The Various Types of Larceny Charges and Penalties
Criminal Defense Lawyers fighting Larceny Charges in New Mexico
The term “larceny” has various meanings – depending on the state. In general, larceny is the wrongful taking of items belonging to someone else with the intent of converting them to your own use.
Therefore, if you take something that belongs to another person with the intent of using it for yourself, you have committed larceny.
However, the crime itself is more complicated than that. Taking someone’s pencil at school with the intent of keeping it and using it for yourself is larceny, but not something for which you would be arrested. Instead, it involves high-value property and assessing the effect that “theft” has on the original owner.
What Is Considered Larceny in Albuquerque?
In New Mexico, larceny is a form of theft. If you review the criminal statute (NM 30-16-1), larceny is used to define multiple theft crimes. Therefore, stealing the property of someone else, including money, services, and tangible objects can result in a larceny-like charge.
New Mexico recognizes multiple theft crimes under the larceny statute, including:
- Receiving stolen goods
- Identity theft
- Falsely receiving services
- Stealing a credit card
- Fraudulent acts with rented vehicles
- Physical robbery
The Different Types of Larceny Charges
To better classify these theft crimes, the state has categories based on the value of the property stolen. One could be arrested for stealing something for just $50 in New Mexico, and the value of the property would then determine which category of theft they are charged with.
Here are the classifications of theft in New Mexico:
- Misdemeanor Petty Theft – Misdemeanor petty theft involves theft of property with a value of $250 or less.
- Misdemeanor Theft – Petty theft and theft are not the same in New Mexico. When the property value is more than $250, but still less than $500, a person is charged with misdemeanor theft.
- 4thDegree Felony Theft – At this point, the theft “graduates” to a felony charge. When the value of the products stolen is more than $500, but less than $2,500 – or if the property is a firearm valued for under $2,500 – you could be convicted of a 4th-degree felony.
- 3rd Degree Felony Theft – When the stolen property’s value is over $2,500 but under $20,000, or if the property stolen was livestock (of any value), you could be charged with a 3rd degree felony
- <2nd Degree Felony Theft – A 2nd-degree felony is the harshest charge you will find in the larceny category. If the property stolen totals over $20,000 in value, you could face this serious charge.
What are the Penalties for Larceny and Theft?
The penalties for larceny enhance with the higher product values. The following are potential penalties you could face for a larceny conviction:
- Misdemeanor Petty Theft – No more than six months in county jail and a fine that cannot exceed $500.
- Misdemeanor Theft – Up to 1 years or less in jail and a fine that cannot exceed $500.
- 4th Degree Felony Theft –< Up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
- 3rd Degree Felony Theft – Up to 3 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
- 2nd Degree Felony Theft – Second-degree felonies carry the harshest punishment for larceny crimes. You could spend up to 9 years in prison and pay $10,000 in fines.
While a misdemeanor carries significantly shorter jail time, realize that you will emerge with a criminal record. That criminal record could prevent you from getting a job, qualifying for government aid, or even getting housing.
Do Not Forget Civil Penalties
While your biggest worry is likely to be the criminal penalties, do not forget that you will likely have civil penalties attached to your case. Anyone convicted of shoplifting in New Mexico can be subjected to civil penalties from the merchant or store owner.
If convicted, a judge can issue the following damages:
- Ordering you to refund the merchant up to the retail value of the property.
- Ordering punitive damages of at least $100, but not to exceed $250.
- Ordering reimbursement to the owner for all costs associated with filing a civil lawsuit.
- Ordering reimbursement to the merchant for any reasonable attorney’s fees for the civil lawsuit.
Common Defense Strategies in Larceny Cases
A larceny charge can be potentially serious – and affect you the rest of your life. Therefore, your attorney must fight aggressively to protect you from a conviction and its long-term consequences.
Some common defense strategies that might help in your case include:
- Intent to Return –
- Belief of Ownership – Another common defense strategy is the right of ownership. You could not be guilty of larceny if the product you took was something you owned. A false or unreasonable belief also applies here, but you must prove that you could believe you owned the product. Something stolen from a store is not likely to fall under this category because without purchasing that product, you have no reason to assume you are the owner of it.
- Entrapment – Sometimes a defendant claims entrapment, stating that one party initiated the theft to get the other party arrested.
- Consent – You may have a viable defense if you thought you had the permission of the owner to take that piece of property.
Arrested for Larceny or Theft? Contact a New Mexico Defense Attorney Immediately!
Bottom line, a larceny charge is a serious criminal charge – and one that you should not attempt to defend by yourself. Instead, you need an aggressive larceny defense attorney in New Mexico ready to fight for your rights and keep you from a lifetime of dealing with a criminal record.