Larceny vs Theft: Differences, Penalties, and How We Can Help

If you’ve faced a larceny charge in the past or are in the midst of one right now, you’re likely aware that theft comes in several shapes and forms. When comparing larceny vs theft, it’s first important to understand that the term “theft” encompasses a series of different crimes. Larceny is one of them and involves stealing without the use of force.

Read on to understand more about how Massachusetts defines, classifies, and penalizes cases of larceny. Furthermore, be sure to call Murphy & Rudolf, LLP for a free consultation at (508) 570-3037 to get professional help from accredited experts.

Larceny vs Theft, Defined

Starting with larceny, this transgression is defined by the trespassing, taking, and carrying away of personal items from another with clear intent to steal. It’s what you’d think of as “common theft,” entailing stealing without any use of force. Larceny of items over $250 in value or stealing a firearm is classified as grand larceny amounts to a felony in Massachusetts.

Theft, on the other hand, is the umbrella phrase used when referring to the various acts of stealing (robbery, fraud, embezzlement, etc.). Since so many types of theft can be chalked up to property crimes, Massachusetts groups a number of theft crimes under the “larceny” label.

What Constitutes Larceny in Massachusetts

Larceny is otherwise known as a property crime in Massachusetts, with the term “property” encompassing money, bonds, promissory notes, important data, animals, and more. A larceny conviction requires three core qualifiers, all of which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant took possession of and carried away another’s property;
  • The property was owned by someone else;
  • There was an intent to permanently steal that person’s property.

Taking possession of, or carrying away property that isn’t yours classifies as larceny even if the item is slightly altered or moved for a short while. As long as the property is taken out of its owner’s control, it is classified as “taking” or “carrying away,” which constitutes stealing.

Penalties for a Larceny Conviction

For stolen property with a value under $250, the crime is classified as petty larceny – a misdemeanor offense in Massachusetts. Grand larceny, on the other hand, is a felony put into effect when the property has a value at or greater than $250. These cases can result in a maximum sentence of five years in state prison, a fine no larger than $25,000, or a sentencing to county jail for up to two and a half years.

How Murphy & Rudolf, LLP Can Help

Here at Rudolf Smith, we understand that mistakes are made and we are here to help attain the best possible outcome for your case. Our attorneys can help you understand the confusing larceny vs theft dilemma, effectively handle the intricacies of your situation, and ultimately represent you with upstanding professionalism.

To sum it up, larceny is a form of theft with differing charges depending on the value of the stolen items. Grand larceny comes into effect once the value meets or exceeds $250, and can warrant up to five years in a state prison, a maximum fine of $25,000, or a county jail sentencing for up to two and a half years. Rather than leaving the legal education to yourself, however, consider reaching out to the attorneys at Rudolf Smith to handle your larceny case. To get in touch or request a free consultation, visit our contact page or give us a call at (508) 570-3037.

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