Criminal Offences


Larceny is characterised as the fraudulent taking and carrying away of property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property and is a criminal offence under section 117 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The Crimes Act states that:

Whosoever commits larceny, or any indictable offence by this Act made punishable like larceny, shall, except in the cases hereinafter otherwise provided for, be liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

In order to be charged with larceny, theft of property that belonged to someone else must have occurred. A common example of larceny includes shoplifting. As a leading criminal defence law firm based in Sydney, our expert team of criminal lawyers possess a wealth of knowledge in relation to charges of larceny.

If you or somebody you know is facing such charges, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders now for a consultation.


The Crimes Act states that the maximum penalty for larceny is imprisonment of 5 years. However, such a punishment is reserved for serious offences and only can be given if the matter has been dealt with in the District Court. Alternatively, if the offence is being heard in the Local Court, the maximum penalty for larceny is as follows:

  • If the value exceeds $5,000: imprisonment for 2 years and/or 100 penalty units ($11,000 fine)
  • If the value does not exceed $5,000: Imprisonment for 2 years and/or 50 penalty units ($5,500 fine)
  • If the value does not exceed $2,000: Imprisonment for 2 years and/or 20 penalty units ($2,200 fine)

However, it is also important to remember that the Court has the ability to impose other penalties, should they be more appropriate. Upon considering the nature of the offence, past criminal history and personal circumstances, a Court may find that penalties such as home detention, intensive correction orders, community corrections orders, conditional release orders or fines may be more appropriate. The Court also has the ability to deal with matters may the means of a section 10, whereby no conviction is recorded. However, it is important to be aware that this is typically rewarded for petty offences and first time offenders.


In order to be found guilty of larceny, the Police must prove the following beyond reasonable doubt.

  • That the property must belong to someone other than the accused;
  • That it must be taken and carried away;
  • The taking must be without the consent of the owner of the property; and
  • There was an intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

During your case, you will have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If you choose to agree with the allegations set our against you, which states that you are guilty of larceny and you enter a guilty plea, it is likely that you will be convicted with one of the above penalties.

While a penalty is likely to be enforced, pleading guilty is seen in a favourable manner by the judiciary system as it often demonstrates remorse for your actions. As a result, it is not uncommon to see the Court impose alternative, and typically more liberating penalties on an offender. These penalties could include community correction orders, intensive correction orders, conditional release orders or fines. Whether it be a lesser gaol term or an alternative penalty, this is generally a more positive outcome as opposed to being found guilty otherwise. The Court also has the discretion to deal with offenders by the means of a section 10 dismissal, whereby no criminal conviction is recorded and there are no significant impacts on an individual’s ability to work or participate in their daily activities.

With multiple award wins and a 90% success rate on all criminal cases, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders is home to some of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney.

If you or someone you know is facing charges relating to larceny, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with our expert criminal defence lawyers, where we can effectively assess your case and accurately advise you on the penalties that you may face.


Alternatively, if you are facing allegations of larceny, you have the option to plead not guilty. In this instance, it is up to the Police to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime as set out in section 114 of the Crimes Act 1900. If the Police can successfully prove this beyond reasonable doubt, it is likely you will have one of the above penalties imposed on you.

However, as an award winning criminal law firm with a 90% success rate on the criminal cases we have represented, we are some of Sydney’s best criminal defence lawyers. With 29 years of experience in criminal law, our team will aim to negate the claims made against you by using the following defence strategies. In some instances, these defences will acquit you of the charges and no conviction will be incurred. In other cases, the appropriate defence strategy may only provide a partial defence, whereby you may be liable to alternative charges. However, these charges usually attract less severe penalties, making it a successful outcome as being found guilty for larceny otherwise.


Our criminal defence lawyers may argue to following defences to quash allegations of larceny.

Duress: Arises in situations where the defendant has been coerced to participate in unlawful activities as a result of harmful threats. These threats typically take form as bodily harm or death, in which the defendant believes that if they didn’t participate in the crime these threats would have proceeded.

Necessity: Although typically difficult to prove, the defence of necessity can be argued by our criminal defence lawyers in situations where it is found that the accused only participated in an unlawful act to avoid imminent danger by either human or natural forces.

Honest Claim of Right: Encompasses situations in which the accused has a bona fide claim in which they holistically and genuinely believe they’re entitled to the property that was stolen.


The offence of larceny is generally classified as a table offence and therefore will be heard at a Local Court. However, in some instances, it may be dealt with at the District Court or Supreme Court if elected or deemed necessary.

While we are a Parramatta and Sydney based criminal law firm, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders have a wealth of experience in defending criminal cases all over NSW. Therefore, we are able to effectively represent our clients regardless of the location.

Schedule a consultation with our criminal defence lawyers now.