Defending Against Theft Charges in Brooklyn, NY

New York is cracking down hard on theft and property crime issues here in the state. Retailers estimate they’ve lost $4.4 billion due to organized shoplifting rings, prompting the governor to make theft crimes a priority.

If you’ve been charged with theft in Brooklyn, there are a number of defenses we can employ to preserve your freedom. 

All theft charges, whether shoplifting charges, theft of service charges, car theft charges, theft by fraud, or other forms of theft, fall into one of two categories: larceny or petit larceny. Even wage theft is a form of larceny here in New York.

Petit larceny covers the theft of property valued at $1000 or less and is a Class A misdemeanor.

Grand Larceny covers property in excess of $1000 and is fully subdivided into a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree, depending on the amount stolen. Larceny in the 1st degree covers property valued at $1 million or more or is committed against a person over the age of 65 and is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

All forms of larceny require the prosecution to prove that you intentionally took property that belonged to another person for the purpose of keeping that property or benefitting from its sale.

Here are some of the most common defenses we use.

  • You owned the property.
  • You had no intent to steal the property.
  • The facts of the case do not support the idea that you stole the property at all or even that you ever had possession of the property. 
  • You were coerced into committing theft under duress.
  • You committed theft out of necessity to prevent imminent harm. 

The specific strategy we use will depend on the facts of your case and the evidence you can help us acquire. For example, if you have a receipt that shows you bought the property, then we can demonstrate ownership. One of the things we will do when we sit down with you is to determine what forms of evidence might be available in your case. We will counsel you on how to obtain that evidence. 

If we cannot use any of these defenses to either have your charges dropped or have you acquitted, we might instead attempt to negotiate a plea bargain to reduce your charges. If you are a first-time offender, we may be able to get you into a diversion program that would keep criminal charges off your record and keep you out of jail in return for you meeting certain conditions.

If you have been arrested for theft, it is vital for you to talk to a Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Even a petit larceny conviction can vastly change the course of your life for the worse.

Call us to protect your rights.

See also:

How Does Alternative Sentencing Work in Brooklyn, NY

Understanding the Classes of New York Felony

How Does Restitution Work in a NYC Criminal Case

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Office Location

Neil S. Ruskin
188 Montague Street Suite 900
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Local: (718) 237-1547
Fax: 718-875-4011