Theft Under Connecticut Law Defined
Connecticut law defines theft (called larceny in Connecticut, as occurring when a person wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds someone else's property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property, or to appropriate it to a third person. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 53a-119.)
Connecticut criminal law statutes give several examples of actions that fall within the definition of larcency. These include:
- taking property by false pretenses or false promise
- taking property that has been lost or delivered by mistake
- theft of services (§53a-120)
- receiving stolen property (§53a-126)
- shoplifting (§53-119a)
- conversion of a motor vehicle
- taking property through fraudulent use of an ATM
- theft of utility service, and
- theft of motor fuel.
Classification and Punishment of Theft Under Connecticut Law
Theft will be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony under Connecticut law, depending on the dollar value of the property involved in the theft. Let’s look at each level of theft under Connecticut law in detail.
Larceny in the Sixth Degree. If the value of property or services involved in the theft is $500 or less, the offense constitutes larceny in the sixth degree, which is a class C misdemeanor in Connecticut. Larceny in the sixth degree is the lowest level of theft or larceny under Connecticut law, and is often known as "petty theft" or "petty larceny." The punishment for a class C misdemeanor is a term of imprisonment of no more than three months, and a fine of no more than $500. (Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 53a-125b.)
Larceny in the Fifth Degree. Theft of property valued at between $500 and $1,000 qualifies as larceny in the fifth degree, which is a class B misdemeanor in Connecticut. Larceny in the fifth degree carries a term of imprisonment of no more than six months, and a fine of no more than $1,000. (§ 53a-125a.)
Larceny in the Fourth Degree. When the value of property or services stolen is between $1,000 and $2000, theft is deemed larceny in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor under Connecticut law. Punishment for a class A misdemeanor is a term of incarceration of no more than one year, and a fine of no more than $2,000. (§ 53a-125.)
Larceny in the Third Degree. A charge of larceny in the third degree, a class D felony in Connecticut, will result when an offense involves theft of 1) property worth less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000, or 2) a motor vehicle valued at less than $10,000, or 3) a public record or instrument. Larceny in the third degree carries a sentence of imprisonment of from one year to five years, and a fine not to exceed $5,000. (§ 53a-124.)
Larceny in the Second Degree. In order to qualify larceny in the second degree, a class C felony in Connecticut, a theft must involve:
- a motor vehicle or any other type of property valued at over $10,000
- property taken from the person of another
- property valued at over $2,000 and obtained by defrauding a public community
- property obtained through embezzlement, false pretenses, or false promise, where the victim is over the age of sixty or physically disabled
- wire, cable, or other equipment used in the telecommunications service, and the taking of such property disrupts emergency telecommunications service.
A class C felony carries a sentence of imprisonment of from one year to 10 years, and a fine not to exceed $10,000. (§ 53a-123.)
Larceny in the First Degree. A theft involving property or services valued at more than $20,000 constitutes larceny in the first degree in Connecticut, a class B felony. Punishment for a class B felony includes a term of imprisonment of from one year up to 20 years, and a fine of not more than $15,000. (§ 53a-122.)
Shoplifting Offenses in Connecticut
A shoplifting offense committed in Connecticut will likely fall under the general theft classification and punishment system discussed in this article. But there are additional considerations to keep in mind when it comes to shoplifting, including the potential for shoplifters to be held civilly liable to store owners. To learn more, see Shoplifting Charges in Connecticut.