There is a lot of confusion over what constitutes larceny in Colorado. As experts in the field, we can help you understand the definition of larceny, what types of theft exist, and the criminal punishment for larceny offenses.
Larceny Definition | Unlawful Taking of Someone Else’s Property
In terms of criminal law, larceny is considered the felonious removal of money or property that belongs to someone else. Larceny is different from robbery because it involves using force or threats against the victim, whereas larceny doesn’t. An example of larceny would be a bank employee embezzling funds from their place of employment.
Any time a person is trying to take another person’s property, larceny could be occurring. It also includes the taking of property through pretenses or outright fraud.
Types of Larceny
Today, various criminal codes define the level of larceny so it can be classified. It would either be considered petit larceny or grand larceny. With these codes, the property is stolen, and larceny is charged when the intent was to deprive a person of their belongings by taking it or withholding it from the rightful owner.
In Colorado, grand larceny can be charged as a felony, based on the property’s situation and value. Petit larceny is always a misdemeanor.
Transfer of Ownership | When Larceny Does Not Apply
For larceny to occur, the property must belong to someone else. If it belongs to the individual that is taking it, there is no crime committed, even if the property is in possession of someone else when it is taken. A good example is if a neighbor takes back the lawn mower that was loaned to the person living next door. However, there could be charges for going on someone’s property to get that lawn mower.
Additionally, if people co-own any property, it’s still possible to commit larceny, especially if one of the co-owners is denied their right to get the property. One example of this would be if roommates purchased a TV together and one roommate moves away with the TV without consent. This example would be larceny as it is theft.
If someone tries to steal property and the owner consents to a transfer of ownership, no larceny has occurred. It is, however, a crime if the owner transfers the parcel because of fraud or deceit.
Degrees of Larceny
Colorado will define larceny as either petit or grand, based on the stolen item’s value. Petit, otherwise known as petty, refers to items of a lower value, while grand larceny occurs with higher-dollar items. Additionally, some grand larcenies can be felonies.
The Punishment for A Single Larceny
When criminal prosecution comes around for larceny, the court will look at how many have occurred. If it is the defendant’s first time, there will likely be leniency. Additionally, if multiple items are taken from one person simultaneously, the event counts as one larceny, but in some cases, it will be charged as numerous larcenies.
The court will address the location and timing of the larcenies to decide if it was a single activity or several. Of all the punishments, single larceny will produce the most lenient.
The Punishment for Multiple Larcenies
If the defendant is regularly committing larcenies or has taken multiple items from many locations, it could count as several charges, even if they occurred during the same crime spree. Still, there is a chance that the defendant could be charged with misdemeanors instead of felonies.
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