Massachusetts Larceny Charges

Less than $250: Up to one year in jail and a $300 fine.

Theft of Firearm: Up to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

More than $250, felony offense: Up to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine or up to 2.5 years in the House of Correction if the case remains in district court.

Theft of trade secrets: Up to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Theft from an older adult (More than $250): Up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Source: Massachusetts Law Ch. 266 Sec. 30 (

In order to be convicted of larceny under Massachusetts law, it must be proven that you took property that was not yours and that you intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property. A physical carrying away of the property is not required – any separation of the owner’s control can be sufficient to prove larceny.

Larceny is one of the most common criminal charges filed in Massachusetts and may be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Under Massachusetts Law, larceny offenses are typically categorized by the dollar value of the item allegedly stolen. Offenses of less than $250 are generally considered a misdemeanor but still carry the potential for serious consequences. Theft offenses of more than $250 are usually charged as a felony and can result in significant time in jail or prison as well as other serious penalties.

A misdemeanor larceny charge is punishable by up to a year in jail while a felony charge carries the threat of 5 years in prison. In handling larceny charges, a Massachusetts defense lawyer may challenge the value of the items seized or the way in which the state arrived at the dollar amount used to file criminal charges. Obviously, obtaining a reduction from felony to misdemeanor larceny can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a case. Sometimes the state will overstate the value of the items stolen, or may attempt to group items together to arrive at a felony charge in cases where a misdemeanor charge would be more appropriate.

In other cases, the state may pile on numerous larceny charges for a crime that should be charged as a continuing course of action. In these cases, an experienced Massachusetts Criminal defense lawyer can argue for a reduction or dismissal of some of the charges. In some cases, a plea agreement may be negotiated that seeks to dismiss some of the charges. Other cases make preparing for trial the best option and a defense can be built that forces the prosecution to prove each and every count individually.

Larceny charges in Massachusetts are a serious offense. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, being convicted of a theft offense can have a negative impact on your long-term quality of life and can make it difficult to obtain certain jobs, join certain organizations or even rent an apartment or qualify for federal or state assistance, including student loans.