Petit Larceny

Petit Larceny

Under the New York Penal Law, Section 155.25, a person is guilty of Petit Larceny when he/she steals property.  Section 155.05 further defines “steals property” and “larceny” as:
“with intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from an owner thereof.”

A common example of petit larceny includes the taking of food or items from a store without paying for them.  Keep in mind that an individual need not actually leave the store with the items in order to be charged with the offense of petit larceny, as long as there is evidence that he/she intended to take the items without paying for them.

Petit Larceny is categorized as a class “A” misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year incarceration. While the majority of first offender petit larceny cases in the courts of New York do not result in jail time, any admission of guilt can have a permanent impact on an individual’s future.

When someone is apprehended for a petit larceny, the police have several options: First, they can arrest the individual on the spot, bring them to the precinct for arrest processing and hold them in jail until they have an opportunity to go before a criminal court judge. Or, they can issue  a Desk Appearance Ticket, also known as a “DAT”, which is basically a summons demanding the accused appear in criminal court on a date in the near future. Either way, the crime is a misdemeanor.

So what are the likely dispositions for a first time petit larceny offense in New York City?  The most common option is an offer of an ACD, or an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, with some type of shoplifting program and or community service.  This means that if you complete the program along with the community service, and you don’t get rearrested for another crime, your case will be dismissed and sealed in 6 months.

While the ACD is a likely  offer for a first arrest petit larceny, it is certainly possible that the prosecutor will make a higher initial offer, such as a violation or a misdemeanor, particularly if the amount stolen is excessive or the facts of the case are particularly egregious.   
If you or someone you know is arrested for petit larceny you should consult an attorney immediately.  A criminal defense attorney can walk you through the process and guarantee that your rights are protected.  Contact Julie Rendelman today at 212-951-1232 for a free consultation. Learn more about theft and larceny at