Grand Theft and Grand Larceny

Grand theft or grand larceny are serious theft crimes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. What makes the difference grand larceny and petty larceny is usually the value of the goods stolen, but it can also depend on what type of property is stolen. For example, a stolen car or stolen gun are treated differently. If you, or a loved one has been charged with grand larceny, you need to speak with a skilled, experienced Boston area lawyer who has successfully defended people charged with theft crimes.

What is Grand Larceny or Grand Theft?

Grand theft and grand larceny are the same thing. For the purposes of Massachusetts laws, theft or stealing crimes are generally referred to as "larceny." Larceny refers to unlawfully stealing, or intending to defraud by false pretenses. A person is charged with larceny if they intend to steal or convert the property of another person. Larceny could include the theft of all kinds of property, including jewelry, cash, computers, electronics, and even real property.

See Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 266, Section 30.

What are the penalties for grand larceny?

Grand larceny, or grand theft is not limited to high priced items. The threshold for grand larceny is only $250. For theft of items under $250, the crime is only a misdemeanor. However, for items valued at $250 or more, the crime is a felony. Even small items like watches, jewelry, phones, tablets, or even a couple of Patriots and Bruins jerseys could amount to more than $250, and result in a grand larceny felony charge. For some items, such as firearms, it does not even matter what the value is. Any stolen firearm is treated as grand larceny.

Larceny of property valued at more than $250 can be punished by prison time of up to 5 years, and up to $25,000 in fines. Felony crimes are much more serious than misdemeanors. Felons cannot vote while incarcerated, and having a felony record can impact your future job prospects.

Is grand theft auto different from grand larceny?

In Massachusetts, theft of a motor vehicle, or "grand theft auto," can be an even more serious offense than other types of grand larceny. Motor vehicle larceny applies to any person who steals a motor vehicle, buys, receives, possesses, conceals or obtains a known stolen vehicle. If you are in possession of a car with vehicle identification numbers intentionally removed or altered, the prosecutor can use this as prima facie evidence that the you knew the vehicle had been stolen. Even stealing parts off a car may be punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, and up to a $15,000 fine.

See Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 266, Section 28.

Is Grand Theft Auto the same as Joyriding?

Joyriding is not the same as grand theft, although both crimes could be charged to someone driving around in a stolen car. Joyriding is considered use of a motor vehicle without authority, knowing that such use is unauthorized. It is punishable by a fine of up to $500, and jail time between 30 days and 2 years. Subsequent offenses carry additional fines and jail time. It is important to contact a local criminal defense lawyer who understands the difference between joyriding and grand larceny, to make sure an innocent person doesn't face felony charges.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 24.

What are some possible defenses to grand larceny charges?

Even when all the evidence seem to be stacked against you, there are always defenses available to a criminal charge of grand larceny. The available defenses will depend on the specific facts of your individual case. This could include showing that there was no intent to deprive the owner of the property, or that the defendant had permission to use the property, or that the situation was a case of mistaken identity.

If you have been arrested on charges of grand larceny anywhere in Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville, or anywhere else in Massachusetts, it is important that you talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has successfully defended people charged with grand theft, theft of firearms, or theft of a motor vehicle. Felony convictions have long lasting consequences, and it is important understand the charges and penalties you are facing, what defenses may be available, and how to fight for your rights and keep you out of jail.