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Rochester Criminal Defense Lawyer Handles Burglary and Theft Charges

Effective representation protects your rights against aggressive prosecution

Theft and burglary are serious charges with serious potential consequences. But they are also more complex charges than you might think, requiring the prosecution to prove various elements beyond a reasonable doubt. But getting the benefit of the doubt requires skilled legal advice from an experienced defense lawyer. Trust the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C., because we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and deliver the best results possible under the facts of your case.

Various theft crimes under New York law

Under state law in New York, theft, or larceny, occurs when a person “with intent to deprive another of property …wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds…property from an owner.” Larceny can be accomplished by various means, earning the offense a more technical term, such as:

  • Acquiring lost property — Exercising control over property that a reasonable person would likely know is lost or stolen without taking reasonable steps to return the property to the owner
  • Passing a bad check — Knowing a check is worthless and exchanging it for consideration
  • False promise — As part of a scheme to defraud, making a promise without intending to fulfill it to obtain another’s property
  • Extortion — Wrongly obtaining property by threatening physical harm or property damage, threatening to publicize a damaging assertion as fact (blackmail) or committing some other act that constitutes a crime
  • Embezzlement — Being trusted to oversee another’s property and wrongly appropriating that property
  • Fraud — Perpetrating identity theft, insurance fraud, Medicare or Medicaid fraud, mortgage fraud, tax evasion, or otherwise committing theft by deception
  • Shoplifting — Leaving a store without paying for merchandise or mishandling the merchandise in a way that violates the store owner’s rights, including concealing merchandise on one’s person or switching labels on merchandise to falsely lower the price
  • Robbery — Taking something by force or by inducing fear in the victim, with armed robbery being more serious because the threat to the victim is theoretically greater

Theft crimes involving less than $1,000 of property are classified as petit larceny and generally charged as misdemeanors. Greater amounts constitute grand larceny and are charged at various felony levels, depending on several factors, such as the means used to accomplish the act.

Basics of New York burglary law

Although people generally think of burglary as a theft crime, theft is not a necessary element. A person commits burglary when he “knowingly enters and remains unlawfully” in a building with the intent to commit a crime. The entry into the building does not have to be forceful; all the law requires is for the person to be in a place “where he is not licensed or privileged” to be. As for the intent element, the perpetrator must have the idea to commit the crime before entering. If he decides to do something unlawful after entering, he can be charged with trespass and the additional crime, but the two together do not constitute burglary.

Burglary in New York is always a felony, even if the crime the defendant planned to commit was a misdemeanor. Burglary has three degrees with the following penalties:

  • Third degree — Class D felony punishable by one to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000
  • Second degree — Class C felony punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000
  • First degree — Class B felony punishable by one to 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000

Reasons for enhanced charges and penalties include:

  • Being armed with explosives or a deadly weapon, or displaying what appears to be a firearm
  • Harming someone who is not a participant in the crime
  • Using or threatening to use any object that could cause serious injury or death

Given the complexity of a burglary charge and the serious consequences of a conviction, you should only trust your defense to an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is determined to protect your rights.

Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Rochester

If you have been arrested for theft or burglary in the Rochester area, trust the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. to work tirelessly for a favorable outcome to your case. Mention our website when you call us at 585-563-1134 or when you contact us online and receive a free 30-minute initial consultation.


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