Going to Court? Book Your Free First Appointment

Saved Pages

Save pages and articles you’re most interested in to read later on.


We Are Open Throughout The Holiday Season

Larceny

Being charged with larceny can have a negative impact on your career and future prospects. However, with the help of Sydney’s best criminal lawyers you can ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your larceny case – leaving you free to get on with your life.

Larceny, also known as theft or stealing, involves taking someone else’s property without their permission and without any intention of returning it.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

Before you can be found guilty of larceny, the prosecution has to prove six factors:

  • You took and carried away property
  • The property that was taken belonged to someone else
  • The person who owned the property did not give permission for you to take it
  • You did not intend to return the property to the owner
  • You did not have a ‘claim of right’ to the property
  • You took the property dishonestly

If you feel that the prosecution may not be able to prove each and every one of these six factors beyond a reasonable doubt, you may consider entering a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

Our highly experienced criminal law experts have a proven track record of winning larceny matters and can then help you present your side of the story in a persuasive manner in court to maximize your chances of obtaining a favourable outcome in your case.

In some cases, we can even push to have the charges dropped before you end up in court by finding problems with the prosecution case and raising these at an early stage.

Our knowledgeable experts can also assist in identifying any possible defences to the charges, for example:

Pleading Guilty

By pleading guilty to the charges, you will be accepting responsibility for the charges laid against you.

If this is a path you wish to pursue, you can enter a plea of ‘guilty’ early in the proceedings. You will then proceed to sentencing to have the appropriate penalty determined.

Pleading guilty at the outset can actually be beneficial in some cases, as it shows the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions. This can help you achieve a more lenient penalty, and it will also mean that you will avoid the time and expense involved in a defended hearing.

However, it is always in your best interests to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer before pleading guilty, as there may be some way in which you can fight the charges and secure a verdict of ‘not guilty.’

You may also be wondering what kinds of penalties you could face if you plead guilty.

The maximum penalty for larceny depends on the value of the property taken:

  • Where the property is worth $5,000 or less, the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment, and/or a fine of $5,500.
  • Where the property is worth more than $5,000, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of $5,500.

Usually, larceny matters are dealt with in the Local Court in front of a magistrate – but in serious cases, your matter might be heard in the District Court before a judge. If your matter is heard in the District Court, you could face a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

However, imprisonment is only ever imposed as a last resort. This means that you will not go to gaol in most larceny cases.

With the help of our persuasive advocates, you may be able to secure a much lesser penalty by presenting your case in the most positive light. The types of penalties that the court could impose include:

More Information on Larceny

If you’ve been charged with larceny, you might want to find out more information about the charge and how it could impact your life.

We have included some additional detailed information in the sections below to help you better understand how a larceny charge could affect you.

What does the prosecution need to prove?

In order for you to be found guilty of larceny, the prosecution must prove six elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

If they are unable to prove each and every one of these factors, you will be found ‘not guilty’ of larceny.

1. You took and carried away property

For there to be a larceny, the property must be physically moved away from the owner.

2. The property that was taken belonged to someone else

The property that you took must have been owned, possessed or controlled by someone other than yourself.

3. The person who owned the property did not give permission for you to take it

There will be no larceny if the owner of the property gave you permission or consent to take it. Permission can be written, verbal, or communicated through actions.

4. You did not intend to return the property to the owner

The prosecution must prove that you intended to ‘permanently deprive the owner of the property.’ This means that there will be no larceny where you can prove that you only took the property for some temporary purpose.

However, you will not be able to take property and then claim that you intended to return it at some later date where the evidence shows that you obtained some personal benefit from the property.

5. You did not have a ‘claim of right’ to the property

A ‘claim of right’ means that you honestly and genuinely believed that you were legally entitled to the property.

The entitlement must be a legal rather than a moral entitlement. This means that you must believe that you actually own the property or have an interest in it; you can’t just claim that you were entitled to the goods for some moral purpose.

It won’t be necessary for you to prove that you recovered the exact property that you believed you were entitled to; you will still be able to rely on the defence where you took property of the same value as that which you believed was yours.

For example, if your friend refused to return your guitar valued at $700, and you instead took $700 cash from them, you will be able to claim that you were legally entitled to that $700.

However, you won’t be able to take property worth more than what you were legally entitled to – in the above example, it would be unreasonable for you to take $1000 cash and claim that you were entitled to that sum.

6. You took the property dishonestly

The prosecution must prove that you took the property ‘dishonestly’ – in other words, it must be proved that the theft was not an honest mistake on your part. So, if you honestly forgot to return something to a friend, this will not count as larceny.

The court will determine whether or not your actions were dishonest by applying a ‘reasonable person’ test. This means that the court will consider whether a reasonable person in your position would have acted differently.

What penalties could I face?

As mentioned above, the maximum penalty that you could face for larceny depends on two factors – the value of the property that was taken, and which court your matter is heard in.

  • Where the property is worth $5,000 or less, the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment, and/or a fine of $5,500.
  • Where the property is worth more than $5,000, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment, and/or a fine of $5,500.

Usually, larceny matters are dealt with in the Local Court in front of a magistrate – but in serious cases, your matter might be heard in the District Court before a judge. If your matter is heard in the District Court, you could face a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

However, imprisonment is only ever used as a last resort. Statistics indicate that the most common penalty for a larceny offence is a fine, with the average fine being $300. The next most common penalty is a section 9 good behaviour bond, which is a good behaviour bond that also incurs a conviction on your criminal record.

Even though the most common penalties may seem lenient, it’s important to get a good criminal defence lawyer on your side. This is because, in most cases, you will end up with a conviction on your criminal record, which can affect your ability to work and travel.

However, with the help of an experienced criminal defence lawyer, you could end up walking away without a conviction at all. This is known as a ‘section 10 dismissal or conditional release order,’ which means that while you will be found guilty of the offence, no conviction will be recorded on your criminal record.

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with. Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    • the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
    • Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
    • Parramatta, near the justice precinct.

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

Recent Success Stories

Recent Articles

Related Videos

Going to Court? Call For Your Free First Appointment

Main Menu

Follow Us

Search Our Site enter search term and press GO

Saved Articles & Pages

APPOINTMENT BOOKING FORM * mandatory fields

Preferred date for conference
Preferred time for conference
Briefly describe your situation:
Do you have a court date?

Your Review & Rating * mandatory fields

Review Text *
Rating (optional)