The Australian Legal Practice

What a Larceny Charge Means

Home / What a Larceny Charge Means

What is larceny?

Larceny involves the theft of tangible personal property belonging to another without consent. The most common charge of larceny is shoplifting.

What are the elements of larceny?

Larceny consists of six elements, the first three relating to the physical aspects of the offence and the latter three to the mental state of the accused.

The elements are as follows:

  1. The property must belong to someone other than you
  2. You must have taken and carried away the property and
  3. You did not receive the consent of the property’s owner
  4. You intended to permanently deprive the owner
  5. You had no claim of right made in good faith
  6. The property must be taken dishonestly

As per s117 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the maximum penalty for larceny is five years imprisonment.

What are the defences to a charge of larceny?

Under s118 of the Act, an intention to return the property is not a valid defence.

On a case-by-case basis, our criminal lawyers at the Australia Legal Practice may be able to defend a charge of larceny if:

For example,

  • Claim of right – If your actions were out of genuine belief ownership, you may be able to argue a claim of right.
  • Not taken dishonestly – Your actions were based on an honest and reasonable mistake, meaning the property was not taken dishonestly.
  • Self-defence – Your actions were in the protection of yourself or another (including property), resulting in self-defence.
  • Duress – The threats of another party forced you to act in a certain way, equating to duress.
  • Necessity – It can be proved your actions were in necessity to prevent an ensuing greater harm.
Options when charged with larceny

Subject to your circumstances, you may choose either to:

  1. Plead guilty – Admit to committing the offence and breaking the law
  2. Plead not guilty – Deny committing the offence and breaking the law


If you decide to plead not guilty, our experienced criminal lawyers will vehemently protect your rights so that you get the best possible defence. 

The best way to get off a larceny charge is to contact our experienced criminal lawyers. Our solicitors at the Australian Legal Practice have extensive experience and specialise in larceny offences. We provide tailored advice and are armed with the right knowledge to fight your case.

If your matter is urgent, call (02) 8084 9929 today to arrange a free initial consultation.


Make a booking to arrange a free consult today.


    Call A Lawyer NOw

    AVAILABLE 24/7