Facing a Larceny Charge? Here’s What You Should Know

In Massachusetts and other U.S. states, facing criminal charges involving theft are serious. A Boston criminal lawyer will tell you that convicted persons face a long time behind bars and other penalties that could alter the course of their life. Larceny, which is taking property without force, could seem like a lesser charge on the surface. However, many consider it basic theft, and you would be wise to take larceny seriously.

If you’re facing accusations of larceny or theft, the first thing to do is learn more about the charges. Understanding the charges against you will help you shield your interests, protect yourself, and create a good defense strategy. You must prevent permanent criminal records or penalties—having these will jeopardize your career and could affect your long-term opportunities. Here are things to keep in mind about larceny.

What Is Larceny?

Larceny involves the unlawful taking of property from another person or a business. Larceny was an offense in the common law of England, but it has been abolished in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. These areas have broken the generalized charge of larceny down into specific crimes like fraud, theft, burglary, robbery, and the like. 

In the United States, though, larceny remains an offense. Here, authorities can charge a person with larceny if they have sufficient evidence of the taking or caption and carrying away or asportation of personal property without consent from the owner. Speaking with a Massachusetts criminal lawyer will help you understand how this law applies specifically to Boston and other cities in the state.

What Do Courts Need to Convict a Person of Larceny?

Larceny cases need four elements:

  1. There must be proof of the unlawful taking and carrying away of property.
  2. The stolen property must belong to a person other than the one taking and carrying away.
  3. The individual facing the charges does not have permission to take the property.
  4. The prosecution must prove that the person taking the item did it intentionally and permanently deprive the owner of it. 

If you face a larceny charge, your criminal lawyer can take several approaches to defend you in court. The most significant factor in your favor is that the prosecution needs to prove that you took the property without permission and intended to deprive the owner of it. 

Another thing the prosecution must do is prove the defendant’s intent—they must prove that the person intended to steal the item and that the owner did not know or want for his property to be taken. It is tricky to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a defendant intended to steal and deprive another person of their property.


A charge of larceny or another property crime might not seem like a severe offense to you, especially if your case doesn’t have a criminal element. However, you need to take all criminal charges seriously. Any charge has the potential to cause a judge to mete out penalties and consequences that could affect your life in profound ways. Knowing what Massachusetts law says about larceny will help you protect your interests if you find yourself with this charge.

Everyone deserves the right to presumption of innocence, and if you hire the Fernandez Firm, we will help ensure that you get the best outcome for yourself. Atty. Frank Fernandez has been a Boston criminal attorney for more than 21 years, and he has experience in handling a range of major criminal matters. Book an appointment today to learn more!