Grand theft

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Grand theft, also called grand larceny, is a term used throughout the United States designating theft that is large in magnitude or serious in penological consequences. Grand theft is contrasted with petty theft, theft that is of smaller magnitude or lesser seriousness.

Definitions of Grand theft throughout the U.S.[edit]

In the United States, each state establishes the distinction between grand and petty theft for cases falling within its jurisdiction, the distinction is generally established by statute, as are the penological consequences. Most commonly, statutes establishing the distinction between grand theft and petty theft do so on the basis of the value of the money or property taken by the thief or lost by the victim. Most commonly, the penological consequences of the distinction include the significant one that grand theft can be treated as a felony, while petty theft is generally treated as a misdemeanor.

In American jurisdictions, the distinction between grand and petty theft is most commonly based on the value (in dollars) of the property stolen, the dollar amount for grand theft varies from state to state.


The Alaska State Code does not use the terms "grand theft" or "grand larceny." However, it specifies that theft of property valued at more than $500 is a felony whereas thefts of lesser amounts are misdemeanors. The felony categories (class 1 and class 2 theft) also include theft of firearms; property taken from the person of another; vessel or aircraft safety or survival equipment; and access devices.[1]


Felony theft is committed when the value of the stolen property exceeds $1000. Regardless of the value of the item, if it is a firearm or an animal taken for the purpose of animal fighting, then the theft is a Class 6 Felony.[2]


Grand theft is committed when the value of stolen property exceeds $950. Theft is also considered grand theft when more than $250 in crops or marine life forms are stolen, “when the property is taken from the person of another,” or when the property stolen is an automobile, farm animal, or firearm.[3] There are a number of criminal statutes in the California Penal Code defining grand theft in different amounts. Most common amount is $950.


"In general, any property taken that carries a value of more than $300 can be considered grand theft in certain circumstances..."[4]


"Theft as Misdemeanor or Felony in Georgia. When a theft offense involves property valued at $500 or less, the crime is punishable as a misdemeanor in Georgia."[5] Any theft of property determined to be exceeding $500 will be treated as grand theft and therefore sentenced as such.


Theft in the first or second degree is a felony. Theft in the first degree means theft above $20,000 or of a firearm or explosive; or theft over $300 during a declared emergency. Theft in the second degree means theft above $300, theft from the person of another, or agricultural products over $100 or aquacultural products from an enclosed property.[6]


Theft is a felony if the value of the property exceeds $300 or the property is stolen from the person of another. Thresholds at $10,000, $100,000, and $500,000 determine how severe the punishment can be, the location from which property was stolen is also a factor in sentencing.[7]


KRS 514.030 states that theft by unlawful taking or disposition is generally a Class A misdemeanor unless the items stolen are a firearm, anhydrous ammonia, a controlled substance valued at less than $10,000 or any other item or combination of items valued $500 or higher and less than $10,000 in which case the theft is a Class D felony. Theft of items valued at $10,000 or higher and less than $1,000,000 is a Class C felony. Theft of items valued at $1,000,000 or more is a Class B felony, as is first offense theft of anhydrous ammonia for the express purpose of manufacturing methamphetamines in violation of KRS 218A.1432. In the latter case, subsequent offenses are a Class A felony. [8]


Value of stolen property is greater than $250.[9]


Stealing is a felony if the value of stolen property exceeds $500, it is also a felony if “The actor physically takes the property appropriated from the person of the victim” or the stolen property is a vehicle, legal document, credit card, firearm, explosive, U.S. flag on display, livestock animal, fish with value exceeding $75, captive wildlife, controlled substance, or ammonia.[10] Stealing in excess of $25,000 is usually a class B felony (sentence: 5–15 years),[11] while any other felony stealing (not including the felonies of burglary or robbery) that does not involve chemicals is a class C felony (sentence: up to 7 years). Non-felony stealing is a class A misdemeanor (sentence: up to 1 year).

New York[edit]

Grand larceny consists of stealing property with a value exceeding $1000; or stealing a public record, secret scientific material, firearm, credit or debit card, ammonia, telephone with service, or motor vehicle or religious item with value exceeding $100; or stealing from the person of another or by extortion or from an ATM. The degree of grand larceny is increased if the theft was from an ATM, through extortion involving fear, or involved a value exceeding the thresholds of $3,000, $50,000, or $1,000,000.[12]


Grand Larceny: Value of goods exceed $900 (13 V.S.A. § 2501)


Grand Larceny: Value of goods exceed $200 (Virginia Code § 18.2-95)

Washington State[edit]

Theft of goods valued between $750 and $5000 is second-degree theft, a Class C felony.[13] Theft of goods valued above $5000, of a search-and-rescue dog on duty, of public records from a public office or official, of metal wire from a utility, or of an access device, is a Class B felony,[14] as is theft of a motor vehicle [15] or a firearm.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Alaska Statutes: AS 11.46.130. Theft in the Second Degree". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  2. ^ Arizona Legislative Code
  3. ^ Section 487 at
  4. ^ "Florida Theft Laws: Grand or Petit Theft, Shoplifting, Dealing Stolen Property". 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  5. ^ "Georgia Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws, Shoplifting, Dealing Stolen Property". 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-09. 
  6. ^ "Hawaii Theft Laws". Offender Solutions. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  7. ^ "Illinois Theft & Shoplifting Laws - IL Theft Penalties - Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer | Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  8. ^ "KRS 514.030 Theft by unlawful taking or disposition - penalties". Commonwealth of Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2016-08-07. 
  9. ^ Law offices of Stephen Neyman, accessed January 2011
  10. ^ "Section 570-030 Stealing-penalties". Archived from the original on 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  11. ^ "Section 558-011 Sentence of imprisonment, terms-condit". 2013-08-28. Archived from the original on 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  12. ^ "Article 155 - New York State Penal Law Code - Larceny". 2014-01-20. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  13. ^ RCW 9A.56.040
  14. ^ RCW 9A.56.030
  15. ^ RCW 9A.56.065
  16. ^ RCW 9A.56.300