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. While 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), this crime still has ample teeth as it is punishable by up to four years in state prison.

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. Pursuant to New York Penal Law 155.30(8), it is a felony to steal a motor vehicle where a comparable 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, you would only be charged with the "A" misdemeanor of Petit Larceny. The fact that the theft is a motor vehicle lowers the monetary threshold of what would normally be a lesser crime.

Having addressed the statute above, prosecutors are able to use this statute to "bump up" an accused's conduct from a misdemeanor offense to a felony offense. Make no mistake, this is a serious crime. That being 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 the elements of the crime in their totality beyond a reasonable doubt. You and your New York criminal defense attorney should make sure that burden is met while simultaneously identifying and implementing the strongest defense to the crimes charged.

Crotty Saland PC is a Manhattan based criminal defense firm representing clients throughout the New York City area. Before starting the criminal defense firm, the lawyers at Crotty Saland served as prosecutors in the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorneys Office.

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