Theft is a serious crime in Massachusetts. Also called larceny, being convicted of stealing something that does not belong to you can result in fines, and even prison time in some cases. One type of larceny that’s recognized under Massachusetts law is larceny by stealing in a building. Here’s what you should know about the crime of larceny by stealing in a building, including penalties, common defenses, and why it’s important to work with a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.
What Is Larceny By Stealing in a Building?
Larceny by stealing in a building, ship, or railroad car is found in Section 20 of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 266. In order to be convicted of larceny by stealing in a building, prosecutors must be able to prove that:
- The defendant removed property;
- The property was located within a building before being removed;
- The property did not belong to the defendant and the defendant did not have the right to remove the property; and
- The property was taken with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property permanently.
This last element regarding the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property can be especially tricky for the prosecution to prove, especially if the defendant has a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Penalties for Larceny By Stealing
According to the same section of state code cited above, larceny by stealing in a building (or ship or railroad car) is punishable by a fine of not more than $500 dollars, imprisonment in jail for up to two years, or imprisonment in the state prison for up to five years. These are serious consequences that could significantly shape the course of a person’s life and future opportunities.
Defenses to Larceny By Stealing in a Building
There are numerous defenses that may be appropriate based on the specifics of a case. Some common defenses to larceny by stealing in a building include:
- The defendant did not commit the crime; the prosecution has the wrong person.
- The defendant did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of their property—they were merely borrowing the property.
- The defendant took the property in response to some sort of emergency.
- The owner of the property allowed the defendant to take it.
- The defendant did not mean to take the property or it was placed on their person without their knowledge.
- The property taken rightfully belonged to the defendant.
Why You Need a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney on Your Side
If you are facing criminal charges for larceny by stealing in a building, it’s important that you have a skilled attorney on your side who’s ready to advocate for you. If you’re convicted of the crime, you could be facing fines, a period of incarceration, and missed opportunities and a black mark on your criminal record. Your attorney will explain your rights, analyze the prosecution’s case, and work hard to protect your best interests every step of the way.
To learn more about our Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, please call us directly today at (978) 397-0011 or send us a message at your convenience. We are here to advocate for you.