Muskogee Lawyer BlogWhat is Petit Larceny in Oklahoma?

petit larceny in OklahomaLarceny is a criminal taking of personal property that does not belong to you. The crime usually involves some stealth or deceit in the taking. Oklahoma categorizes the crime according to the value of the property taken, with grand larceny being the more serious of the two categorizations of larceny. The other type is petit larceny in Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1703

Larceny Defined

Larceny is the taking of another’s personal property by fraud or stealth with the intent to deprive. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1701

Since the taking is done with either fraud or stealth, the crime is not as serious as robbery, which is grounded in violence or the threat of violence. We can think of larceny as simple theft.

Grand larceny is either a taking of property worth $1,000 or more or the taking of property directly from the person of another regardless of the value of the property taken. All other larceny is petit larceny. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1704

Petit larceny in Oklahoma can be thought of as petty theft. So the value and the manner of taking as dividing lines between these two crimes.

A person convicted of grand larceny may be convicted of a felony in Oklahoma. Petit larceny, or petty theft, is treated as a misdemeanor.

Elements of Petit Larceny in Oklahoma

Petit larceny in Oklahoma has certain legal elements that must be proven in order to obtain a conviction. If any element is left unproven by the prosecution, your case may be dismissed.

Therefore, it is important to understand all the legal elements and to understand that defenses to the crime are grounded in facts and evidence that tends to disprove any element of the crime.

Here are the elements of petit larceny in Oklahoma:

  • taking and
  • carrying away
  • the personal property
  • of another
  • of value
  • by fraud or stealth; and
  • with the intent to permanently deprive.

OUJI-CR 5-94

Possible Defenses

It may seem obvious, but there must be an actual taking and carrying away of someone else’s personal property. Only a slight amount of transportation may be enough to meet the “carrying away” requirement.

Let’s say you pick up a cell phone from a desk, pocket it, and leave the room — that may be enough to meet this element. But if you pick up the cell phone, look at it, and replace it, the “carrying away” element may not be met.

The property taken must belong to someone else. If the property is yours and your friend borrowed it and you are taking it back, there is no theft. That old video game that your friend borrowed and returned is yours, and there is no crime in taking it back.

Likewise, if you intend to borrow it and then merely forget to return it, there is no crime. Thus, your friend who borrowed your old video game and intended to return it is not guilty of petit larceny in Oklahoma. But if your friend took the game intending to keep it, he or she may be guilty of the crime as long as the other elements are met.

Finally, you can be convicted of petit larceny even if the item taken didn’t actually belong to the person from whom you took it. As long as you have disturbed the holder’s right to possession of that property, the element of “belonging to another” will have been met. Thus, if you take the video game from your friend and it actually belongs to a friend of his, you could be convicted as long as the other elements of the crime are met.

Penalties

The penalty for petit larceny is a fine between $10 and $500, up to six months in county jail, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1706

While this may not seem like a lot of jail time, six months of jail is long enough that you could lose your job and your apartment.

So, if you are facing charges for petit larceny in Oklahoma, get the help you need to protect your freedom.

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