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Learn More About Bonavita

Criminal Attorney Bonavita is a skilled litigator with extensive courtroom experience. As a former Criminal Prosecutor for both the Office of the
Attorney General and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, she successfully argued her perspective to either a judge or jury on hundreds of occasions.

Larceny Laws

Larceny Laws

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Larceny, in its most general form, is defined as the taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent of depriving the owner of its use permanently.

As all attorneys learn in law school, the taking and carrying away element of the crime can be accomplished no matter how slight the movement is.  If you had thoughts about stealing a pack of gum at a local CVS store, picked it up, walked two feet, had second thoughts and returned the gum – in theory – you could still be found guilty of larceny!

If you were arrested for pick pocketing, purse snatching, passing bad checks, or even stealing a car, you will be charged with larceny.  The sooner that you retain the services of Attorney Bonavita, the better chances you have of a successful defense.  Do not risk the outcome of your case by neglecting to hire a strong advocate on your behalf.

As with other crimes in Massachusetts, the greater the theft crime, the greater the consequences.  Needless to say, if you are being charged or investigated for larceny, you are facing serious consequences.  The penalties are based on several circumstances surrounding each individual case.

    • In cases where the value is less than $250, the penalty is imprisonment in the House of Corrections for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than $300.
    • In cases where the value is $250 or more, the penalty is imprisonment in state prison for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $25,000 and imprisonment in the House of Corrections for not more than 2 years.

Other examples of larceny offenses include:

  • Larceny from a Person
  • Larceny by Check
  • Larceny in a Building
  • Motor Vehicle Larceny


Larceny is defined as taking someone’s personal property without their content with the intent of depriving the victim of the ownership or use of that property. This can include theft, pick-pocketing, purse snatching, identity theft, forgery, cashing a check that didn’t belong to you (check larceny), or stealing money from a business (embezzlement). Even if the property is not actually on the victim’s person, it is still considered larceny if the property was within the victim’s control or presence. In Massachusetts, larceny falls into two categories. Petty larceny is when the property in question is valued at less than $250. Typically, petty larceny is charged as a misdemeanor. Grand larceny is a felony crime and is when the property is worth $250 or more.

Sentencing for larceny varies, but the maximum sentence for larceny is five years in prison (the maximum sentence for district courts is two and a half). However, if the victim is 65 years or older, there is a mandatory one year jail sentence for the second offense.

Different types of larceny charges

  • Larceny under $250 – Petty Larceny
  • Larceny over $250 – Grand Larceny
  • Larceny by Stealing
  • Larceny by Stealing in a Building
  • Larceny by Stealing From the Person
  • Larceny of Leased or Rented Property
  • Larceny by Check

What’s the difference between larceny and robbery? 

Robbery involves force or breaking into a residence of building. Another key distinction between larceny and robbery is that the sentences for larceny are typically shorter than sentences for robbery. However, both larceny and robbery charges are serious and can have a tremendously negative impact on the defendant’s future if they are not handled by a skilled attorney.

What is involved in a larceny case? 

In Massachusetts, larceny cases are typically tried in the district courts. Some larceny cases also result in civil charges. For a criminal conviction in Massachusetts, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant took and carried away property; that the property was owned or possessed by someone other than the defendant; that the defendant took that property from someone who owned or possessed it; and that the defendant intended to deprive the victim of the property permanently. This can be challenging for the prosecution to prove because they must also show a specific intent.

Many times illegal search and seizure plays a role in defending larceny cases. If any of the evidence against you was obtained illegally, you can be sure that Criminal Attorney Kristen Bonavita will work to suppress that evidence and clear your name. There are many other strategies that she can use to have larceny charges voided or lessened. In some cases, her clients are able to settle with the prosecution before the case even goes to trial.

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny is a felony. Larceny is considered grand larceny when the value of the stolen property exceeds $250.

At common law, larceny was defined as the trespassory taking and carrying away of the property of another person with the intent to steal. The word “trespassory” means without right. “Intent to steal” means the intent to deprive the other person of the property permanently. So, for example, there is no intent to steal where one merely intends to borrow property or where one mistakenly believes the property to be his own. Typical examples of larceny include pick pocketing, purse snatching, and theft.

Larceny at common law was separate and distinct from embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretenses. Massachusetts, however, has by statute made some changes to the common law. In our Commonwealth, larceny, embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretenses all come under one statute, and they are collectively called “larceny.”

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 30 defines larceny. In addition to including embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretenses under the “larceny” umbrella, this statute significantly expands the types of property that can be the subject of larceny. In Massachusetts, “property” includes money, a variety of different types of commercial paper, contracts, public records, real property, pets, electronic data, and more.


Grand larceny is punishable by up to five years in state prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or imprisonment in jail for up to two years.

How Criminal Defense Attorney Kristen Farrell Bonavita Defends Larceny Charges

Not all, but nearly all larceny cases in Massachusetts are prosecuted in the District Court.  Attorney Bonavita’s first attempt will be to dispose of your case by having it continued without a finding (CWOF).  Here, so long as you do not commit a further crime for six months or so, the case will be dismissed.  Another option may be to take a plea bargain and accept the charge and penalty for shoplifting.

Most of the time, Attorney Bonavita seeks to have the arrest voided at a Show Cause Hearing.  She’ll also file a number of motions to make sure that the evidence against you was obtained properly and that your constitutional rights were not violated.

If you are facing charges for Larceny in Newburyport, Salem, Boston, Amesbury, Salisbury, Lawrence, Ipswich, or any town in the Essex, Suffolk, or Middlesex counties in Massachusetts, call Criminal Attorney Bonavita immediately at 978-376-6746 or email her with your case information!

  1. Please include as much information as possible as it relates to your case. Criminal Attorney Bonavita will review your information and contact you immediately.
Law Office Of Attorney Kristen Bonavita Address: 11A Liberty Street Newburyport, MA 01950 Phone: 978-376-6746
Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer Kristen Bonavita serves the following communities: Andover, Amesbury, Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, West Newbury, Boston Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, South Boston, West Roxbury, Charlestown, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, Acton, Arlington, Ashby, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medord, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Marlborough, Maynard, Medord, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn.
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