When a person is accused of taking property that does not rightfully belong to them, they can be charged with larceny. The penalties for a larceny conviction very much depend on the value of the property involved, the type of property involved, and, sometimes, even the victim of the crime. At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can represent you if you’ve been charged with larceny. If you’re facing criminal larceny charges, here’s what you need to know—
The Prosecution Has the Burden of Proof
In a criminal case, the prosecution is responsible for proving the defendant’s guilt; the defendant is not responsible for proving that they are not guilty, although they do have the right to defend themself against charges. To secure a finding of “guilty” in a criminal case, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant took another person’s property without the property owner’s consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.
Potential Penalties Are Based on the Crime
Another important thing to understand about criminal larceny charges is that in the event the defendant is found guilty, the penalties that they face will range based on the value of the property, the type of property, and from whom the property was taken. Larceny may be a misdemeanor offense if the value of the property involved is less than $1,200, but is a felony offense when valued at more than that. Penalties are also more serious if certain types of property are involved in the crime, such as a motor vehicle or a firearm. What’s more, if the victim of the crime is someone who is 60 years of age or old or is disabled, the penalties increase.
There Are Defenses to Larceny Charges
If you are charged with larceny, whether misdemeanor or felony larceny charges, you have the right to defend yourself. Depending on the details of your case, there may be a very viable defense strategy. You must talk to your attorney before pursuing a specific defense. Common defenses to larceny charges include:
- The property belonged to the defendant;
- The defendant had permission to take the property;
- The defendant was unaware that they were removing the property;
- The defendant took the property, but did not have an intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.
In addition to the above, the defense may be able to prove that evidence against the defendant was unlawfully obtained through illegal search and seizure, that the defendant was a victim of entrapment, or that the prosecution has the wrong person and the defendant wasn’t involved in the crime whatsoever.
You Need a Lawyer
Maybe the most important thing to know if charged with larceny in Massachusetts, whether misdemeanor or felony larceny, is that working with a lawyer is strongly encouraged. An attorney can protect your rights as a defendant, develop a strategy for your case, and advocate for your best interests. At the Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, our criminal defense attorney has the experience and passion that your case deserves. Please call Attorney Moraski directly today at (978) 397-0011 to get the legal help you need.