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Felony Charges in New York Theft Cases

There are many different manners in which an individual can be accused of shoplifting in New York City. There is larceny by trick, larceny by a false promise, larceny by embezzlement, and larceny by extortion.

Many of these crimes, no matter the value of the items allegedly taken, are automatically charged as felonies in a New York theft case. If you have been charged with such a crime and are looking to obtain legal representation, it is pertinent to consult with an experienced New York theft attorney as soon as possible.


An extortion is threatening to expose something unless an individual is paid in some form, whether in property or money.

An individual must be attempting to scare, harm or hurt an individual in this instance. Extortion is automatically a felony charge in New York, even if the value of the property is less than $1,000.

There are different crimes that could be considered shoplifting just by the nature of what is being taken. Extortion is automatically a felony even if they extort a person for as low as $50.

Escalation to a Felony

Certain items, such as embezzlement, just by the nature of their theft, are automatically classified as felonies in New York City. A shoplifting charge takes place in a retail store, whereas an embezzlement is from an employer or business relationship.

Other means of felony crimes include extortion, blackmail, tricking, or theft by treatment.

Value of the Items Stolen

For example, the penal law says that if someone steals a credit card or possesses a stolen credit card, that is automatically a felony pursuant. This can occur even if an individual believes they may have only stolen a wallet with a small amount of money in it.

However, once it is discovered that a credit or debit card was present in that wallet, the charge becomes a felony charge in New York City, which is a fourth-degree larceny. This is a felony solely based on the type of property stolen.

Additionally, if something is physically taken, like in a scenario such as a pickpocket, it is automatically charged as a felony.

For example, if someone has been sitting on a stool at a bar, and another person pulls a backpack out from behind that person's shoulder or their bag, the crime is a felony no matter the value of the goods stolen.

What is considered secret or scientific material, such as information in a hedge fund where there is a propriety algorithm, may be considered a felony.

It does not have to be a value of over $1,000 if it is a firearm, either. If a vehicle is worth more than $100, that would be considered an automatic felon grand larceny or felony criminal possession of stolen property in a New York theft case. Certain thefts are automatically felonies in New York City by the nature of the property or if the theft is from an extortion.

Defining the Charge

Many of these cases would not so much be considered shoplifting, because someone is not shoplifting a debit card, propriety information, and similar elements. That falls more into the category of general theft.

However, in the context of a building or at an employer's office, or a doctor's office, if someone leaves something at a bar, a store, or a restaurant, those are considered shoplifts. Due to the nature of these usually felony charges in a New York theft case, an individual should not hesitate before consulting with an experienced attorney.

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