NYS Penal Law
New York State Consolidated Laws
Article 155 - NY Penal Law
S 155.00 Larceny; definitions of terms.
The following definitions are applicable to this title:
1. "Property" means any money, personal property, real property,
computer data, computer program, thing in action, evidence of debt or
contract, or any article, substance or thing of value, including any
gas, steam, water or electricity, which is provided for a charge or
2. "Obtain" includes, but is not limited to, the bringing about of a
transfer or purported transfer of property or of a legal interest
therein, whether to the obtainer or another.
3. "Deprive." To "deprive" another of property means (a) to withhold
it or cause it to be withheld from him permanently or for so extended a
period or under such circumstances that the major portion of its
economic value or benefit is lost to him, or (b) to dispose of the
property in such manner or under such circumstances as to render it
unlikely that an owner will recover such property.
4. "Appropriate." To "appropriate" property of another to oneself or a
third person means (a) to exercise control over it, or to aid a third
person to exercise control over it, permanently or for so extended a
period or under such circumstances as to acquire the major portion of
its economic value or benefit, or (b) to dispose of the property for the
benefit of oneself or a third person.
5. "Owner." When property is taken, obtained or withheld by one person
from another person, an "owner" thereof means any person who has a right
to possession thereof superior to that of the taker, obtainer or
A person who has obtained possession of property by theft or other
illegal means shall be deemed to have a right of possession superior to
that of a person who takes, obtains or withholds it from him by
A joint or common owner of property shall not be deemed to have a
right of possession thereto superior to that of any other joint or
common owner thereof.
In the absence of a specific agreement to the contrary, a person in
lawful possession of property shall be deemed to have a right of
possession superior to that of a person having only a security interest
therein, even if legal title lies with the holder of the security
interest pursuant to a conditional sale contract or other security
6. "Secret scientific material" means a sample, culture,
micro-organism, specimen, record, recording, document, drawing or any
other article, material, device or substance which constitutes,
represents, evidences, reflects, or records a scientific or technical
process, invention or formula or any part or phase thereof, and which is
not, and is not intended to be, available to anyone other than the
person or persons rightfully in possession thereof or selected persons
having access thereto with his or their consent, and when it accords or
may accord such rightful possessors an advantage over competitors or
other persons who do not have knowledge or the benefit thereof.
7. "Credit card" means any instrument or article defined as a credit
card in section five hundred eleven of the general business law.
7-a. "Debit card" means any instrument or article defined as a debit
card in section five hundred eleven of the general business law.
7-b. "Public benefit card" means any medical assistance card, food
stamp assistance card, public assistance card, or any other
identification, authorization card or electronic access device issued by
the state or a social services district as defined in subdivision seven
of section two of the social services law, which entitles a person to
obtain public assistance benefits under a local, state or federal
program administered by the state, its political subdivisions or social
7-c. "Access device" means any telephone calling card number, credit
card number, account number, mobile identification number, electronic
serial number or personal identification number that can be used to
obtain telephone service.
8. "Service" includes, but is not limited to, labor, professional
service, a computer service, transportation service, the supplying of
hotel accommodations, restaurant services, entertainment, the supplying
of equipment for use, and the supplying of commodities of a public
utility nature such as gas, electricity, steam and water. A ticket or
equivalent instrument which evidences a right to receive a service is
not in itself service but constitutes property within the meaning of
9. "Cable television service" means any and all services provided by
or through the facilities of any cable television system or closed
circuit coaxial cable communications system, or any microwave or similar
transmission service used in connection with any cable television system
or other similar closed circuit coaxial cable communications system.
S 155.05 Larceny; defined.
1. A person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to
deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to
a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property
from an owner thereof.
2. Larceny includes a wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of
another`s property, with the intent prescribed in subdivision one of
this section, committed in any of the following ways:
(a) By conduct heretofore defined or known as common law larceny by
trespassory taking, common law larceny by trick, embezzlement, or
obtaining property by false pretenses;
(b) By acquiring lost property.
A person acquires lost property when he exercises control over
property of another which he knows to have been lost or mislaid, or to
have been delivered under a mistake as to the identity of the recipient
or the nature or amount of the property, without taking reasonable
measures to return such property to the owner;
(c) By committing the crime of issuing a bad check, as defined in
(d) By false promise.
A person obtains property by false promise when, pursuant to a scheme
to defraud, he obtains property of another by means of a representation,
express or implied, that he or a third person will in the future engage
in particular conduct, and when he does not intend to engage in such
conduct or, as the case may be, does not believe that the third person
intends to engage in such conduct.
In any prosecution for larceny based upon a false promise, the
defendant`s intention or belief that the promise would not be performed
may not be established by or inferred from the fact alone that such
promise was not performed. Such a finding may be based only upon
evidence establishing that the facts and circumstances of the case are
wholly consistent with guilty intent or belief and wholly inconsistent
with innocent intent or belief, and excluding to a moral certainty every
hypothesis except that of the defendant`s intention or belief that the
promise would not be performed;
(e) By extortion.
A person obtains property by extortion when he compels or induces
another person to deliver such property to himself or to a third person
by means of instilling in him a fear that, if the property is not so
delivered, the actor or another will:
(i) Cause physical injury to some person in the future; or
(ii) Cause damage to property; or
(iii) Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or
(iv) Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be
instituted against him; or
(v) Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or
false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule;
(vi) Cause a strike, boycott or other collective labor group action
injurious to some person`s business; except that such a threat shall not
be deemed extortion when the property is demanded or received for the
benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or
(vii) Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or
information with respect to another`s legal claim or defense; or
(viii) Use or abuse his position as a public servant by performing
some act within or related to his official duties, or by failing or
refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some
person adversely; or
(ix) Perform any other act which would not in itself materially
benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm another person
materially with respect to his health, safety, business, calling,
career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.
S 155.10 Larceny; no defense.
The crimes of (a) larceny committed by means of extortion and an
attempt to commit the same, and (b) bribe receiving by a labor official
as defined in section 180.20, and bribe receiving as defined in section
200.05, are not mutually exclusive, and it is no defense to a
prosecution for larceny committed by means of extortion or for an
attempt to commit the same that, by reason of the same conduct, the
defendant also committed one of such specified crimes of bribe
S 155.15 Larceny; defenses.
1. In any prosecution for larceny committed by trespassory taking or
embezzlement, it is an affirmative defense that the property was
appropriated under a claim of right made in good faith.
2. In any prosecution for larceny by extortion committed by instilling
in the victim a fear that he or another person would be charged with a
crime, it is an affirmative defense that the defendant reasonably
believed the threatened charge to be true and that his sole purpose was
to compel or induce the victim to take reasonable action to make good
the wrong which was the subject of such threatened charge.
S 155.20 Larceny; value of stolen property.
For the purposes of this title, the value of property shall be
ascertained as follows:
1. Except as otherwise specified in this section, value means the
market value of the property at the time and place of the crime, or if
such cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, the cost of replacement of
the property within a reasonable time after the crime.
2. Whether or not they have been issued or delivered, certain written
instruments, not including those having a readily ascertainable market
value such as some public and corporate bonds and securities, shall be
evaluated as follows:
(a) The value of an instrument constituting an evidence of debt, such
as a check, draft or promissory note, shall be deemed the amount due or
collectable thereon or thereby, such figure ordinarily being the face
amount of the indebtedness less any portion thereof which has been
(b) The value of a ticket or equivalent instrument which evidences a
right to receive a transportation, entertainment or other service shall
be deemed the price stated thereon, if any; and if no price is stated
thereon the value shall be deemed the price of such ticket or equivalent
instrument which the issuer charges the general public.
(c) The value of any other instrument which creates, releases,
discharges or otherwise affects any valuable legal right, privilege or
obligation shall be deemed the greatest amount of economic loss which
the owner of the instrument might reasonably suffer by virtue of the
loss of the instrument.
3. Where the property consists of gas, steam, water or electricity,
which is provided for charge or compensation, the value shall be the
value of the property stolen in any consecutive twelve-month period.
4. When the value of property cannot be satisfactorily ascertained
pursuant to the standards set forth in subdivisions one and two of this
section, its value shall be deemed to be an amount less than two hundred
S 155.25 Petit larceny.
A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property.
Petit larceny is a class A misdemeanor.
S 155.30 Grand larceny in the fourth degree.
A person is guilty of grand larceny in the fourth degree when he
steals property and when:
1. The value of the property exceeds one thousand dollars; or
2. The property consists of a public record, writing or instrument
kept, filed or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any
public office or public servant; or
3. The property consists of secret scientific material; or
4. The property consists of a credit card or debit card; or
5. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is taken from the
person of another; or
6. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is obtained by
7. The property consists of one or more firearms, rifles or shotguns,
as such terms are defined in section 265.00 of this chapter; or
8. The value of the property exceeds one hundred dollars and the
property consists of a motor vehicle, as defined in section one hundred
twenty-five of the vehicle and traffic law, other than a motorcycle, as
defined in section one hundred twenty-three of such law; or
9. The property consists of a scroll, religious vestment, a vessel, an
item comprising a display of religious symbols which forms a
representative expression of faith, or other miscellaneous item of
(a) has a value of at least one hundred dollars; and
(b) is kept for or used in connection with religious worship in any
building, structure or upon the curtilage of such building or structure
used as a place of religious worship by a religious corporation, as
incorporated under the religious corporations law or the education law.
10. The property consists of an access device which the person intends
to use unlawfully to obtain telephone service.
11. The property consists of anhydrous ammonia or liquified ammonia
gas and the actor intends to use, or knows another person intends to
use, such anhydrous ammonia or liquified ammonia gas to manufacture
Grand larceny in the fourth degree is a class E felony.
S 155.35 Grand larceny in the third degree.
A person is guilty of grand larceny in the third degree when he or she
steals property and:
1. when the value of the property exceeds three thousand dollars, or
2. the property is an automated teller machine or the contents of an
automated teller machine.
Grand larceny in the third degree is a class D felony.
S 155.40 Grand larceny in the second degree.
A person is guilty of grand larceny in the second degree when he
steals property and when:
1. The value of the property exceeds fifty thousand dollars; or
2. The property, regardless of its nature and value, is obtained by
extortion committed by instilling in the victim a fear that the actor or
another person will (a) cause physical injury to some person in the
future, or (b) cause damage to property, or (c) use or abuse his
position as a public servant by engaging in conduct within or related to
his official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official
duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely.
Grand larceny in the second degree is a class C felony.
S 155.42 Grand larceny in the first degree.
A person is guilty of grand larceny in the first degree when he steals
property and when the value of the property exceeds one million dollars.
Grand larceny in the first degree is a class B felony.
S 155.43 Aggravated grand larceny of an automated teller machine.
A person is guilty of aggravated grand larceny of an automated teller
machine when he or she commits the crime of grand larceny in the third
degree, as defined in subdivision two of section 155.35 of this article
and has been previously convicted of grand larceny in the third degree
within the previous five years.
Aggravated grand larceny of an automated teller machine is a class C felony.
S 155.45 Larceny; pleading and proof.
1. Where it is an element of the crime charged that property was taken
from the person or obtained by extortion, an indictment for larceny must
so specify. In all other cases, an indictment, information or complaint
for larceny is sufficient if it alleges that the defendant stole
property of the nature or value required for the commission of the crime
charged without designating the particular way or manner in which such
property was stolen or the particular theory of larceny involved.
2. Proof that the defendant engaged in any conduct constituting
larceny as defined in section 155.05 is sufficient to support any
indictment, information or complaint for larceny other than one charging
larceny by extortion. An indictment charging larceny by extortion must
be supported by proof establishing larceny by extortion.
Top of Page
Penal Law - Table of Contents
- A comprehensive on-line digest of New York's criminal code.