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C.G.S. § 53a-125a - Larceny in the Fifth Degree

C.G.S. § 53a-125a Larceny in the Fifth Degree - General Description

Guy Shoplifting.jpgLarceny in the fifth degree can be charged in any larceny case in which the value of the property or service exceeds $500 but is less than $1,000. Most larceny in the fifth-degree cases are for shoplifting, but according to C.G.S. § 53a-119 larceny includes multiple forms of taking property or services of another. Under Connecticut law, the degree of larceny varies depending on the value of the property or services taken. It ranges from larceny in the sixth degree for thefts under $500 up to larceny in the first degree for thefts exceeding $20,000. In the case of a shoplifting allegation, you would be charged with larceny in the fifth degree when the value of the goods that you were alleged to have shoplifted had a retail value of between $500 to $1,000.

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

A. Shoplifting Cases

To be convicted of larceny in the fifth degree for shoplifting under General Statutes § 53a-125a, the prosecutor has the burden to establish the following elements of the crime:

With the intent to take the property of another, the defendant committed one of the following acts:

  1. Purposely taking merchandise or goods from any consumer merchant or store without paying for the merchandise or goods.
  2. Intentionally concealing merchandise or goods which you did not pay for when you are either inside or have left the store.
  3. Purposely changing or altering a price tag on merchandise or goods.
  4. Purposely not scanning products at a self-checkout lane and trying to leave the store without paying for the goods.

The retail value of the merchandise or goods determines the degree of larceny you are charged with. For larceny in the fifth degree Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-125a, the amount of the items alleged to have been stolen has to be between $500 and $1,000.

B. Other Forms of Larceny

The defendant acted intentionally to

  1. Deprive another of property or services; or
  2. Appropriate property of services to himself or a third person;

    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
  3. The value of the property or services is more than $500 but less than $1,000.

A woman enters a clothing store and selects several shirts and a sweater. The total retail value of the items was $649. The woman takes the items to a changing room, and them puts them on underneath her coat. Loss prevention is watching her activities on video surveillance equipment and notices that the woman entered the changing room with the clothing items but did not exit with the items. The woman does not leave the store but is detained by loss prevention officers as she is passing points of sale heading towards an exit. Pursuant to C.G.S. § 53a-119(9) intentionally concealing unpaid goods or merchandise is a prima facie presumption that the goods were converted with the intention to take them without paying. The woman could be convicted of larceny in the fifth degree in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-125a because the value of the property she concealed was between $500 and $1,000.

A man finds a check on the sidewalk payable to someone in the amount of $750. The man forges the name of the payee and then makes the check payable to himself and deposits it into his account. The man could be convicted of larceny in the fifth degree in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-125a because the value of the amount of funds he misappropriated was between $500 and $1,000. Also, the man could be charged with forgery in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-139.

Related Offenses Defenses to Larceny

If you are a first-time offender charged with larceny in the fifth degree in some circumstances, an experienced Connecticut criminal lawyer could arrange to resolve your charges through the performance of community service hours or a charitable contribution in exchange for the state dropping the charges. This is always the preferred resolution of larceny allegations.

Since larceny requires proof of an intentional act, therefore someone who makes an oversight or error could not be convicted of larceny. The sincere and reasonable belief of the accused that the property in question belongs to them similarly would negate the intent required for a larceny conviction.

Many offenders who are accused of larceny in the fifth degree may be eligible for diversionary programs such as the accelerated rehabilitation program, which can lead to a dismissal of the charges. Diversionary programs are often a reasonable solution for many offenders to resolve their criminal cases without having to make any admission of guilt.


Larceny in the fifth degree is a class B misdemeanor which could expose you to up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. Anyone with two or more prior larceny convictions could be subject to a possible sentencing enhancement as a persistent larceny offender which is a Class D felony.

Larceny Defense Lawyer Allan F. Friedman

If you are a loved one who has been charged with larceny in the fifth degree, you would speak with an experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney. Please contact Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule your free initial consultation and case action plan! We are available 24/7 - 365 days a year. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.

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