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What Is Petit Larceny?

Larceny is a statutory crime in the United States of America. It involves the theft of another party’s property with the intention of permanently depriving aforementioned party of the property. Larceny can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the type of larceny committed. However, the number of offenses committed is also considered in the penalty given whether or not the crime is petit or grand larceny.

Legally, larceny is defined as the taking and carrying away of another person’s tangible personal property. Such a definition provides 2 conditions before an act can be called larceny. The first act of taking must involve complete control of another person’s property. Thus, the individual taking the property must have complete and absolute physical control over it. The second act involves carrying the object away from the owner. This entails actual asportation, which means movement or carrying away, rather than preparation for asportation. Thus, a person committing the act of larceny must fulfill both conditions with the intention of permanently withholding the personal property of another.

Petit or petty larceny is the second type of larceny that equates to a misdemeanor. The term petit larceny refers to theft of items that are considered less valuable as compared to grand larceny. Usually items stolen have a value less than $500, but this condition differs among court systems. Despite the fact that petit larceny is a minor crime as compared to grand larceny, habitual petit larceny may lead to a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor. As such, misdemeanor is only handed out during the first offense of petit larceny. 


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