Larceny Charges In Massachusetts:
Charges for stealing of theft in Massachusetts are called “Larceny Offenses.” Larceny in Massachusetts is defined as taking the property of another person, with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property. Every element of the crime, including the identity of the defendant and their intent, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for someone to be found guilty of Larceny. There are many different types of Larceny in Massachusetts. The biggest distinction is for the Larceny of Property Valued at over $250, or under $250. That is the cutoff between a misdemeanor and felony for a Larceny charge. Beyond the dollar amount, there are also other types of Larceny that can be charged in Massachusetts.
Types of Larceny Charges:
- Larceny of Property Valued at Over $250
- Larceny of Property Valued at Under $250
- Larceny by Check
- Larceny by Single Scheme
- Theft of Services
- Larceny by Credit Card
- Shoplifting (the dollar cutoff for shoplifting offenses is $100)
- Identity Theft
- Larceny by Identity Fraud
- Larceny of a Firearm
- Larceny of a Motor Vehicle
What is Petty Larceny vs. Grand Larceny?
In some states, Larceny is divided into Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny. In Massachusetts, the crime is broken down into Larceny Over $250, and Larceny under $250. Larceny Under is considered a misdemeanor, and has less serious penalties than Larceny Over, which is a felony. Both types of Larceny carry the potential of jail time.
What are the penalties for larceny in Massachusetts?
Larceny of Property worth $250 or less can be punished by up to one year in jail.
Larceny of Property worth $250 or more can be punished by up to 5 years in State Prison, or up to 2 years in jail.
What is the difference between robbery and larceny?
A Robbery is a Larceny by using force or the threat of force. There are different types of Robbery: Armed Robbery, Unarmed Robbery, and Larceny from a Person would all be considered types of Robberies. Muggings, grabbing someone’s phone, or robbing a convenience store or a bank would all be types of robberies.
What is the court process if I am charged with larceny?
Depending on the type of larceny, a person charged with larceny can either be arrested or summonsed to court. The case could go to a Clerk’s Hearing/Magistrate’s Hearing, or directly to arraignment. In a Larceny case, there could be different types of evidence that your lawyer should be getting the court to order be turned over to you. There may be videos, photographs, internal store reports, bank records, or other pieces of evidence that you are entitled to.
Once the discovery process is complete, your lawyer should be considering a wide array of motions. After motions are filed and argued, the case will be scheduled for trial. At any stage of the case, the charges can be dismissed or resolved.
What defense/ options do I have?
There are many defenses to a charge of Larceny. Oftentimes, someone can be charged with Larceny based on a misunderstanding or someone making false accusations. In a Larceny case, there may be motions to dismiss that should be argued and filed. There may also be motions to suppress, which are motions asking the judge to throw out certain evidence if the defendant’s rights were violated. There might be motions to suppress physical evidence such as things that may have been found in someone’s pockets, car, or home. There could also be motions to suppress an identification of the defendant, and a motion to suppress statements or a confession that the defendant may have made. Getting evidence thrown out can often be important in defending a larceny case.
Every criminal defendant also has a right to a trial. At a trial, the commonwealth (the DA’s Office or AG’s Office), must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many defenses and arguments that can be made at a trial that can result in a verdict of not guilty in a larceny case.
Why you need a larceny lawyer to defend your case:
A conviction for Larceny can result in a jail sentence. Also, this type of charge on your record can make it difficult to find a job as employers can often look at your record. A Larceny charge can have very serious consequences and can follow you for a long time. There are also many defenses to this type of charge. You need lawyers who are experienced in handling larceny cases to ensure that your rights are being protected.
Frequently asked questions about larceny:
1. How can larceny affect my career?
Oftentimes, when applying for a job, a potential employer will be able to look at your criminal record. Also, some jobs will run regular background checks of all of their employees. Larceny is the type of charge that can look very bad in terms of employment, and it is extremely important to protect your record for this reason.
2. Can I go to jail for larceny?
Yes. Depending on the type of Larceny, someone convicted of the crime can face up to 5 years in State Prison.
3. What factor does intent play in larceny charges?
Intent is a big factor in larceny cases. The commonwealth must prove not only that the defendant intended to take someone’s property, but also, that he or she intended to deprive that person of their property permanently. The successful defense of a larceny case will often hinge on the element of “intent.”
4. Can a minor be charged with larceny?
There are many different types of larceny charges in Massachusetts, and both juveniles and adults can face these types of charges.