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Theft and Larceny

theft defense attorney in west hartfordFacing a criminal charge can be one of the most frightening experiences of your life. At the Upton Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience developing effective strategies for our clients in such cases.  We work closely with our clients, taking the time to thoroughly analyze the unique circumstances of their case and put together the strongest defense strategy to best mitigate the circumstances.

Under Connecticut law, (Conn. Gen.  Stat. Ann. 53a-119) theft is called larceny and is defined as the intent to deprive another of property or to wrongfully take property from a rightful owner.

Theft/larceny can take many forms:


*Taking physical property with false promises
*Theft of services including cable TV or electricity

*Receiving stolen property

*Using someone else’s ATM
*Taking property that has been delivered by mistake

Larceny can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge depending on the specific circumstances. Punishments vary depending on the severity of the charge.   Restitution in the form of returning or paying for the stolen property is usually part of the punishment.

Let’s take a look at the various degrees of larceny in Connecticut.

Larceny in the Sixth Degree – Involves theft of property or services that are valued at $500 or less. This is a class C misdemeanor and is the lowest level of larceny under state law. It may also be called “petty theft” or “petty larceny”.

Punishment could involve jail time of no more than three months and a fine of no more than $500.

Larceny in the Fifth Degree – This charge involves a theft of property valued between $500 to $1,000 and is a class B misdemeanor.

Punishment can include jail time of no more than six months and a fine of no more than $1,000.

Larceny in the Fourth Degree – Larceny in the Fourth Degree is a class A misdemeanor under Connecticut law and involves property or services valued between $1,000 and $2,000.

Punishment will include jail time of no more than one year and a fine of no more than $2,000.

Larceny in the Third Degree – This is a Third Degree or class D felony and a felony charge is more serious than a misdemeanor. The property or service stolen must have a value exceeding $2,000 but not more than $10,000. Often car theft falls into this category if the vehicle is valued at less than $10,000.

Punishment involves prison time of at least one year up to five years. A fine is not to exceed $5,000.

Larceny in the Second Degree – A class C felony a Second Degree larceny charge involving property or a motor vehicle valued at more than $10,000 or property valued at over $2,000.  Also included in this category is any property that has been obtained through false pretenses or false promise, or embezzlement, especially when the victim is disabled or over the age of sixty.  Many charges involving cable or telecommunications services fall into this category.

Punishment involves a prison sentence of from one to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000.

Larceny in the First Degree – This is a class B felony over the theft of property or services valued at more than $20,000.

Punishment will earn you a prison sentence from one year up to 20 years and a fine up to $15,000.

Larceny and theft is a criminal charge but the shop owner or victim may also file civil charges against the perpetrator which could exceed the criminal punishments.

What You Can Do 

You may not believe you did anything wrong. After all, a product was delivered by mistake to your home and you decided to keep it. Maybe you damaged someone’s property, but it was not intentional. It may have been a big misunderstanding. Sometimes we do things not thinking they will end up injuring another person.

Also falling under the definition of larceny in the state is extortion. This is defined as obtaining property when you compel or induce another person to deliver such property by using fear or coercion. Did you threaten someone by threatening to expose a secret? Did you threaten to call for a strike to injure someone’s business?

Even a public agency can be defrauded. Did you file a claim you knew to be false?

If you did not directly steal property or services, were you the recipient of such property?  A person can be found guilty of larceny if he receives stolen property or disposes of it knowing it has been stolen or likely has been stolen. This may even include a public utility that passes through a meter, even cable TV.

Messing with an ATM machine to obtain funds that aren’t yours falls under the definition of fraudulent means.  Especially if you have done this more than once, all of the incidents can be combined into one crime increasing the charges against you.

Taking a rental car and not returning it as is specified under the contract would fall under larceny or theft. Note – the value of the car will determine the degree of larceny you are charged with.

If you have withheld pay from an employee, the amount attested to in the certified payroll, with the intent to keep the money for your own use or for a third party, is larceny or theft.

You may not believe it, but larceny can also be defined as failing to return any books or archival materials belonging to a library, stealing an air bag from another vehicle, and even the theft of motor fuel.

Some of the consequences of a felony conviction are that you cannot hold public office, you cannot vote, and you lose the ability to be an officer of the court. Additionally, it is a crime for a convicted felon to possess a firearm in the state.

If you have been charged with a crime, understand that prosecutors will use everything they can to make the case against you. It is especially important to consult with an experienced criminal law attorney right after you have been arrested or charged to begin putting together an aggressive defense.

Our attorneys are experienced in developing strong defense strategies, challenging evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and finding weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.  Every person deserves a skilled defense, and at the Upton Law Firm, we fight hard to protect your rights and interests.

Know your rights. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Upton Law Firm today at (860) 893-0558.

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