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Larceny by Stealing
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 §30 codifies the crime of larceny in Massachusetts. The law makes it a crime to steal (or to obtain by a false pretense, or to convert property with the intent to steal such property) someone else's property. Larceny of property with a value that exceeds $250 or larceny of a firearm is a felony in Massachusetts. It is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Larceny of items with a value less than $250 is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 1 year in jail. According to the law, the term "property" means money, bonds, promissory notes, chattels, stored data, animals and more. The term "steal" is defined as the wrongful taking of the personal property of another person, with the intent to deprive that person of such property permanently.What are the Elements of Larceny in Massachusetts?
The prosecution must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of larceny by stealing.
- That you took and carried away property;
- That the property was owned or possessed by someone other than you;
- That you intended to deprive the person of the property permanently.
Taking and carrying away property can be accomplished when you physically transfer property from another person's control to your own. This occurs even if the movement of the property is slight or if it lasts for a short time. Any separation from the victim's control, no matter how slight suffices to establish "taking and carrying away". A literal carrying away of the property is not required.
Property includes money, moveable items of personal property, things that are attached to real estate. "Property of another" means that the item was owned or possessed by someone other than the defendant. The owner of property is anyone who has actual or constructive possession of the item.
The intent to permanently deprive someone of his or her property may be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. An intent to make restitution later is not a defense to larceny by stealing.What Should my Lawyer do to Defend a Larceny Charge?
Larceny is one of the most common theft crimes charged in Massachusetts. Essentially, when someone is accused of stealing from another person he will likely be charged with larceny. Larceny cases are usually resolved without the need to go to trial. In Massachusetts a good criminal defense lawyer will be able to effectively resolve a larceny case through negotiations with the district attorney prosecuting the case or with the judge presiding over the case. Many times these cases are resolved so that you do not have a criminal record. Other times however going to trial might be the best option to pursue. People who complain that their property was stolen frequently have no proof that in fact the property was ever their’s. Many people try to manipulate the legal system to collect a debt or in retaliation for something that happened to them that is not criminal in nature. They initiate criminal actions as a means of extortion. We have successfully exploited these illicit motive at trial and won cases for our clients. Hiring the right criminal lawyer is the most important decision you will make. Call our office now to discuss your case.