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Property crimes are not talked about as often as drug crimes or violent crimes, but know that the State of New York considers them serious offenses. Damaging someone’s property – especially property that is worth thousands of dollars – can actually put you behind bars for longer than some less serious drug or violent crimes.

Because there’s more than one way to damage property, there’s more than just one charge for property damage and property crimes. Additionally, these charges may or may not include using force on another person.

Types of New York Property Crimes

Some examples of property crimes in New York include:

  • Burglary
  • Criminal Mischief (Vandalism, Graffiti)
  • Arson
  • Theft

Each of the above crimes is usually broken down into three or four degrees that range in severity. Crimes in the fourth degree, for example, are less serious than crimes in the first degree. Severity is generally measured by the worth of the property that was damaged, as well as other aggravating factors.

The Giant Umbrella of Theft Crimes

Theft (defined as “larceny”) is one of the most common types of property crimes, and it breaks down into literally dozens of different theft crimes in New York. The type of property stolen, as well as how much the property is worth, will determine which exact charge is placed upon a defendant. In general, however, there are five levels of theft crimes in New York.

The least serious larceny offense is Petit Larceny, or Petty Larceny. This is a misdemeanor crime commonly associated with shoplifting. The value of goods stolen is typically less than $1,000, and offenders will not face more than a year in jail for petty larceny.

If the value of goods reaches $1,000, then the offender will be charged with Grand Larceny, a felony. The four types of Grand Larceny (and their penalties) are determined by the value of goods stolen:

  • Between $1,000-$3,000: Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree; Class E felony, up to four years in state prison
  • Between $3,000-$50,000: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree; Class D felony, up to seven years in state prison
  • Between $50,000 -$1,000,000: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree; Class C felony, up to 15 years in state prison
  • Over $1,000,000: Grand Larceny in the First Degree; minimum 1-3 years in state prison, up to 25 years in state prison

Notice that only Grand Larceny in the First Degree has a minimum prison sentence. There are no minimum prison sentences for individuals who are facing their first larceny conviction. Past convictions, however, have a serious impact on the recommended sentencing for larceny crimes.

Other specific theft crimes in New York include, but are not limited to:

  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Fraud

If You Have Been Charged with Theft or Other Property Crimes in New York

The penalties for property crimes are daunting, but it is possible to defend against these charges and get a positive outcome. Your best strategy? Hire a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who can walk you through your charges and find the best evidence available to defend you.


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