Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Greg Colavecchia, Esq.
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Theft Crime Defense Attorney in New York

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Theft is the crime of illegally taking another person’s property by the use of force, lying or deceit. This offense is very serious, and if you have been arrested, you could be facing severe penalties. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may either be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony and you may be forced to serve years in prison and pay steep fines. Criminal convictions can be devastating, so you need to immediately retain the representation of an understanding lawyer from King Law right away. By working with a criminal attorney in Rochester from the firm, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

What Theft Charges Are You Facing?

In the state of New York, there are multiple types of theft. Under New York law, most theft offenses are described as larceny:

“A person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds such property from an owner thereof.”

Shoplifting is the crime of taking merchandise from a store or tampering with the price of a product. If you are knowingly changing the price of an item or knowingly concealing goods from a store that are valued at less than $1,000, you may be charged with this offense.

Petit Larceny
This crime is sometimes referred to as a petty theft and involves the taking of an item valued at less than $1,000. Unlike shoplifting, petit larceny does not necessarily have to occur in a store but can pertain to goods taken from a person or their property.

Identity Theft
Taking another person’s identity is a theft crime and also may be considered a white collar crime. This form of fraud uses another person’s name, Social Security number, bank account information or other personal information to take money or assets from the victim.

Grand Larceny
Grand larceny is a felony offense, punishable by prison sentencing and steep fines. Any item taken that is valued over $1,000 can be considered grand larceny. Common types of grand larceny include grand theft auto or grand theft firearm.

Any forced and unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime once inside the structure, home, building or office is considered burglary. This crime is classified as first degree, second degree or third degree, all of which are very serious offenses.

Common Theft Defenses in Rochester, NY

Numerous deciding factors could determine what exact sentencing you may be served with if you are convicted, and an attorney from King Law can help create a unique defense. If you are facing any kind of theft charges, you should know that you could end up being sentenced to time in jail and substantial fines if you are convicted. As such, it is essential to develop a defense strategy that fits the needs of your case.

The following are some examples of common theft defenses in New York, which an experienced Rochester criminal defense attorney may be able to use to help you beat the charges against you.

You Lawfully Owned the Property

One of the most common theft defense strategies is to prove that you lawfully owned the property. For example, if you visited a retail store on a Monday and accidentally left your bag on a rack or on a shelf, and you return to the store the following day and take your bag out of the store with you, you cannot face theft-related charges for taking property from the retail store since you lawfully owned the property. Or, for example, if a neighbor borrowed your lawnmower and failed to return it, you cannot be charged with larceny for going into your neighbor’s garage and reclaiming the lawnmower that belongs to you (although you could potentially face other charges related to trespassing, for instance).

You Did Not Have Intent to Steal or Take the Property

As you can see from the definition of larceny under New York law, you can only face criminal charges for this offense if the prosecution can prove that you took property with intent to deprive someone else of that property. Accordingly, being able to show that you did not have intent is a common strategy for fighting theft charges. Proving a lack of intent can take different forms. For example, you might have legitimately believed you owned the property you took. Say, for instance, you claimed lost luggage at a train station or airport because you believed the luggage was in fact your lost luggage. If it later turns out that the luggage was not yours and you realize when you are confronted by a law enforcement officer, you cannot face theft charges under the law we cited if you did not realize the property was not yours.

Value of the Property is Less Than the Cited Amount

While it is not a full defense to a theft-related charge, if you are facing grand larceny charges yet you can prove that the property is actually valued at much less than $1,000, you may be able to see a reduction in the charges you are facing and, accordingly, a reduction in the possible sentence.

Obtain Aggressive Defense Immediately!

Without the representation of a lawyer, you could be spending years behind bars and have a permanent criminal record. Regardless of the amount of goods that were stolen, the type of goods that were stolen or if you have been wrongly accused of a crime, you need to work with an attorney.

The New York criminal justice system can be difficult to navigate, and you should ensure that your lawyer is experienced in all areas of criminal law. At King Law, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. The firm has successfully tried more than 100 criminal cases and may be able to help you as well.

Contact a Rochester theft crime defense attorney today by completing a free case evaluation form or calling (585) 270-8882!