It can be confusing with various legal terms and other jargon when you’re trying to find a simple answer about your situation. If you have been charged with theft, robbery, burglary, or embezzlement, trying to determine what the difference is and the potential sentence for a conviction isn’t an easy task. When you need reliable information right away, make sure you have a reliable and experienced criminal lawyer on your team who can easily explain what is going on and each of your options.

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Misdemeanor theft and larceny crimes are commonly used interchangeably and are when one person takes property from another without authorization with the intent of taking it permanently from the owner. However, there are slight differences.

  • Petit Larceny: This involves not only taking property from another but concealing property with the intent to steal as well. If you have received a desk appearance ticket, you are only being charged for one crime; however, prosecutors can still charge you with other crimes at the time of your appointment. This could result in up to one year in jail. Call a criminal lawyer as soon as possible for guidance specific to your situation.
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property: This is the lowest level of larceny and theft crimes in New York, but could still result in up to one year in jail. The difference between this and petit larceny is that the defendant is in possession of stolen property with the intent of keeping it from the owner.
  • Misdemeanor Petit Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property are elevated to felony crimes Grand Larceny and first-degree criminal possession when the value of the property has reached a specific amount. The minimum sentence for a felony is up to four years in prison and the most serious sentence is up to 25 years in prison.

criminal defense attorneyRobbery

What makes larceny a robbery is when physical force is used in order to take property from another. When a purse is left on a bench of a defendant takes the purse with the intent to keep it from the owner, this is considered theft or larceny. When a woman is sitting on a bench with a purse and the defendant uses force or threatens to use force to take the purse, this is considered a robbery. The sentence for robbery depends on the degree, anywhere from 25 years in prison for first-degree robbery or two years for third-degree.


Burglary isn’t necessarily a theft at all, but still gets thrown into the mix, making it even more confusing. Burglary occurs when someone enters a home or business without consent or authorization with the intent of committing a crime. The intended crime could be theft or any other illegal action. First-degree could result in 25 years in prison.


Under the New York larceny umbrella is embezzlement, which is when property (money, data, physical property, or anything of value) is managed or monitored by someone else, who then uses the property for their own use or gain. The sentencing for a charge of larceny-by-embezzlement depends on the value of the property stolen. Property valued at over one million is considered a first-degree, which could result in up to 25 years in prison. Embezzlement of over $1,000 in property is considered fourth-degree and could result in up to four years in prison.

Whether you are facing a petit larceny or a first-degree embezzlement charge, the criminal lawyer Lisa Pelosi can clearly explain possible outcomes and help find the best course of action for your case. Contact My Criminal Attorney today for a free consultation.