In Massachusetts, a number of acts that deprive people of their property constitute the crime of larceny. While larceny does not cause bodily harm, it is nonetheless a serious crime with significant penalties. People charged with larceny offenses in Massachusetts often fear that a conviction is unavoidable, but the prosecution faces a high burden of proof in criminal matters, and if it is unable to meet this burden, it should not be able to obtain a guilty verdict. If you are accused of a larceny crime, it is smart to meet with an attorney to determine what measures you can take to protect your interests. The seasoned Boston criminal defense attorneys at Koufman Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to prevail in the Massachusetts courts, and if we represent you, we will craft compelling arguments on your behalf. Our office is in Boston, and we defend individuals accused of larceny and other crimes in Boston and throughout Massachusetts.Larceny Charges in Massachusetts
Under Massachusetts law, larceny, also known as theft, is the act of unlawfully taking another person's property without their permission, with the intent to permanently take it away from them. Notably, larceny can be committed through the physical act of taking property or using false information or other fraudulent means to obtain the property. Property includes physical items like money, electronics, real estate, jewelry, or cars, but it also encompasses intangible property like trade secrets.
In order to convict a person of larceny, the prosecution must establish specific elements beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, they must prove the defendant took property, the property belonged to someone else, and the defendant intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently.Penalties for Larceny Charges
In Massachusetts, the punishment for larceny depends, in part, on the value of the stolen property. Larceny of property under $1,200 is punishable by up to one year in prison. Theft of property with a value above $1200 could lead to a 5-year prison sentence. People convicted of larceny may also be ordered to pay fines.Possible Defenses to Larceny Charges
Depending on the facts of the case, there may be several defenses a person charged with larceny can assert to avoid a conviction. One is to argue that the prosecution failed to demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant harbored the intent necessary to commit the offense. In other words, that the defendant lacked the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property; for example, if they believed they had permission to borrow or take the item or intended to return it, they may be able to show they did not steal the property in question.
Mistaken identity is another possible defense. If the victim misidentified the defendant as the perpetrator, the defendant can argue that they weren't the person who committed the theft. In cases where a person was compelled to commit the theft due to an immediate threat of harm, they may be able to assert a coercion or duress defense.
A defendant may also be able to undermine the prosecution's evidence as inadequate if it is contradictory, unreliable, or otherwise fails to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Finally, if a criminal defendant’s constitutional rights were violated in the course of their arrest and interrogation, they may be able to argue that any evidence obtained during the process should be suppressed, which could lead to the dismissal of the charges against them.Speak to an Experienced Boston Criminal Defense Attorney
A larceny conviction can lead to jail time, fines, and harm to your reputation and career, but many people faced with larceny charges are able to avoid convictions with the assistance of skilled counsel. If you are charged with a larceny offense, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney about your possible defenses. The experienced Boston criminal defense lawyers of Koufman Law Group have ample experience defending people accused of larceny in the Massachusetts courts, and if you hire us, we will help you fight for a favorable outcome. Our office is in Boston, and we regularly defend people in criminal matters in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. You can contact us to set up a confidential meeting through our form online or by calling us at 617-423-2212.