Petty Theft vs Grand Larceny

Larceny is the same offence that is known as theft or stealing in other jurisdictions. The offence of larceny is contained in section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 and carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. However, if the matter is dealt with in the Local Court, the penalties available are subject to limitations depending on the value of the property stolen.

The penalties that apply to larceny are as follows:

If the value exceeds $5,000 the maximum penalty is limited to two years imprisonment and/or 100 penalty units.
If the value does not exceed $5,000, the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment and/or 50 penalty units.
If the value does not exceed $2,000 the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment and/or 20 penalty units.
What Actions Might Constitute Larceny?
For the offence of larceny to be proven, there must have been a theft of property. The property taken must be something tangible and must have some value. For example, property could include a cheque or even a quantity gas but would not include information.

The theft must be of property that lawfully belonged to someone else, that is from someone who had possession of the item. In some cases, people who do not ‘own’ something may still have the right to lawfully possess it. Alternatively, courts have also found that prohibited drugs can be subject to larceny though the person has no legal right to possess the drug.

Intending to return the property, or money or other property of equal value at a later time is not a defence if you or someone else has received a benefit. For example, if item is taken from a store with the intention of returning it to claim a refund.

Larceny is the legal word for stealing or theft. Larceny can be committed in many ways from stealing chocolate at a supermarket to stealing cash out of a register. The value of the property stolen can be sentimental or worth millions of dollars.

You will be found not guilty of the offence of Stealing (Larceny) if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:

You took and carried away property; and
That property belonged to another person; and
You intended to permanently deprive the owner of that property; and
The taking was done without the consent of the owner.
There must be an intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property which intent must exist at the time of the taking, so that if the obtaining of the property is innocent a later intent to steal is insufficient. If the accused takes the property without having decided whether to keep it or not, he does not commit Larceny.

Claim of right is a defence to Larceny. A person will have a claim of right where they possess a genuine belief that they have a bona fide claim of right to certain money. If you believed you were entitled to take the property, it does not matter that you did not believe you were entitled to take it in the manner you did.

If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on your sentence, and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.

Stealing (larceny) carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $5,500.00 and/or 12 months imprisonment in the Local Court where the value of the property stolen does not exceed $5,000.00 and a maximum penalty of $5,500.00 and/or two years imprisonment in the Local Court where the value of the property stolen exceeds $5,000.00. In the District Court, the maximum penalty for the offence of Stealing/larceny is five years imprisonment.

Petty Theft vs Grand Larceny

Larceny is simply another term for common theft. It is the taking of somebody else’s property without the use of force. Larceny is simply the legal word that is used for theft or stealing.

Although the charge of grand larceny does not exist in Australia, New South Wales does have the charge of larceny.

Larceny is defined in New South Wales as stealing or theft.

Unlike our American counterparts, larceny of any value is to be dealt with in the same manner, unless specified by legislation.

If you are convicted for larceny you face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

An exception to this rule is the charge of ‘stealing a dog’. If you are convicted of stealing a dog, you face a maximum term of imprisonment of one year.

Stealing includes the offences known as larceny, extortion, obtaining, embezzling, theft or robbery. The separate stealing offences are classified according to how, and what was stolen. Stealing, and similar offences, are governed by Part 4 the Crimes Act 1900. Depending on the nature of the offence and the value of the property stolen, it can be dealt with as a summary, or indictable, offence.

Stealing is the dishonest taking of something that belongs to someone else, without intending to return it. The thing must be something capable of being moved and must have some value. It must belong to someone else and it must be taken (moving it the slightest distance is enough) and that taking must be without the agreement of the owner of the property. Stealing can also include instances where you find something of some value and decide to keep it (larceny by finding).

Larceny is simply the crime of taking property or money belonging to another, no matter what the property or the value of it is. The maximum penalty for Larceny offences is 5 years imprisonment, or 2 years if dealt with in the Local Court.

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