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NEW YORK PENAL LAW § 155.40: Grand Larceny in the second degree

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Grand larceny is characterized as the act of acquiring property that rightfully belongs to another individual, all while harboring the intent to withhold that property from its rightful owner. The method through which the property is obtained is not limited to direct possession; it encompasses acts like taking it for personal use or transferring it to someone else. When facing such serious charges, working with a criminal defense attorney in New York is beneficial. The help of a skilled Manhattan grand larceny attorney is crucial to understanding your charges and protecting your rights and freedom.

Related Offenses:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree (New York Penal Law § 155.42)
  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (New York Penal Law § 155.35)
  • Petit Larceny (New York Penal Law § 155.25)
  • Criminal Possession of Stolen Property (New York Penal Law § 165.45)
  • Identity Theft (New York Penal Law § 190.78)

Case Example

John, a disgruntled employee, works for XYZ Corporation. Frustrated with his job, John threatens to reveal sensitive company information unless his employer pays him $60,000. Fearing the release of confidential data, the company agrees to pay John the $60,000. In this case, John could be charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree under PL § 155.40(2) for unlawfully obtaining property through extortion.

Elements and Definitions of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree

Grand Larceny is a significant criminal charge in New York State and involves the theft or unlawful taking of property with a relatively high monetary value and the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property.

The general elements of Grand Larceny in New York are as follows: 

  • Unlawful Taking of Property: A person can be charged with grand larceny in the second degree if they have wrongfully and without permission taken possession or control of someone else’s property.
  • Intent to Deprive Permanently: The person acted with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. This means that the person who did the offense must have the intention of keeping the property for themselves or disposing of it in a manner that makes it difficult or impossible for the owner to recover.

In addition to these elements, grand larceny in New York is divided into several degrees depending on the severity of the offense with fourth-degree grand larceny being the least severe and first-degree grand larceny the most severe. The primary distinction between these degrees is the value of the amount stolen.

Under New York Penal Law § 155.40(1), the value of the property taken must exceed $50,000 to constitute a charge of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. This amount refers to the fair market value of the property at the time it was taken.

In addition, New York Penal Law § 155.40(2) added a key distinction that the charge of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree would still apply, regardless of the amount of the property, if the property was obtained through extortion. Extortion involves the use of threats, coercion, or other illegal means to obtain property or services from another person against their will.

The main distinction between these two subsections of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree lies in the amount and the manner in which the property was taken. Violations of either subsection can result in serious criminal charges, but the specific elements and circumstances differ, leading to potentially varying legal defenses and penalties.


If the defendant had a reasonable belief that they had the right or a claim to the property, it may be used as a valid defense. This defense does not necessitate that the defendant indeed has a right or claim on the property, just that the defendant has a good faith belief in their claim.

The prosecution would also have to prove that the defendant intended to deprive the owner of the property. If it is established that the defendant had borrowed or was loaned the property, it may be used as a viable defense.

It is important to remember that the best possible defense is one that is tailored to your situation. A skilled Manhattan grand larceny attorney can assist in creating a robust defense based on your case’s specific circumstances.


The penalties for Grand Larceny in the Second Degree under New York Penal Law (NYPL) § 155.40 can be significant, as this is a serious felony offense. The specific penalties that an individual may face upon conviction can vary depending on various factors, including the circumstances of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and the court’s discretion. 

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is classified as a Class C felony in New York. Class C felonies are among the most serious offenses in the state’s criminal code. If convicted, the defendant may face a maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years. 

This means that the court has the authority to impose a term of imprisonment of up to 15 years, although the actual sentence can vary based on the specific circumstances of the case and applicable sentencing guidelines. As an example, for first-time offenders, it may be possible to get a shorter prison sentence but if the defendant has been convicted of a previous felony, the full sentence may be imposed.

In addition to imprisonment, a defendant may be ordered to pay fines. The amount of the fine can vary but is typically determined by the court based on factors such as the value of the stolen property and the defendant’s ability to pay.

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is a serious criminal offense in New York, with potentially severe consequences for those convicted. Understanding its elements, related offenses, legal defenses, and penalties is essential for anyone facing charges or seeking to comprehend the legal system’s intricacies regarding property theft and extortion in the state. It is advisable to consult with a qualified attorney to navigate the complexities of such charges effectively.

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law § 155.40)

A person is guilty of grand larceny in the second degree when he steals property and when:

  1. The value of the property exceeds fifty thousand dollars; or
  2. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is obtained by extortion committed by instilling in the victim a fear that the actor or another person will (a) cause physical injury to some person in the future, or (b) cause damage to property, or (c) use or abuse his position as a public servant by engaging in conduct within or related to his official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely.

Grand larceny in the second degree is a class C felony.

Working with a Top-Rated Manhattan Grand Larceny Attorney from Lebedin Kofman LLP

Facing charges of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree can be a daunting experience with life-altering consequences. At Lebedin Kofman LLP, we understand the gravity of these charges and the importance of safeguarding the rights and interests of individuals accused of such offenses.

Our skilled Manhattan Grand Larceny attorneys are dedicated to providing personalized, strategic, and aggressive legal representation. With a deep understanding of New York’s criminal laws and a track record of success, we work diligently to build strong defense strategies tailored to each client’s unique circumstances. Our goal is not only to protect your rights but also to seek the best possible outcome, whether through negotiation, litigation, or alternative resolutions.

If you or a loved one is facing charges of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, reach out to Lebedin Kofman LLP today. Your rights and freedom matter, and we are here to advocate for you every step of the way.

To schedule a free consultation, call (646) 663-4430. Our service extends to locations in both Manhattan and Nassau County, Long Island.

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