Petty Larceny Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Petty Larceny, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Petty Larceny?

n.It is theft or srime of money, objects or psomeones property of a small value.It is distinguished from grand larceny which is theft of a bigger value and is punishable with a term in state prison whereas in petit larceny it can be maximum with a term in county jail.

History and Definition of Petty Larceny

Petty larceny, also known as petit larceny, refers to the theft of an item or items that are of relatively low monetary value. In most jurisdictions, the line between petty and grand larceny is drawn at around $500, although this limit can vary from place to place. Petty larceny is generally considered a misdemeanor offense, with punishment ranging from fines to short-term imprisonment, while grand larceny is often classified as a felony, with more severe sentencing.

The term "petty larceny" has been in use in the United States since the colonial period, and was codified into law as a criminal offense in the early 1800s. Along with grand larceny and other theft-related charges, it has been a fixture of criminal justice proceedings for centuries.

Examples of Petty Larceny

  1. A shoplifter steals a candy bar from a convenience store - this would likely be classified as petty larceny.

  2. Someone swipes a package off a neighbor's porch, only to find it contains a cheap pair of socks - this would also fall under the category of petty larceny.

  3. A concertgoer manages to sneak a small amount of alcohol into a venue despite the "no outside beverages" policy - this could potentially be charged as petty larceny, although this would depend on local laws and regulations.

Legal Terms Similar to Petty Larceny

  1. Grand Larceny - Theft of a more valuable item, typically classified as a felony.

  2. Burglary - Breaking and entering with intent to commit a theft or other crime.

  3. Embezzlement - Theft of funds or other valuables that have been entrusted to the thief by a third party.

  4. Robbery - Theft that involves the use or threat of force against another person.