Elements of Larceny

If a friend or family member has been arrested for the crime of larceny or arrested for any other reason, a bail bond company can help you.

You or someone you trust can call a licensed bail bondsman to work on your behalf to have a person released from jail.

The process is straightforward but before making the call, have the following information at hand:

• The arrested person’s full legal name
• His or her date of birth
• The date the person was arrested
• The name and location of the jail where the person is being held in police custody
• The amount of the bail, if it has been set
• A major credit card

In exchange for the bail bond company acting as a surely or pledge in order to get the person released from jail, a promise must be made and signed that the defendant will appear in court, hearings, meetings or any other scheduled appearance as well as to abide by any other stipulation imposed by the judicial system.

What is Involved in the Charge of Larceny?

Larceny is the act of stealing some tangible, personal property without the use of force but with the intent of keeping the property away from the rightful owner forever. It is generally a non-violent crime.

For example, if a person comes across a drunk lying unconscious in an alley and the person steals the unconscious person’s wallet, wristwatch or other personal belongings, this would be larceny because no force was used against the drunk when stealing his property.

On the other hand, if the drunk wakes up and struggles to keep his property, the crime would not be larceny, but theft, which can involve violence or force and carries a more severe penalty.

A person can be charged with larceny if he steals a car. If the car if worth over $1,000 a defendant can be charged with felony larceny. If the car is worth less than $1,000, a person may be charged with a misdemeanor or petty larceny.

The sentence for petty larceny is usually between 6 to 12 months in jail. Felony larceny often carries a sentence of 1 to 12 years in jail, depending on the value of the property that was stolen.

The Legal Elements of Larceny

In order to be convicted of larceny, the court must prove that all the following elements of the law have been met:

[1] Wrongful Taking
The court must prove that the alleged thief had no right to the property he took.

[2] Carrying Away
It must be shown that the alleged thief took someone else’s property away to another location, not just into another room or the back yard.

[3] Personal Property
The item or items that were taken must be tangible, physical items that legally belonged to someone else. They cannot be intellectual or digital property. The stolen item or items must be something that can be seen, touched and physically carried or driven away.

[4] Property of Another Person
It must be shown that the property did not belong in any way to the person who allegedly stole it. If there was joint ownership, then likely no crime was committed.

[5] Taken Without Consent
It must be proved that the alleged thief did not have permission to take the property. There can be no agreement between the owner and the person being accused that the property could be borrowed. The person is not guilty if the owner gave the property away.

[6] With Intent to Steal
There must be the intent to steal the property and to keep it away from the rightful owner forever or for a considerable lengthy time. For example, if a person takes a car to the grocery store and then returns it to the driveway within a reasonable amount of time, this is not larceny. However, if he drives that car 2,000 miles away and does not return it, then larceny could have been committed.

Intent must be shown but the time of the intent can vary. In other words, if the person who took someone else’s car initially intended to return it to the owner but later changed his mind and kept the car, this is larceny.

All the six elements listed above must be shown in order for the defendant to be found guilty of larceny. If the alleged thief can demonstrate that he is a part or full owner of the item in question, or that he intended to return it, a conviction of larceny would be nearly impossible.

On the other hand, if these six elements can be shown in addition to other elements, the charges and penalties could be more severe. For example, if violence against the rightful owner or caretaker of the stolen property is involved, the lesser charge of larceny may be set aside for the greater charge of theft, assault or burglary.

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