Grand Larceny of a Vehicle

Pursuant to New York Penal Law section 155.30(8), it is “automatically” a felony in New York State if you steal a motor vehicle, not including a motorcycle, and that vehicle is worth more than $100. Jokes aside about whether stealing a car or truck worth anything less than $100 is not worth stealing, this statute probably doesn't come as much of a surprise. Most motor vehicles, even a 1987 Peugeot or Datsun, are worth more than $100. That said, this crime still has ample teeth to go along with its proverbial bite. Not only is a conviction for stealing a car punishable with a sentence as long as four years in prison, without ever spending a moment in jail you will forever be branded a “convict” and shackled with a felony record. Whether your initial taking of a vehicle was for a joyride or to sell it for parts, there is nothing remotely joyful or pleasant as a non-expungable criminal history. While you don’t need a criminal attorney to tell you that, you absolutely need a New York theft lawyer should you face an arrest, arraignment, indictment or trial for Fourth Degree Grand Larceny.

Better Understanding the Crime of Stealing Vehicles: NY PL 155.30(8)

Merely because you are accused of stealing a car or other vehicle does not mean that if it exceeds $100 it is the only crime you will face upon your arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, Brooklyn Criminal Court or any local justice court in Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam or Orange counties. Putting this crime into perspective, if you steal a vehicle that is worth $30,000 or $60,000 you would face charges of Grand Larceny in the Third and Second Degrees respectively that are punishable by up to seven and fifteen years in prison in addition to Fourth Degree Grand Larceny. Make no mistake, your criminal defense attorney will have a lot on his or her plate and you on yours depending on the value of the vehicle.

To better visualize this crime, pursuant to New York Penal Law 155.30(8), it is a felony to steal a motor vehicle where a comparably valued theft might only be a misdemeanor. In other words, if you steal a vehicle that is worth $850 dollars, you may be charged with the felony of New York Penal Law 155.30(8). If, however, you steal a ring or piece of jewelry valued at $850 with no other intervening factors such as a shoplifting arrest, you would only be charged with the "A" misdemeanor of Petit Larceny, New York Penal Law 155.25. The fact that the theft is a motor vehicle lowers the monetary threshold of what would normally be a lesser crime while at the same time increasing the penalty to a felony.

Having addressed the statute above, it should be clear that prosecutors are able to use this statute to "bump up" an accused's conduct from a misdemeanor offense to a felony crime. Make no mistake, this is a serious offense. That said, there may be defenses to New York Penal Law 155.30(8) in your case that need to be vetted and explored. Not only does the prosecution have to prove the value of the vehicle, but all the elements of the crime in their totality beyond a reasonable doubt. You and your lawyer should make sure that the People reach their burden while simultaneously identifying and implementing your strongest defense to prevent them from doing so.

Because there is no substitute for knowledgeable and experienced advocacy when you are charged with a life and career altering felony crime in New York, take the time to ensure you have retained the best criminal defense lawyers to protect your rights and future. In your time of need, the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors stand ready to fight for you throughout the City of New York and Hudson Valley.

Call the Grand Larceny criminal lawyers and former NYC prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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