Definition of grand larceny
grand larceny (plural grand larcenies)
- (US, criminal law) larceny of property whose value is greater than an amount set by law to distinguish it from petty larceny
Grand larceny is typically defined as larceny of a more significant amount of property. In the US, it is often defined as an amount valued at $400 or more. In New York, grand larceny refers to amounts of $1,000 or more. Grand larceny is often classified as a felony with the concomitant possibility of a harsher sentence. In Virginia the threshold is only $5 if taken from a person, or $200 if not taken from the person. The same penalty applies for stealing cheques as for cash or other valuables.
Some states (such as North Carolina) use the term "felonious larceny" instead of grand larceny.
The classification of larceny as grand or petit larceny originated in an English statute passed in 1275. Both were felonies. However, the punishment for grand larceny was death while the punishment for petit larceny was forfeiture of property to the crown and whipping. The classification was based on the value of the property taken. The offense was grand larceny if the value of the property taken was greater than twelve pence, approximately the value of a sheep in the thirteenth century.
Most jurisdictions have discarded the grand/petit terminology and use value to classify larcenies as felonies or misdemeanors. "Value" means the fair market value of the property at the time and place taken. Most jurisdictions also make certain larcenies felonies regardless of the value of the property taken. For example, North Carolina General Statutes Section 14 - 72 (b)(1) makes the crime of larceny a felony "without regard to value" if the larceny is (1) from the person (2) committed pursuant to certain types of breaking or enterings (3) of any explosive or incendiary device or (4) of any firearm. The modern spelling is petty larceny for the misdemeanor level. Some states may also charge certain types of larceny as "robbery", "burglary", "theft", "shoplifting", "conversion", and other terms.
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