in the statute include money, real property, personal property, computer data, gas, water, electricity, as well as firearms. New York law enforcement considers the theft of guns to be particularly serious and will aggressively seek to prosecute anyone charged with stealing guns. For this reason if you are charged with stealing a gun, it would be wise to immediately contact an experienced Suffolk County Grand Larceny of a Firearm Lawyer who understands the laws related to stealing a firearm and who will vigorously defend you throughout the entire criminal process.

Types of Larceny

All larceny crimes fall into one of two general categories: petit larceny and grand larceny. Petit larceny is the less severe offense and generally applies when the value of the property stolen does not reach $1,000. It is a misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to 1 year in jail. On the other hand, grand larceny is the charge applied to thefts that are more serious because the value of the property stolen is over $1,000. However, grand larceny is also the charge in cases that involve certain types of property regardless of whether or not the property's value is over $1,000. The theft of a firearm falls into this category.

Grand Larceny of a Firearm

If you steal a firearm, the minimum charge that you will face is grand larceny in the fourth degree. It is a Class E felony with a possible sentence of up to 4 years in prison. Other grand larceny charges include grand larceny in the third degree, grand larceny in the second degree, and grand larceny in the first degree. The greater the value of the firearms you steal, the more serious charge you will face. While the term "firearm" means gun, for the purposes of the grand larceny statute it refers to only certain types of guns as follows:

  • Any type of pistol
  • Any type of revolver
  • A shotgun with one more barrels that are less than 18" long
  • A rifle with one more barrels that are less than 16" long
  • Any weapon made from a rifle or shotgun that is less than 26" long
  • An assault weapon.

Excluded from the definition of firearm are antique firearms. N.Y. Pen. Law § 265.00(3)

Additional Charges

If you are charged with stealing a firearm you will probably face additional charges as well, such as criminal possession of a weapon or criminal possession of stolen property. Furthermore, if you posses a firearm with the intent to use it against another person, then you can be charged with criminal possession of firearm in the second degree, a Class C felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 265.03. If you are found with at least 10 firearms, you could be charged with criminal possession of a firearm in the first degree. This is one of the most serious gun crimes and is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 265.04. If convicted you could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

Consequence of a Conviction

As a Class E felony, if you are convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree based on stealing a firearm, you will face a maximum prison sentence of up to 4 years. However, in determining your sentence, the court will consider a number of factors including you criminal history. If this is your first felony conviction, the judge will look upon that favorably and give you a lighter sentence then if you have prior felony convictions. If you do have a prior felony conviction, the judge will be required to sentence you to at least 1.5 years in prison.

In addition to being sentenced to prison, you will probably also have to pay restitution and be sentenced to 5 years of probation. During the 5 years of probation you will be required to follow strict rules. For example, you will be required to maintain a job, support your family, adhere to a curfew, submit to warrantless searches, refrain from the excessive use of alcohol, refrain from associating with other convicted felons, refrain from patronizing disreputable places, and regularly report to your probation officer. In other words, you will not be permitted to do things that may lead you to commit another crime. If you break any of the rules then your probation officer may violate you. You will then be required to appear before a judge. If the judge agrees that you have violated your probation, you may be sent to prison.

As soon as you have been arrested for a charge of grand larceny of a firearm you should contact experienced representation. As there may be defenses or mitigating factors that could lead to the charges against you being dropped or reduced it is crucial to have someone who is knowledgeable about the New York criminal justice system support and guide you from the beginning of your case until it is resolved. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with theft crimes such as grand larceny of a firearm, possession of stolen property, burglary, and robbery. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.

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