About Larceny, Grand Larceny and Theft Laws, Charges & Convictions
The term larceny generally is used to refer to nonviolent theft. It is a common-law term that was first developed in royal courts in England in the 1700s. Today, most states no longer use the term larceny in their statues and usually use the term theft.
The crime of theft or larceny was originally defined so as to set it apart as a different crime than robbery. Robbery usually involves some sort of violence that is connected to the thievery. The general idea is that a robbery that involves violence should usually carry a stiffer sentence than larceny or theft.
More About the Law in Massachusetts
However, a theft or larceny charge in this state can have very bad consequences for you without a good Massachusetts defense attorney. In Massachusetts, you can be convicted of larceny if you steal any object, pick someone’s pocket or steal a purse, take money from a business (known as embezzlement), or even cashing a check that is not yours.
You should know that if you are charged with theft or larceny in Massachusetts, the fines and sentences depend upon what you stole or attempted to steal:
- Larceny of goods valued under $250: Up to one year in jail and a fine of $300
- Larceny of goods valued over $250: Up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine (this is for a felony conviction)
Larceny from a person is a misdemeanor in this state.
Another aspect of the law in Massachusetts is that regarding shoplifting. Your penalty in this case will depend on what the goods were worth and how many times you have been arrested for shoplifting before.
If you shoplift a good worth less than $100, here is what you are facing:
- $250 fine for a first offense
- $500 fine for a second offense
- Imprisonment for up to 2 years for a third offense
If you shoplift a good that is worth more than $100, you can get 2.5 years in jail for a first offense, as well as a fine of up to $1000.
A Word About Embezzlement in Massachusetts
Embezzlement is similar to larceny/theft, but in this case, you will have a legitimate reason to be taking the funds or goods in question. This would be in a business situation where you had access to a bank account, or say, goods in warehouse. This obviously is different from stealing something that you should never have had at all, such as a woman’s purse.
Given that there is more gray area in this sort of larceny or embezzlement case, a good attorney may be able to argue that you just made a mistake. A good attorney also can cite your constitutional rights to try to ensure that any evidence that is presented against you was gotten legally.
In many embezzlement cases in Massachusetts, you often can get the charged reduced or dropped by simply returning the money or goods in question. Most embezzlement cases do not go to trial for this reason, and a good Criminal attorney in Massachusetts will usually be able to work out these cases in your favor.
Larceny and Theft Crime Statistics in Massachusetts
According to disastercenter.com, larceny and theft crimes have declined from 2000-10. There were 105,425 larceny/theft crimes reported in 2000, and 104,685 in 2010, while the population increased by 200,000.
In comparison to the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, this is how Massachusetts rated in larceny and theft in recent years. A #1 ranking would be the highest crime rate, and #51 would be the lowest.
- 2008: 46
- 2007: 46
- 2006: 46
- 2005: 49
Overall, larceny and theft is relatively low compared to other parts of the United States.
If you have been accused of larceny/theft, or any other serious crime, contact the Law Offices of Geoffrey G. Nathan. He has the experience and legal skills needed to handle serious criminal matters. To arrange an office consultation, contact us now.