New York Felony Theft Charge
Criminal Defense Lawyers

Santana Law Firm is a New York City criminal defense firm that represents individuals charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen goods, and other felony theft crimes. From our offices in Manhattan and the Bronx, we have spent two decades defending the rights of people who have been charged with crimes in NYC.

We know that theft isn’t always a cut-and-dry crime. In many cases, people accused of theft had no intention to steal and no knowledge of the seriousness of their actions. Yet New York State punishes theft harshly, often automatically charging theft as a felony crime with sentences as severe as several years in prison.

The attorneys at Santana Law Firm believe that every person accused of theft deserves fair treatment and an aggressive lawyer on their side. As former Brooklyn prosecutors, we know the NYC criminal justice system and, most importantly, the tactics prosecutors use to convict individuals on the harshest charges possible. If you or a loved one has been accused of theft, let us help you resolve the charges and get your life back to normal.

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When Is Theft a Felony in New York?

Theft is a property crime where the alleged defendant has unlawfully taken another person’s property with no intention of returning it.

While many people use the term “theft” generally, it encompasses several different crimes, including:

  • Credit card theft
  • Embezzlement
  • Grand larceny
  • Grand theft auto
  • Identity theft
  • Issuing bad checks
  • Robbery
  • Shoplifting

In New York, theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. This determination is largely based on the value of the allegedly stolen property. Typically, a theft crime will be considered a felony in New York State if the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,000.

New York State also distinguishes between different levels of felony theft crimes, with class B felonies being more severe. Theft crimes are not usually considered class A felonies—the most serious crime in NYS—but some class A felony charges, such as major trafficking or conspiracy, may be accompanied by felony theft charges if larceny was part of the alleged crime.

Felony theft charges typically follow these guidelines:

  • Class E Felonies: More than $1,000 but less than $3,000
  • Class D Felonies: More than $3,000 but less than $50,000
  • Class C Felonies: More than $50,000 but less than $1 million
  • Class B Felonies: More than $1 million

Note that in some cases, there are other factors that can automatically make a charge a felony. For example, stealing an automobile is nearly always a felony, even if the stolen vehicle is worth less than $1,000. Stealing a credit card is also always charged as a felony.

Theft Crimes Under NY Penal Code

Specific theft charges vary from state to state. In New York, the majority of felony theft offenses fall under these sections of the state penal code:

  • Grand larceny: NYPL 155.30 through 155.42
  • Criminal possession of stolen property: NYPL 165.45 through 165.54
  • Robbery: NYPL 160.05 through 160.15
  • Aggravated grand larceny of an automated teller machine: NYPL 155.43
  • Unauthorized use of a vehicle: NYPL 165.05 through 165.08
  • Theft of services: NYPL 165.15
  • Identity theft: NYPL 190.78 through 190.80

Note that theft does not always mean stealing physical goods. Under NY law, crimes such as extortion (threatening to expose information unless you are paid), embezzlement (stealing money from your employer or business), and certain forms of fraud (intentionally concealing or providing false information for your benefit) may fall under one of the offenses listed above.

Penalties and Sentences for Felony Theft

Penalties for theft will vary depending on the facts of your case, but the rule of thumb is that felony charges are more serious and therefore result in more serious charges. Defendants with prior criminal charges will also typically face longer sentences than first-time offenders.

Theft-related felonies in New York are categorized as B through E, with B being the most serious crimes and E being the least. Sentences for felony theft in New York include:

  • Class E Felonies: Up to 4 years in prison
  • Class D Felonies: Up to 7 years in prison
  • Class C Felonies: Up to 15 years in prison
  • Class B Felonies: Minimum of one year in prison up to 25 years

Even in cases where there is no minimum prison sentence, it is very likely that individuals found guilty of felony theft will face some prison time.

Other consequences of conviction include:

  • Probation
  • Fines
  • Payment of restitution
  • Community service

Lastly, individuals convicted of felony theft often face lifelong secondary consequences, such as difficulty maintaining a job, renting an apartment, returning to school, getting a loan, buying a house, or getting custody of children. The best way to minimize the legal and personal consequences of a felony theft charge is to work with a skilled lawyer who can minimize the damage as quickly as possible.

Defenses to Grand Larceny Charges

As with any crime, it is the prosecution’s job to convince the court of your guilt, and you have a right to defend yourself against the prosecution’s allegations. In order to be convicted of grand larceny or another theft crime, the prosecution must prove:

  • 1You intentionally took someone else’s property;
  • 2The property you took actually belonged to someone else and not you;
  • 3You did not have the consent of the owner to take the property; and
  • 4You had intent to permanently deprive that person of that property.

The possible defenses against your charge will depend on your specific situation. However, there are several possible defenses your lawyer may use to fight for you:

Santana Law Firm

can defend you against unfair charges of grand larceny, robbery, or other theft crimes and help you contain the damage of a criminal accusation.

NYC Top Larceny Charge Defense Lawyers

People accused of stealing receive little sympathy from prosecutors, judges, or the public. Although you are innocent until proven guilty under the law, that is not always what happens in reality. The result is that many people charged with theft receive trumped-up felony charges, significant bail, unfair treatment, and harsh sentences.

In this situation, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to have an experienced NYC defense lawyer on your side. If you have been charged with a crime, the prosecution has already begun building their case against you. The sooner you find a skilled and trustworthy lawyer, the sooner you can begin the process of defending yourself, and the higher the chances that your charges can be reduced or dropped.

Contact Santana Law Firm today for a free case evaluation. Once you contact us, we can begin working on your case immediately.