Larceny is commonly referred to as shoplifting or stealing. It can result in a criminal conviction.
What is larceny?
It involves taking an item, without the consent of the owner, with an intention to permanently deprive the owner of the item. For instance, a common example is shoplifting.
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Can I avoid a criminal record for larceny?
A court will usually record a criminal conviction. This is because this type of offence is common. Therefore, the court will sentence a person in a way that sends a message to the community so that others are deterred from committing the offence. As a result, many offenders will receive a fine, a conditional release order, or a community corrections order.
However, it is possible to avoid a conviction. The likelihood of this outcome depends on the circumstances of the offence, the value of the item, and the subjective circumstances of the offender.
Will I go to jail?
The maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment. However, if you are sentenced in the Local Court the maximum penalty is 2 years.
It’s therefore possible to receive a term of imprisonment for this offence. However, this outcome is unlikely if you do not have a criminal history and the circumstances of the offence are not too serious. The court will look at all other options before deciding that you should go to jail. For example, an intensive corrections order.
Can I defend the charge?
Yes, it is possible to defend this charge. You will be found not guilty if the prosecution are unable to prove the elements of the charge.
If you believed you were lawfully entitled to the item, this is a defence. However, if you later realise the item isn’t yours, but you decide to keep it, this will not be a valid defence. The court will ultimately consider whether your belief was reasonable, in deciding whether you are not guilty.
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