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  • What Is the Average Sentence for Larceny?

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    Larceny is a general term that encompasses a variety of theft crimes. Any sort of theft crime in New Mexico is treated seriously, and depending on the value of the items stolen, you may serve time in jail or even prison. Because “larceny” is a term that covers multiple categories of theft, there is not a set sentence for the name itself.

    Under New Mexico statutes, larceny is referred to as the “stealing of anything of value that belongs to another.” Therefore, taking someone’s property or something of value, including physical money, items, services, or intangible products that hold value, is larceny.

    Your Larceny Sentence Depends on Which Classification of Theft You’re Charged With

    To know your potential sentence, you must first know the classification of theft you fall into. New Mexico, like most states, classifies theft charges and punishments by the value of the items stolen – with more value equaling a harsher penalty.

    Misdemeanor Petty Theft (When Value Is $250 or Less)

    You might face misdemeanor petty theft charges if the property stolen has a value of $250 or less. Petty misdemeanors sound minor, but they are still criminal charges that result in a permanent criminal record; therefore, do not discount the harm of this charge.

    If convicted, you can serve up to six months in a county jail, a fine of up to $500, or both. The judge will determine the full sentence at your sentencing hearing.

    Misdemeanor Theft (When Value Is Between $250 and $500)

    When the value of the property exceeds $250 but is not more than $500, you may face misdemeanor theft charges. While it is a misdemeanor charge, you can still face up to 12 months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the situation, the judge may sentence you with both fine and jail time.

    Fourth Degree Felony Theft (When Value is Between $500 and $2,000)

    Once the value exceeds $500, you are in the category of a felony. Fourth-degree felonies involve properties with values of $500 to $2,000 and are very serious. A felony charge can permanently affect your life, including employment, housing, government assistance, and more.

    If convicted of a fourth-degree felony, you can serve up to 18 months in prison and pay a fine of up to $5,000.

    Third Degree Felony Theft (When Value Is Between $2,500 and $20,000)

    Stealing something over $2,500 in value but under $20,000 is a third-degree felony. With a value threshold that low, stealing even a piece of someone’s jewelry could result in a third-degree felony. If convicted, you might face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

    Second Degree Felony Theft (When Value is Above $20,000)

    Any theft that involves property valued over $20,000 will be a second-degree felony. If convicted, you could face up to nine years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

    Prior Convictions May Affect Your Sentencing

    The statute does not explicitly say that your prior convictions will affect your larceny sentence. However, the state does have “habitual offender” laws. These laws will affect your sentencing. Likewise, the judge is given the discretion to pick between the minimum sentences. And when the judge knows that you have prior convictions, especially prior theft convictions, they are more likely to use the maximum sentence and fine. Also, under the habitual offender laws, the judge can impose a harsher prison sentence if you were convicted of a felony in the past ten years and then charged with larceny.

    Under these laws, the judge usually adds one year to your sentence if you have prior felony convictions. Also, the law does add four years to your larceny sentence if you have two prior felonies in the past ten years, and eight years if you have three or more felony convictions in the past. Note that these convictions can be for any type of crime – not just larceny.

    Civil Penalties Apply, Too

    While civil penalties do not result in jail time, they can affect your life. Civil penalties often come in addition to criminal ones, and if you are convicted of larceny in the state, the merchant you have stolen from or the store owner can sue for damages. These damages may include:

    • The retail value of the product – unless it is recovered and returned completely undamaged
    • Punitive damages for your criminal act that are at least $100 but not more than $250
    • Reimbursing the store’s owner for any attorney’s costs and fees to file a civil lawsuit against you

    If the merchant can resell the item (because it was returned without any damage) for full price, then they cannot sue you for the lost value.

    In most cases, however, the items are not recovered in perfect condition, nor can they be sold at full retail value. Therefore, if you are convicted of larceny, you may face these civil penalties as well.

    Civil penalties can be in the thousands. Not only are you paying for that loss of value, but the attorney’s costs for the store’s owner are often extensive.

    Arrested for a Larceny Crime? You Need a Criminal Defense Team Now

    Larceny charges are serious. Regardless of how much you stole or the value, you need a defense team ready to aggressively protect your rights. Not only are you facing jail/prison time and fines, but you are facing civil penalties and the life-long consequences of a criminal conviction on your record.

    Criminal convictions can affect employment opportunities, housing, military enlistment, finances, and more. Felony convictions are even more serious. Not only will it affect your quality of life, but you could also lose core rights, such as the right to own and carry a gun.

    The attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices are here to make sure you get a fair trial and adequate defense. Call us to schedule your free case evaluation now at 505-200-2982 or request more information online about our legal team.