Criminal Law
Robbery Vs. Burglary Vs. Theft Vs. Larceny in New York: What Are the Differences?

Robbery Vs. Burglary Vs. Theft Vs. Larceny in New York: What Are the Differences?

On Behalf of vitalianolaw | Jan 01, 2024 |

Though the crimes of larceny, burglary, and robbery are frequently used to refer to the same actions of theft, they are all distinctly different crimes. It can be useful to know the difference between them, particularly if you are being charged with one of these crimes. If you are facing any theft, violent crime, or burglary charges, you need an experienced New York criminal defense attorney to help you craft a strong defense.

Theft and Larceny in New York

There is no difference between theft and larceny in New York. They both refer to the same crime of taking property without consent and with the intent to keep the item from the owner permanently or for a significant amount of time. The act of larceny can be committed through extortion, trick, embezzlement, wage theft, and other actions. Shoplifting is a common form of larceny.

Unlike robbery or burglary, larceny can sometimes be charged as a misdemeanor. If the value of the item or the total value of the items is less than $1,000, it is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. If it is charged as grand larceny, meaning the value is $1,000 or more, it is charged as a felony. These charges are:

  • For items stolen valued from $1,000 up to $3,000, it is a Class E felony
  • Items valued over $3,000 to $50,000, or theft from an ATM, is a Class D felony
  • Items valued over $50,000 to $1,000,000 are a Class C felony
  • Items valued over $1,000,000 are a Class B felony

Robbery in New York

The crime of robbery is another form of theft or larceny but includes the use of force, violence, or the threat of force and violence. Because of this, robbery charges require the victim of the theft to be present, or else the charge is simply larceny. Carjacking, if the victim is present, is a form of robbery.

In order to charge someone for robbery, larceny must have been committed, as well as the use of force or threat of force. If nothing was stolen, the individual may face assault or battery charges, depending on the situation.

Robbery is a felony, no matter the value of stolen items. Penalties can increase with aggravating factors, such as the use of a firearm, the use of another weapon, or severe injuries to the victim. There are three degrees of robbery in New York, from a Class D to a Class B felony.

Burglary in New York

The crime of burglary, unlike larceny or robbery, does not require theft. Burglary in New York is the charge when an individual, without permission, enters a home, building, or vehicle with the intention of committing a crime. This crime may be theft, but the person does not have to steal anything to be charged with burglary. Other crimes the person may intend to commit include assault, battery, kidnapping, sex crimes, arson, or other crimes.

The victim also does not have to be present for burglary to occur. An individual can be charged with burglary even if there is no one in the building, home, or vehicle. Breaking and entering, or entering illegally, and intending to commit a crime is all that is required to charge burglary. If there is no intent to commit a crime, then the individual would be charged with criminal trespass.

There are three degrees of burglary, ranging from a Class D felony to a Class B felony. Aggravating factors include the use of deadly weapons, the use of a dangerous instrument, the display of a firearm, or the injury of any person. The type of building involved in the crime also changes the severity of the penalties, such as if the location is a dwelling or is usually occupied by an individual who lodges there at night.


Q: What Is the Difference Between Theft and Larceny in New York?

A: In New York, there is no difference between theft and larceny, unlike some other states that differentiate between the two. In this state, both words refer to the crime of taking, withholding, or obtaining another individual’s rightful property with the intention of depriving the individual of that property. Larceny can be committed in many ways and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The severity of the charge relies on the value of the item or items stolen.

Q: What Is Considered Larceny in New York?

A: Both grand larceny and petit larceny occur when an individual takes another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of it permanently or for an extended period of time. This is done without force but can occur through many means, including embezzlement, wage theft, theft of services, extortion, issuing a bad check, trickery, or false pretenses. If force or threat of force is used, it becomes the crime of robbery. The value of items stolen in larceny will impact the severity of the charges.

Q: Is Larceny a Felony in New York?

A: Larceny is not always a felony in New York. If the total value of the items stolen is less than $1,000, it is charged as petit larceny, which is a Class A misdemeanor. However, if the value totals $1,000 or more, it is considered grand larceny and is charged as a felony. If the amount stolen is between $1,000 and $3,000, the crime is charged as a Class E felony. Penalties increase with value up to a Class B felony for grand larceny of $1,000,000 or more.

Q: What Are the Differences and Similarities Between Burglary, Robbery, and Larceny?

A: Larceny is simply the charge of theft, while robbery is theft by force or threat of force. Robbery always occurs with the victim of the theft present. Burglary does not have to occur with the victim present and does require theft to be involved. The charge of burglary is when someone illegally enters a location with the intent to commit a crime. The person does not actually have to commit the crime, and the crime may not be theft.

Contact The Vitaliano Law Firm Today

Facing larceny, burglary, or robbery charges can be very serious. Not only may you face short-term and long-term criminal penalties, but you may also face civil claims from the victims of the theft or crime. Contact The Vitaliano Law Firm for experienced and aggressive legal defense.