Shoplifting Petit Larceny

Mr. McMillan is a former New York State prosecutor who has successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with Petit Larceny or Shoplifting in courts such as Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Greenburgh, Yonkers, White Plains, Rye, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, Danbury, Trumbull, Stanford, and Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Distinction Between Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny

The difference between the crime of Petit Larceny (which is only an A misdemeanor) and grand larceny (which is a serious felony, often carrying long term incarceration) rests entirely on the value of the merchandise stolen.

Petit Larceny under 155.25 of the New York State Penal Law is charged for theft related crimes where the merchandise costs less than $1,000 dollars.

The distinction is important because whereas Petit Larceny can almost always be pled down to a non-criminal violation, it is much more difficult to do so when a person is originally charged with grand larceny.


Petit Larceny is sometimes also called shoplifting for theft related offenses which occur in large commercial areas such as shopping centers or malls.

Many of our firm’s cases involving shoplifting arise in retail Westchester County or Manhattan stores like Lord & Taylor or Nordstrom. Typically in these theft related cases a person may be first interrogated by a store security officer. The Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures by New York Police do not apply to store employees. So, for instance, there is no law requiring that a mall security cop read you your Miranda rights before interrogating you as there would be for a police officer.

In many cases a person who is charged with shoplifting does not even realize the seriousness of their offense. Some of the cases I have defended have involved cases in which a person switches the price tag of a much more expensive item or cases in which store employees take part in fraudulent returns or fail to scan selected items.

I have also successfully defended clients who are kleptomaniacs or who suffered from psychiatric illnesses, successfully arguing that their disease, not an intent to steal, led to the crime.

If I can successfully show that you did not steal the item, it is a complete defense under New York State Law. In prior cases I have successfully argued that clients have exited a store with merchandise (even very expensive merchandise) unintentionally. These types of cases typically arise when people accidentally leave a store and trigger a metal detector, not realizing that they had an item in their hand.

What Will Happen to You if You’re Charged with Petit Larceny

If you are charged with Petit Larceny (not grand larceny) and have no prior criminal record, your case is likely to result in an ACD. An ACD amounts to a dismissal (and a sealing order after six (6) months) provided certain court ordered conditions are met. In some cases, however, New York or Connecticut Courts refuse to offer an ACD, even for comparatively minor offenses. In these instances, the next best bet would be to seek a non criminal disposition, such as Disorderly Conduct for the original charge of Petit Larceny. Disorderly Conduct is a violation (like a traffic ticket) and, therefore, does not result in a criminal record.

Our criminal defense lawyers have experience dealing with Petit Larceny or Shoplifting charges in Courts like Greeburgh, Elmsford, White Plains, Port Chester, Mamaroneck, Bronx, Rockland, Trumbull, Stamford and Greenwich.

If you have been charged with Petit Larceny, contact us now at (914) 358-4326 or (917) 538-5016.

Client Reviews
I was arrested and charged with drunk driving in New Rochelle after a traffic accident. Mr. McMillan worked tirelessly on my behalf and ultimately got the charges dismissed following a jury trial. I would recommend him to anyone. Bob, former client
My son was charged with drug sale following an incident which took place at school. Mr. McMillan was professional every step of the way and worked to ensure a good outcome. We are thankful for his efforts. Pam
I was convicted after jury trial in Supreme Court (for a crime I didn’t commit). Mr. McMillan worked tirelessly to make sure my conviction (and sentence) were overturned on appeal. I can’t thank him enough. George, former client