Larceny Crimes

Massachusetts Larceny- related Offenses: 

Larceny of goods valued over $250 is a felony offense, and is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison or a $25,000 fine.   In order to be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must prove that you did commit the following elements of the crime: 
  1. Steal, or obtain by false pretenses with intent to defraud, or secrete with intent to convert
  2. the property of another. 
Larceny of goods valued under $250 is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 1 year in jail or a $3,000 fine. 

In order to be convicted of larceny, the prosecution must prove that you intended to actually take the property of another person.  It is not uncommon to be charged with larceny for accidentally coming into possession of someone else's property. For example, if you are at a crowded bar, and before leaving you unknowingly grab the wrong jacket, and your jacket is still at the bar, then you clearly did not intend to steal. 

Additionally, in order to be convicted of larceny, the prosecution must prove that the property in question does not belong to you.  For example, if someone stole your jacket, or you allowed someone to borrow your jacket, and you take it back from that person, then you cannot be convicted of larceny. The prosecution has the burden of proving ownership or lawful possession, and that the alleged victim of the "larceny", and not you, was the rightful owner at the time you took the property. 

Larceny of goods valued over $250 from a person 60 years of age or older or disabled is punishable by up to 10 years in state prison or a $50,000 fine.  

Larceny of goods valued under $250 from a person 60 years of age or older or disabled is punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

In Massachusetts, there is a separate statute that deals with receiving stolen property

If the property in question is valued over $250, the charge is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison. 

If the property is valued under $250, the charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in jail. A subsequent conviction for this offense is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in state prison. 

In order to be convicted of receiving stolen property, the prosecution must prove that you did: 
  1. Buy, receive or aid in the concealment of stolen or embezzled property
  2. knowing the property to be stolen or embezzled
OR 
  1. With intent to defraud
  2. buy, receive or aid in the concealment of property
  3. knowing the property was obtained from a person by false pretense of carrying on business and dealing in the ordinary course of trade
For either type of prosecution for receiving stolen property, your knowledge that the property was stolen, embezzled, or obtained by false pretenses is necessary in order to be convicted.  This is often the most difficult hurdle for the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. These cases often become very fact-specific, as the prosecution will use circumstantial evidence to try and show that you would have known the property to be stolen. 

Shoplifting of goods valued under $100 is the least severe of the larceny charges, punishable by only a fine of $250. However, as with any criminal charge, a conviction, or even a post-arraignment dismissal, will result in a lifetime board of probation record entry, or "BOP." If your attorney can convince the court to remand the case to a clerk's hearing, and at the hearing have the matter disposed prior to the issuance of a criminal complaint, it is as if it never happened and it will not effect your future. 

Shoplifting of goods valued over $100 is punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

Larceny of a Motor Vehicle* is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison and $15,000 fine. 

* A subsequent conviction for this offense carries a 1 year mandatory minimum jail sentence. 

In order to be convicted of larceny of a motor vehicle, the prosecution must prove that you did: 
  1. Steal, possess, buy, receive, conceal, maliciously damage, or obtain control of a motor vehicle or trailer
  2. knowing or having reason to know the motor vehicle or trailer is stolen. 
In order to be found guilty, the prosecution must show that you actually had an intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the motor vehicle or trailer. For example, if you take your friend's car to the store without asking him, but there is every indication that you intended to return the car, then you would not be guilty of larceny of a motor vehicle; you could, however, be charged and convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Even then, if you steal any part or accessory of the motor vehicle or trailer, you can then be charged and convicted of larceny of a motor vehicle. 

If you have been charged with any larceny offense in Massachusetts, contact our office for your free initial consultation: 

(617) 830- 2188
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