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Theft Charges in New York

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2018 | Criminal Law

“Theft” is the lay person’s term for “larceny,” which is the term the state of New York uses when referring to most theft crimes. Types of theft covered by the larceny statutes may include the following.

  • Stealing cosmetics from a drug store.
  • Entering a big box store with the tools needed to de-activate the alarm attached to the latest video game.
  • Taking groceries without paying for them.
  • An office professional helping themselves to office supplies for personal use.
  • A retail clerk only pretending to ring up her friend’s purchases, while in reality not charging for the purchases.
  • Using a credit card that doesn’t belong to you to purchase gas.
  • Ordering items online using someone else’s account without their permission.

These are just a few examples of the different ways one might commit larceny. Using a weapon to effectuate a taking, or injuring someone during a theft may make the charges more serious. However, you should also know threatening the use of a weapon is equally serious.


Because theft is a criminal offense, people convicted of theft crimes face potential jail or prison time, as well as a fine. The amount of time one might serve on a theft conviction varies, depending both on the seriousness of the offense and on whether the person has prior theft convictions.


There are collateral consequences for a theft conviction as well. For example, a theft conviction will appear on a background check. This could make it harder to find employment. A theft conviction could also make it harder to rent an apartment. That’s because not only were you convicted of a crime, you were convicted of a crime that bears on your ability, to tell the truth (a crime of “moral turpitude”).

If you’ve been accused of stealing from a big box store (Walmart, Target, Macy’s, etc.), you can expect to hear from the store’s attorneys demanding that you pay a “civil penalty” (five times the amount you were accused of taking plus the price of the stolen goods themselves if the goods can’t be placed back on the shelf or rack) under Gen. Oblig. Law § 11-105. Parents of minor children can be required to pay in place of their children.


If you are charged with a theft crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. While every case stands on its own unique set of facts, an experienced attorney may be able to keep a conviction off your record.


If you are facing criminal charges, having an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side can make all the difference. At Frost & Kavanaugh, we have nearly 50 years of combined trial experience. From your first interaction with law enforcement or store security, through the police investigation, arrest, and charging, we will examine each and every law enforcement decision to determine whether the police violated your constitutional rights.

We will evaluate the evidence to determine whether a case should be tried, and we will fight to keep the charges off your record if at all possible. We leave no stone unturned in defending against theft charges. Contact us today to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case.