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Larceny Case Study

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Larceny is a general term in the legal field that involves some type of stealing. Dependent on the state there is more than one type of larceny or more than one category. This paper will cover the two types of larceny are grand and petty larceny. It will also cover the variations that there may be in different states.

Grand larceny is defined as a person unlawfully takes an item with the intention of depriving the owner of the item. The main key to this crime is the intent the suspect had when they took this item. Questions such as were they planning on just borrowing it and returning it at a later time? For example, someone asks a neighbor to borrow their lawn mower and forgets to return it. Or was the intention that they were going to deprive the owner of the item. For example, someone asks a neighbor to borrow their lawn mower, but then goes and sells it at a pawn shop. Grand larceny is usually dealing with a higher dollar amount vs. petty larceny. Grand larceny, dependent on the state could range from values over $250 or $500. In these cases, the crime of grand larceny would be considered to be a felony.

Petty larceny has the same definition as grand larceny, but the value of the items is less. Usually less than $250 or $500. This most likely makes it a misdemeanor instead of a felony. As such, two people can basically commit the same offense but receive different charges solely because of the value of the items taken. It is usually distinguished from embezzlement and false pretenses in that the actual taking of the property is accomplished unlawfully and without the victim’s consent, and along with the taking there must be a carrying-off. It is also distinguished from burglary in that the theft does not necessarily involve unlawful breaking and entering.

The elements of the offense for both are typically the same. The first element that has to be met is the unlawful taking and carrying away of an item. The next element is that it has to be someone else’s property. The third element is that it has to be without the consent of the owner. The final element, which is one of the keys is that it has to be with the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently. All four of these elements have to be met in order for it to be larceny.

As stated previously, the dollar amount will make the difference on if it is a misdemeanor of a felony. The taking element in a theft typically requires seizing possession of property that belongs to another, and may also involve removing or attempting to remove the property. However, it is the element of intent where most of the complex legal challenges typically arise in theft-related cases. In order for a theft to be proven, it often must be shown that the accused acted with the specific intent to take someone else’s property and to keep it or otherwise convert it. Some of the most common defenses in theft cases reflect this challenge, as a defendant may claim that they thought certain property was theirs or that they were just borrowing it.

Punishment for state to state varies but typically is around the same terms. For grand larceny jail sentences can vary from four years to twenty five years. A lot of the jail term may be defined by the money value of the crime. The higher the dollar amount, the higher the jail sentence. For petty larceny terms can range from just a fine, probation or up to four years in prison. Judges have discretion on the term of the sentences and usually consider other factors when determining the amount of time. These other factors may include: prior criminal record, ability to pay restitution and family and community ties. Also many states have an addendum in their statute that if the victim is 65 years or older, the punishment is greater.

The two types of larceny: grand larceny and petty larceny have the same definition but are separated by the dollar amount that is taken. The key in proving this type of crime is that the suspect intended to permanently deprive the victim of the item(s). Without proving this, the prosecution does not have a case as stated earlier in the paper. The punishments vary by state, in that they have certain dollar amount requirements in determining a misdemeanor of a felony charge. Jail sentences are dependent on the dollar amount along with the age of the victim. The judge also takes into consideration the suspects prior criminal record, ability to pay restitution and family and community ties. All of these factors have an impact when determining the amount of time the offender will serve.

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