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What is Larceny?

What is Larceny?

While many people may be aware that the taking of property or possessions that do not belong to them is considered to be a crime in the U.S and other countries, many people are not aware of the specifics of criminal law and the different types of theft. While most people may be aware of theft, burglary, and other types of crimes, many do not know the specific definitions and what separates different types of offenses.

One term that many people may have heard but may not understand, is the definition and meaning of the criminal charge of larceny. Larceny originated under the common law of England and is still considered to be a crime in the U.S. The crime is defined by the theft of actual, tangible possessions and the transport of such possessions away from the scene in an effort to deprive the owner of the item.

By tangible possession, the item or object in question must be something that can be held, touched, and possessed, and does not extend to intangible items like knowledge, feelings, and things that cannot be grasped or transported. It also does not cover contracts, wills, services, and contracts.

In order for an action to be considered larceny, the taking of the object in question must be complete. It should be proven that the person who committed the crime took complete control of the possession and moved it from the spot that it was located (even if the movement was an extremely short distance). Since the object must be moved from it’s original position to determine that the individual attempted to transport it away from it’s owner, the law provides for the action to be very slight.

Although some people may feel that the theft of property and other items that inhabit physical space may be larceny, large items that cannot be removed easily do not fall under the definition of larceny. This means that the forced possession of land, wild animals, plants, buildings and other large items usually cannot be prosecuted as larceny.

If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime like larceny, it is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options. There are many different options available for people who are struggling with a criminal charge, and it is often helpful to discuss your defense with someone who has experience handling such matters.

For more information on larceny and criminal defense, visit the website of the Milwaukee criminal attorneys of Kohler & Hart, LLP.