How is Larceny Different from Robbery or Burglary?

The simplest way to describe the difference between the three is as follows.  Larceny, in itself, involves theft alone.  Robbery requires that the accused use or threaten the use of some type of force or violence during the theft.  Finally, Burglary in the general sense involves entering a home or building with the intent to commit a crime – even if no crime is actually committed.  A more detailed description of these three types of crimes is provided below.

Larceny

Larceny is a crime against personal property, also known as theft.
Under common law larceny is a trespass and taking away of the personal property belonging to another with the intent to permanently deprive when the property was taken.
Larceny under New York Penal Law §155.05

  1. The intent is to deprive another of their property or to defendant’s self or for a third person.  
  2. Defendant acts to wrongfully take, obtain or withhold owners property.
  3. Larceny with intent is committed:
    1. By conduct known as common law larceny. By common law larceny by trick, embezzlement or obtaining property by false pretenses. New York Penal Law §155.15
    2. By acquiring lost property. By exercise and control over property of another which defendant knows to have been lost or mislaid. By property delivered by mistake to the wrong recipient without reasonable measures to return such property to the owner. New York Penal Law §155.20
    3. By committing the crime of issuing a bad check as defined in § 190.05
    4. By making an express or implied in conduct false promise. The accused intention or belief that the promise would not be performed may not be established by or inferred from the fact alone that such promise was not performed.  Such a finding may be based upon evidence establishing that the facts and circumstances of the case are wholly consistent with guilty intent and wholly inconsistent with innocent intent or belief.
    5. By extortion.  Compelling another to deliver the property by threat or force. New York Penal Law §155.10

Petit Larceny

Petit Larceny (NY Penal Law §155.25) is a common crime of theft in New York.
It is alike to Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree NY Penal Law §165.40, a misdemeanor crime of shoplifting.
These theft crimes are applicable for property stolen not in excess of $1,000.00.  Stealing a credit card would be a far greater felony.
Evidence Bag

Grand Larceny Fourth Degree

Grand Larceny in the fourth degree is a class E felony. New York Penal Law §155.30 finds a person guilty of fourth degree larceny when:

  1. Value of stolen property is over $1,000.00
  2. Stolen property is a public record, writing or instrument filed according to law.
  3. Stolen secret scientific material
  4. Credit or debit card
  5. Property taken from the person of another
  6. Obtained by extortion
  7. Stolen firearms as defined in §265.00
  8. Stolen motor vehicle as defined in §125 vehicle and traffic code.
  9. Corporation uses religious articles that have value of $100.00, for worship.
  10. Stolen device intended to obtain phone service unlawfully.
  11. Stolen chemicals to produce methamphetamine.

Grand Larceny Third Degree

Third degree grand larceny is a class D felony. New York Penal Law §155.35 finds a person guilty when accused steals property and:

  1. Value is over $3,000.00
  2. It is an automated teller machine.

Grand Larceny Second Degree

Second-degree grand larceny is a class C felony.  New York Penal Law §155.40 finds a person guilty when:

  1. Value is over $50,000.00 or
  2. Property stolen by means of extortion.

Grand Larceny First Degree

Grand larceny in the first degree is a class B felony. New York Penal Law §155.42 finds a person guilty of first-degree grand larceny when the property value exceeds one million dollars.
New York Penal Law § 155.45 – Larceny is proved by charges that specify how the property was obtained, the value required for the commission of the specified crime and factual proof that the conduct accused engaged in constituted larceny or larceny by extortion if it applies.
turning yourself into the police

Robbery

Robbery is a crime against both person and personal property. Under common law robbery is a larceny from the person’s person or presence by force or threat with the intent to deprive permanently.
In New York State Robbery is extreme and serious carrying a minimum term of incarceration.  The seriousness of an act of Robbery is broken into elements, constituting different degrees of culpability by the accused.
Robbery “in the” Third Degree (or “Third Degree Robbery”) is a class D felony.  New York Penal Law §160.05 finds a person guilty of robbery in third degree when he forcibly steals property. Elements attributable to a third degree robbery conviction require a force or threat such as a push, punch or shoulder grab and tug.  A convicted party will not be subject to a minimum period of incarceration but could be faced with as much as seven years in prison.
Prosecutors establish the requisite amount of force to charge the accused with robbery after the police have made the arrest.
If the  accused is convicted and is a predicate felon having a prior felony conviction during the past ten years, the sentencing guideline changes to a minimum of two to four years in state prison to a maximum term three and one half to seven years in prison. A robbery – watch spacing in the Third Degree can often include charges with other crimes and can include higher level or degrees of offenses based on the value of the property stolen.

Robbery Second Degree

Robbery in the Second Degree is a class C felony. New York Penal Law 160.10 carries a three and one half year minimum and a fifteen-year maximum sentence.
It is alike to Possession of a Weapon in the second degree New York Penal Law § 265.03.  
Elements attributable to a conviction of robbery in the second degree accused will be found to have forcibly stolen property from another;

  1. Aided by an accomplice present during the crime.  Each defendant could be found guilty of Robbery in the Second Degree facing a three and one half minimum and up to a fifteen-year maximum period of incarceration.
  2. Robbery Second Degree Subsection (2) is a subsection. In the course of the commission of the crime or of immediate flight therefrom, accused or another participant in the crime:
  • Physical injury is caused to any non-participant of the crime including someone who is not the target of the crime.  Physical injury required could be as insignificant as a bruise that causes a form of substantial pain or impairment.
  • Or if a participant acts with a display of what appears as a firearm. The prosecution must only establish beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant possessed what appeared to be a firearm.
  1. The property stolen is a motor vehicle, as defined in section one hundred twenty-five of the vehicle and traffic law.

Robbery First Degree

Robbery in the first degree is a class B felony.
New York Penal Law §160.15 finds a person guilty of the first degree when accused forcibly steals property and when, in the course of the commission of the crime or of immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime ascends to one of the subsections by additional actions or elements:

  1. New York Penal Law §160.15(1) – If you forcibly steal property and during theft or flight you or another participant causes a serious physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime, you have committed this crime.

  2. New York Penal Law 160.15(2) – If you forcibly steal property and during theft or flight you or another participant are armed with a deadly weapon, then you have committed this crime.

  3. New York Penal Law 160.15(3) – If you forcibly steal property and during theft or flight you or another participant threaten the use of a dangerous instrument, then you have committed this crime

  4. New York Penal Law 160.15(4) – If you forcibly steal property and during theft or flight you or another participant displays a firearm, then you have committed this crime. It is important to note that it is an affirmative defense (one the accused must establish) that the gun in question was not operable, not loaded, etc.

Prosecutors will incarcerate a convicted felon with a minimum of five and up to a maximum of twenty-five years.
Burglar Alarm

Burglary

Burglary is a crime against real property.
Under common law a burglary is the breaking and entering into the dwelling of another at night with the intent to commit a felony therein. The modern common law version of burglary is a breaking and entry into a structure at any time with intent to commit a felony including a theft therein.

Third Degree Burglary

Burglary in the third degree is a class D felony.  New York Penal Code §140.20 essential elements are:

  • Trespass, or the entry or remaining on property while knowing that such act is unlawful.
  • With specific intent to commit a crime within a building.                             

The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit a crime within the building at the time that he or she unlawfully entered or remained inside it. A person’s mere commission of a crime while unlawfully inside a building does not constitute a burglary; he or she must have also had the contemporaneous intent to commit the crime upon entering or remaining therein.
A person enters or remains on a premises unlawfully when he is not licensed or privileged to do so; the entry need not be by actual physical force. Entry of a building occurs when a person intrudes within a building, no matter how slightly, with any part of his or her body.
Examples of entry include crossing the threshold of a building or reaching an arm through a window.

Second Degree Burglary

Burglary in the second degree is a class C felony.
Third-degree burglary will be elevated to New York Penal Law §140.25
second degree burglary when the defendant trespasses the building with the requisite specific intent and

  • The building is a dwelling
  • While entering the building or in immediate flight, the defendant or a participant in the crime:
  1. is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon
  2. causes physical injury to a non-participant
  3. or displays what appears to be a firearm.

First Degree Burglary

First-degree burglary is a class B felony. New York Penal Law §140.30 burglary in the first degree occurs when the building is a dwelling and one of the other four aggravating elements for second-degree burglary is present.
A person is guilty of first degree burglary when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime therein, and when, in effecting entry or while in the dwelling or in immediate flight therefrom, he or another participant in the crime:

  1. Is armed with explosives or deadly weapon or
  2. Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime; or
  3. Uses or threatens the immediate use of a dangerous instrument; or
  4. Displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm.

Possession of burglar’s tools is a class A misdemeanor.  New York penal code law § 140.35 criminalizes possession of tools commonly used for committing or facilitating offenses involving forcible entry into premises.  
The use of these tools intent in the commission of a burglary, larceny, or theft of services constitutes First Degree Burglary.

  • All degrees of burglary are classified felonies under New York law.
  • First and Second Degree Burglary are violent felony offenses.
  • Third Degree Burglary carries a sentence of 3 to 7 years in prison. Or a fine of $5,000, or double of defendant’s gain from commission of the burglary, whichever is greater.
  • Persons convicted of first-degree burglary will be sentenced to between 10 and 30 years in prison or a fine according to the amount stated for third-degree burglary.
  • Possession of burglar’s tools is a class A misdemeanor and subject to a sentence of up to one year or a fine up to $1,000.

If you or a loved one is facing robbery or burglary charges, talking to an experienced attorney right now could be the difference between freedom and jail time. A free consultation from criminal defense attorney Seth Koslow is available to you by dialing (347) 561-0025.

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