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C.G.S. § 53a-122 - Larceny in the First Degree

 Connecticut Larceny in the First-Degree Defense Attorney General Description

Man in cuffsGeneral Statutes § 53a-122 is the Connecticut statute that defines larceny in the first degree. A person commits this crime by unlawfully taking someone's property or motor vehicle valued at $20,000 or more. If the property that was taken is valued at less than $20,000, a lower degree of larceny will apply. Other ways of committing the crime of larceny in the first degree include when more than $200 is obtained by defrauding a public community or in cases where property of any value is obtained by extortion. Larceny comprises many varieties of theft. Connecticut has many degrees of larceny, and larceny in the first-degree is the highest-level theft offense.

Elements of the Offense Which Must be Proven by The Prosecution:

To be convicted of larceny in the first degree under General Statutes § 53a-122, the prosecutor has the burden to establish the following elements of the crime:

The defendant acted intentionally to

Situation 1 - Theft of over $20,000 of property or motor vehicle
  1. The defendant acted intentionally to deprive another of property or services; or
  2. with intent to appropriate property or services or another to himself or a third person;
  3. The accused wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property from the rightful owner.

According to Connecticut law, the statute lists some prescribed forms of larceny but larceny as a crime is not limited to these methods:

  • Embezzlement
  • False pretense
  • False promise
  • Acquiring lost property
  • Theft of Services
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Shoplifting
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Fraudulent use of an ATM
  • Library Theft
  • Conversion of leased property
  • Failure to pay prevailing wages
  • Theft of utility services
  • Theft of motor fuel

Situation 2 - The defendant acted intentionally to extort the victim of any property or service of any value

Situation 3 - The defendant intentionally defrauded a public community of property valued at more than $200


A woman is working as a trusted personal assistant for a hedge fund executive. The woman utilizes the company credit card, to make numerous personal charges totaling $146,450. A subsequent audit discovers her misuse of the company credit card. The woman could be convicted of larceny in the first degree in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-122 because the value of the property she misappropriated by embezzlement was over $20,000. The woman could also be arrested for credit card theft in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-128c.

A man is laid off from his regular job and applies for unemployment benefits through the State of Connecticut. The man files a claim every week that certifies he is not working and seeking employment in order to continue to receive benefits. While collecting state unemployment benefits for six months totaling $12,765 the man was working "under the table" at another job. An investigation by state police investigators discovered that the man was working the entire time he was collecting unemployment. The man could be convicted for larceny in the first degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-122 because he defrauded a public community for an amount exceeding $250. The man could also be charged with unemployment compensation fraud in violation of C.G.S. § 31-273.

Related Offenses Defenses to Larceny Lack of Intent

Larceny offenses require that the state prove the accused acted intentionally. The state bears the burden to prove this element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defense can establish that the accused did not act intentionally but instead made a simple mistake or accident, then there can be no conviction. Oversight or errors are not punishable as larceny.

Claim of Right

If the accused was acting under the honest and reasonable belief that the property belonged to him, then the accused can't be convicted of larceny even if the accused was not correct in their opinion. The reason why the claim of right works as a defense in larceny cases is because it negates the element of intent required.


Larceny in the first degree is a Class B Felony and is punishable by up to twenty years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.

Larceny Defense Lawyer Allan F. Friedman

Everyone is presumed innocent and is entitled to the best possible defense. Please contact Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule a free initial consultation or video conference to review the details of your case. We are available 24/7 - 365 days a year. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.

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