The first question that is often asked if someone is charged with larceny in Massachusetts is what is larceny? Larceny is another way of saying "stealing", and it is defined as "the wrongful taking of the personal property of another person, with the intent to deprive that person of such property permanently". In order to prove someone guilty of a simple larceny, the Commonwealth must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
That the defendant took and carried away property;
That the property was owned or possessed by someone other than the defendant; and
That the defendant did so with the intent to deprive that person of the property permanently.
If the Commonwealth establishes the above three elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then a fourth element comes into play - whether the stolen property is worth more than $1200. Larceny over $1200 is a felony; larceny under $1200 is a misdemeanor. Click here to learn about the distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor. Obviously, the distinction between whether the property is found to over or under $1200 is very important because of the consequences and punishment disparity between a felony and a misdemeanor. To determine whether the value of the property makes it larceny over $1200 (sometimes referred to as grand larceny in Massachusetts) versus larceny under $1200, jurors may use their general knowledge rather than relying upon expert evidence. For example, if the stolen property is an iPhone, then it is likely to be regarded as under $1200. But if the stolen property is a brand-new sixty inch television, an iPad, a Gucci purse, and $800 in cash, then a juror is likely to find that the collective value makes it a larceny over $1200.
There are various types of larceny in Massachusetts. The most common is where the Commonwealth alleges that property was simply stolen. Other varieties include larceny by single scheme, larceny by check, larceny by embezzlement, larceny by false pretenses, larceny from a person, larceny from a building, larceny of a motor vehicle, and larceny of a firearm.
If you are charged with any type of larceny in Massachusetts, it is important to hire a lawyer who is experienced in litigating and defending the different types of simple and grand larceny in Massachusetts in both the Superior Courts and the District Courts. Attorney Michael Thaler has handled all manner of larceny cases in the courts of the Commonwealth as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney from the beginning of an investigation through trial. Reach out to Attorney Thaler at 781-366-0806 or for a free consultation to discuss your case and the best way to proceed.
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