Can Grand Larceny Charges Be Dropped?

Posted on by dee

Grand larceny is a theft crime in New Mexico. Like any criminal charges, there is a chance that your grand larceny charge could be dropped by the prosecution. Reasons for that drop can happen before trial or even mid-trial. While there is a chance, the chance of those charges being dropped lessens if you do not have a criminal defense attorney helping you to prove your innocence.

Therefore, if you have been arrested and charged with grand larceny, it is imperative that you contact a defense team immediately. The sooner you have an attorney working on your case, the easier it will be to get those charges dropped. While there is no guarantee that hiring an attorney will result in a dropped charge, your chances of the case being dropped or the charges lessened do increase when you are represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney rather than yourself.

What Is Grand Larceny in New Mexico?

New Mexico does not have a crime specifically named “grand larceny.” Instead, the term “larceny” defines a crime where someone takes something, that is over a specific value threshold, without permission from the owner. Also, New Mexico has two classifications for larceny crimes, both of which are treated as felonies.

Third-Degree Felony Larceny

When the property stolen has a market value of more than $2,500 but under $20,000, then you have committed a third-degree felony larceny crime. Also, if the property is livestock, regardless of the value, you will be charged with third-degree felony larceny.

If convicted, you will face up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.

Second-Degree Felony Larceny

Second-degree felony larceny is when the property stolen is over $20,000. The most common instances where a person is charged with second-degree felony larceny is when high-value jewelry or a motor vehicle is stolen. 

If convicted of a second-degree felony, you could face up to nine years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Do Not Forget the Long-Term Effects of a Felony Conviction

Imprisonment and fines are not the only effect of a felony conviction. If you are convicted of larceny, you will have a permanent criminal record. That record may affect your ability to get a job, qualify for state and federal aid, and even limit housing opportunities. 

How Can You Get Larceny Charges Dropped?

The first step is to contact a criminal defense attorney. An attorney will examine the evidence against you and look for a viable defense. Some potential defenses your attorney can use to help lessen the charges or have the case dismissed include:

Disputing the Property Value

One of the best defenses comes from disputing the value of the property stolen. Because theft crime punishments are tied directly to market value, your attorney may argue that the value estimate is inaccurate. In this case, your charges may drop from a felony to a misdemeanor. 

No Intent to Steal

You must have intent to take that property from the owner to deprive them of their property or money. If you thought the property was yours, then you had no intent to deprive the true owner; therefore, the prosecution may not have a case for theft at all. Your attorney would have to prove that you truly believed the property was yours, such as showing that it was given to you by the owner or that you had no way of knowing it was stolen.

The Property Is Not Stolen, Because You Own the Property

Another defense is that there was no theft because you owned the property you are accused of stealing. If you can prove that the property belonged to you, then there is no intent or theft. You must do so with receipts or other proof of purchase.

You Had the Owner’s Consent to Take the Property

Your attorney may argue that the owner gave you consent or permission to take the property. Whether they were giving it to you, or gave you permission to move the property elsewhere, if you have that proof, then you do not have any intent to steal and the prosecution would not have a case. This may be difficult if the owner is claiming that you stole the property and did not give permission. In these cases, your attorney would need to find evidence showing that you had the owner’s permission – whether written or oral.

You Were Falsely Accused

You may not have stolen anything, and you could have been falsely accused of theft in the first place. If you did not participate in the crime, and the prosecution cannot prove that you actively participated in the theft of the “stolen” property, then the jury cannot convict you. Therefore, your attorney will seek out evidence that you were falsely accused and could not have committed the crime. Evidence, in this case, would be things such as video footage of another person stealing the property, or an alibi witness testifying to where you were at the time the crime was committed – showing that there was no way you could have committed it.

Your Best Defense Starts with a Defense Attorney

While you have a few options for proving your innocence, the best defense starts by hiring a defense attorney who has experience handling theft crimes in New Mexico. Theft crimes can be difficult to defend, but when you have an attorney by your side, the chances of being convicted of felony larceny can decrease.

To explore your legal options, speak with a defense attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today. You can schedule a free case evaluation over the phone, or you can use our contact form to ask questions about our defense services in New Mexico.

Explore your legal defense options. Theft crimes can be difficult to defend, but a highly skilled defense attorney can help you. Call us today!