What Does Larceny Mean For You?

by garyhall434 on July 19, 2012

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(US criminal law) It is rare for a person to use the word “Larceny” in common usage unless they are specifically talking about a crime. It is far more typical to hear words like “theft” and “burglary”, but these are not strictly the same thing under the letter of the law. In the strictest sense it takes place when one person acquires the property of another person without a proper legal procedure for property transfer. It can involve physically taking it, known as caption, as well as taking it away, known as asportation. It can only involve physical property, as opposed to an idea or design, which falls under intellectual property.

In United States law, larceny falls under the heading of common law crime. This means it is handled by judges in common law courts that apply previous rulings to modern cases. This differentiates from uncommon law rulings in which case there are no precedents (new inventions and innovations like the Internet, for example, created cases without precedent) and there is no decision that could bind future rulings. A larceny charge is established when a person reports that their property has been unlawfully taken and a police officer arrests a person under suspicion of having taken the aforementioned property. Larceny must be done by taking away something, such as a television without a home or a radio within a car, to deprive the owner of the item permanently. This means that you cannot be charged with larceny in cases when land or land rights (such as buildings or minerals) are in question. Fraud or identity theft are not larceny, nor are thefts of finances from labor or contracts. All property must be that “of another”; you cannot commit larceny if you happen upon property that goes unclaimed. Consent is also crucial: property taken by agreement and then contested is not larceny. If you don’t know what to do after being charged or feel like you have been wrongfully charged, contact a lawyer such as Elliot Savitz at www.elliotsavitzlaw.com.

To be charged with larceny, a prosecuting attorney from the state must charge you with intent to steal. No person can be charged with larceny if it may be proved that they did not fully mean to deprive the owner of their possession permanently. As an example, a person who steals a car but brings it back before the owner realizes it will not be charged with larceny, given their lack intention to permanently keep the car. Other people who take an item because they believe it is their own property do not have an intention to steal.

The final consideration in a larceny charge is that a stolen object must have some sort of financial value. A token that has only emotional value is not larceny, while a person who steals a bag of garbage is not committing larceny. Many states invoke a minimum value of $1000 or more for grand larceny, differentiating it from petty larceny. Stolen automobiles are a major source of grand larceny charges. Larceny is different from shoplifting in that it is not the theft of an item strictly for sale, which has a higher value than an item owned by default.



Gary Hall is a top auto accidents lawyer in Sherman Oaks serving clients all over California. His thoughtful and professional way of handling personal injury cases sets him apart from the others. He is an experienced car accident lawyer Sherman Oaks, who do not hesitate to handle any personal injury matters of any clients.

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