Theft is a crime that often brings significant penalties. Those accused of various theft-related offenses might think that the charges they face are of little consequence. However, theft charges, including shoplifting, can result in felony criminal charges, depending on circumstances.
You don’t even have to steal things to face felony charges associated with theft in New York. If a retailer accuses you of attempting to conceal expensive merchandise or leave a facility without paying for it, even if you never actually do so, you could still face serious criminal charges.
If you find yourself accused of theft, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the situations in which such an offense becomes a felony in New York. Only when you understand the potential consequences can you adequately plan for a defense strategy.
The value of the items will impact the charges
The severity of theft charges depends on the cash value of the items that someone allegedly steals or attempts to steal. If the total value of the items is $1,000 or more, the individual involved can expect to face fourth degree grand larceny charges under New York state law.
Theft of items worth $3,000 or more will result in grand larceny in the third degree charges, while items worth $50,000 or more will result in grand larceny in the second degree charges. It only becomes grand larceny in the first degree if the value of the stolen items is $1,000,000 or more.
Other items that have a lower perceived financial value can still result in felony theft charges. These include scientific secrets, credit or debit cards, public records, firearms and motor vehicles. In fact, a motor vehicle only has to be worth $100 to qualify someone for a felony theft offense. Even broken-down mopeds can result in felony theft charges.
The manner in which someone steals something affects charges, too
The nature of the facts will also influence the charges brought by the state. For example, shoplifting $200 worth of merchandise will probably result in misdemeanor charges. On the other hand, assaulting someone to mug them or otherwise stealing from somebody’s person, possibly by picking pockets, will result in felony theft charges.
The state of New York also assigns a felony to theft charges related to items or money extorted from another individual, as well when someone terrorizes another into compliance.
More serious theft offenses can also bring felony charges. Many of the examples outlined above would be considered grand larceny in different degrees. However, other complicating factors could result in more serious charges, such as theft from the ATM. Regardless of the degree or nature of the theft, it is possible to defend against theft allegations.