28 Jun 20

NY Penal Law § 155.40: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree

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Last Updated on: 5th August 2023, 01:32 am

If you are suspected of theft in New York, grand larceny is the offense with which you could be charged. Under New York criminal law, larceny is a legal term for theft, or stealing the property of another individual else with the intent of keeping that property away from its owner. It does not matter if you take it on someone else’s behalf or steal it and then give it to someone else. Larceny can be carried out in several different processes, including trespassory taking, extortion, trick, embezzlement, false pretenses, or writing a bad check.  You have committed grand larceny in the second degree under New York Penal Code § 155.40 if you unlawfully take property and


  • The value of the property is greater than $50,000, or
  • The theft involves some form of extortion.


For Example

Dona walks into a jewelry store and lays her eyes on a gorgeous diamond necklace that she just has to have. The price tag on the necklace is $60,000. She wrote a check to the jeweler to purchase it. The manager of the store did not have an issue accepting a check from Dona because she was a regular client and has paid by check in the past. Unfortunately, on this occasion, Dona’s check was returned by her bank due to insufficient funds. The store manager attended for several weeks to collect the money from Dona, but was unable to do so. Finally, the manager had no choice but to contact the police. Dona could face prosecution for grand larceny in the second degree because writing a bad check is a form of theft under this law.


Offenses that are Related

Grand larceny in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 155.42

Grand larceny in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 155.35

Grand larceny in the fourth degree: New York Penal Code § 155.30


Possible Defenses

If you get charged with grand larceny in the second degree under New York Penal Code § 155.15, a good defense against the charge is that you had reason to believe that you had a right to take the property. It is not required that you did indeed have such a right, only that you had a good faith claim of right to the property.


Larceny is defined in the New York Penal Code as having the “intent” to deprive someone of his or her property. What this means to you is that in order for you to get charged with grand larceny in the second degree, the prosecutor needs to be able to demonstrate that you did not take the property by mistake, or that you did not simply borrow the property. If you had no intentions of  depriving the owner of his or her property, then you did not commit larceny.


The Sentence

Grand larceny in the second degree is categorized as a class C felony. Although your sentence can range from probation to prison, the maximum possible sentence you could face is up to 15 years in prison. If you are a first time offender, you may not necessarily be sentenced to a prison term. If, on the other hand, you have been convicted of a felony within the last 10 years, you will be sentenced to jail time. The sentencing rules mandate that predicate felons convicted of grand larceny in the second degree receive a minimum sentence of at least 4-6 years behind bars.