27 Nov 23

Theft and Larceny Charges in Long Island: Available Defenses

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Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 10:59 pm

Theft and Larceny Charges in Long Island: Available Defenses

Getting arrested for theft or larceny can be scary. Even if you feel wrongly accused, these charges carry real penalties in New York. But don’t panic! There are viable legal defenses depending on your specific situation. This article overviews common theft/larceny charges in Long Island, potential penalties, and possible defenses to fight the accusations.

Common Theft and Larceny Charges

Several charges fall under the umbrella of “theft” or “larceny” crimes. Some examples include:

  • Petit Larceny – Stealing property valued under $1,000. This misdemeanor carries up to 1 year in jail.
  • Grand Larceny 4th Degree – Stealing property valued between $1,000-$3,000. It’s a felony with up to 4 years prison.
  • Grand Larceny 3rd Degree – Stealing property worth more than $3,000. Punishable by up to 7 years prison.
  • Burglary – Illegally entering a building to commit a crime inside (often theft).
  • Robbery – Using force or threats while stealing property. Robbery is more severe than basic theft.
  • Shoplifting – Stealing merchandise from a store.

Penalties get harsher as the alleged value of stolen property increases. Grand larceny charges also require prosecutors to prove you “intended to deprive the owner of property permanently.”

Gathering Evidence in Larceny Cases

To convict on larceny, D.A.s typically use evidence like:

  • Security camera footage
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Receipts/records proving your possession of stolen goods
  • Texts or social media implicating your involvement
  • Your statements to police during investigation

Prosecutors build cases by gathering enough convincing evidence to prove guilt “beyond reasonable doubt.” But even seemingly solid cases have exploitable holes. An experienced defense attorney locates these weaknesses and leverages them to fight the charges.

Possible Defenses Against Theft and Larceny

Various defenses could defeat these allegations depending on circumstances. Common strategies include:

False Accusations & Mistaken Identity

Perhaps someone with similar appearance perpetrated the crime while you were elsewhere. This “mistaken identity” defense introduces reasonable doubt about your guilt. We would present alibis, mistaken identity precedents, plus evidence suggesting innocence.

Lack of Criminal Intent

You must’ve intended to permanently deprive owners of property for larceny conviction. If circumstances show you lacked this intent, charges could get dismissed. Like borrowing a friend’s item then returning it later.

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Justification Defenses

Special scenarios justify otherwise illegal acts. For example, trespassing to prevent serious harm. While theft always feels “unjustified,” certain rationales have worked in court before.


This argues police improperly induced you into committing the crime. It admits you did the act, but maintains you wouldn’t have without their persuasion. Entrapment claims require proof of police misconduct.

Illegally Obtained Evidence

If police violated rights gathering evidence, that evidence gets excluded. Like coerced confessions, unwarranted searches/seizures, etc. Excluding damning evidence often tanks prosecutor’s cases.

We would analyze the specific circumstances, then develop an appropriate defense strategy leveraging the strongest arguments.

How an Attorney Helps Fight Theft Charges

Navigating larceny allegations alone rarely ends well. Prosecutors tend to pursue maximum penalties, while judges show little leniency.

A knowledgeable lawyer guides you through the chaotic legal process – investigating facts, identifying defenses, negotiating with D.A.s, and representing you in court. Attorneys understand both the letter of the law and the “real world” variables impacting cases. We leverage this expertise protecting client interests.

While avoiding jail time remains the priority, attorneys also mitigate collateral damages from arrests. We seal records, restore driving privileges, and advise on employment issues stemming from charges.

In short – skilled lawyers tilt the scales back in your favor. We dig for weaknesses in the state’s case and attack accusations from every angle. Don’t wait to call an attorney after getting charged. Speaking with one BEFORE arrests often prevents charges altogether.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Situation

Ideally, consult an attorney as soon as you become aware of theft allegations. Time equals leverage in legal disputes. Acting quickly lets lawyers intervene before arrests or charges.

When researching attorneys, prioritize experience and credentials over other factors. Check credentials on sites like Avvo. Read online reviews. Ask about case results. An attorney shouldn’t guarantee specific outcomes, but should express confidence based on history.

Choose someone who listens and responds to your needs. This shows they’ll personalize representation rather than treating you like another case file. Also ensure they clearly explain concepts, potential strategies, and realistic expectations.

Meet with multiple lawyers before deciding. Most offer free consultations allowing you to “shop around” stress-free. However, once you choose an attorney to represent you, stick with them barring extreme circumstances. Constantly switching lawyers often backfires by annoying judges.


Theft charges threaten scary outcomes like jail, fines, and criminal records. But strong legal defenses CAN beat these allegations when leveraged properly. An experienced local attorney thoroughly investigates the facts, locates weaknesses, advises on best strategies, then builds the strongest arguments for dismissal. Don’t wait to seek counsel – acting quickly improves the chances of favorable resolution. Use this guide to understand common larceny crimes, typical evidence, possible defenses, and finding the right lawyer for your unique situation. Knowledge and preparation breed confidence for overcoming these challenges. You can get through this!

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