Larceny is the “taking of someone else’s property without the use of force” – this is the main difference between larceny and robbery, which is generally defined as the taking of someone’s property with threats, intimidation and force. To be convicted for larceny in Massachusetts, a defendant must have unlawfully taken and carried away someone else’s property without that person’s consent. They must have also acted with the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently.
First, the unlawful taking element of larceny requires that the defendant take another’s property unlawfully. If a defendant took property for a lawful purpose (such as a bank repossessing a car) they will not be guilty of larceny. Second, if the property taken actually belongs to the defendant, then the defendant’s actions would not constitute larceny.
Third, the property must have been taken without the owner’s consent; if the owner transferred possession of the property to the defendant, then the defendant’s taking of that property would not constitute larceny. Finally, the defendant must have intended to permanently deprive the owner of their property. Defendants who intended to return the property or who thought the property was theirs will not be guilty of larceny.
In Massachusetts, petty larceny refers to situations in which the property taken was valued at less than $250 whereas grand larceny applies to property taken valued at over $250. Grand larceny is punishable by up to five years in state prison, up to two years imprisonment in jail or a fine of up to $25,000. If the victim is 65 years or older, a mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence will apply to the second offense. Defendants charged with larceny or other federal crimes would benefit from the counsel of an experienced attorney.