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Definition of Larceny

Larceny is the theft of property, generally non-violent. Larceny is illegal in all states, but whether it is felony or misdemeanor action may depend on the value of the property involved. Petty larceny may result in a six month to one year jail term. Grand larceny carries a sentence of one to twelve years. For example, petty larceny could be stealing someone's watch from their house while grand larceny could include stealing someone's car.

Larceny can also happen under false pretenses. For example, if you give someone something to sell, such as an antique table, under the assumption they will sell it and give you the money but instead they keep the profits from the sale, this is larceny.

Larceny is a nonviolent crime. For instance, if you steal someone's car and no one is in it, this is larceny. If you car jack the car with the threat of violence, this becomes robbery and has a much stiffer penalty. Depending on the type of larceny the penalty may include jail time, repayment for the stolen item or replacement for the item.

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