New Mexico Misdemeanor and Felony Larceny Laws

Defining Theft Under New Mexico Law

New Mexico criminal statutes use the term “larceny” to encompass theft crimes. Larceny is defined as “the stealing of anything of value that belongs to another.” (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-16-1(A).)

So, the crime of larceny can involve the taking of any kind of property, services, money, and intangible items that have value. New Mexico laws also recognize a number of specific theft-related offenses, including:

  • receiving stolen property ( § 30-16-11.)
  • falsely obtaining services or accommodations ( § 30-16-16.)
  • shoplifting ( § 30-16-20.)
  • identity theft ( § 30-16-24.1.)
  • theft of a credit card ( § 30-16-26.), and
  • fraudulent acts to obtain or retain possession of a rented or leased vehicle, or other personal property ( § 30-16-39.).

Classification of Theft and Penalties in New Mexico

Like most states, New Mexico classifies larceny offenses largely according to the value of the property stolen. In some cases, such as with respect to firearms and livestock, the classification of the theft depends upon the type of the property stolen. Now, let’s take a closer look at the specific classifications and penalties for larceny.

Misdemeanor Petty Larceny

When the value of the property stolen is $250 or less, larceny is considered a petty misdemeanor in New Mexico. (N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-16-1(B).) A petty misdemeanor is punishable by no more than six months of incarceration in county jail or a fine not to exceed $500, or both. ( § 31-19-1.)

Misdemeanor Larceny

When the value of the property stolen is more than $250 but not more than $500, larceny constitutes a misdemeanor in New Mexico. ( § 30-16-1(C).) A misdemeanor is punishable by a term of incarceration of one year or less in the county jail, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. ( § 31-19-1.)

Fourth Degree Felony Larceny

When the value of the property stolen is more than $500, but not more than $2,500, or if the stolen property is a firearm valued at less than $2,500, larceny is a fourth degree felony in New Mexico. ( § 30-16-1(D), (H).) A fourth degree felony is punishable by 18 months of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. ( § 31-18-15.)

Third Degree Felony

Larceny

When the value of the property stolen is more than $2,500, but not more than $20,000, or if the property stolen is livestock of any value, the crime of larceny constitutes a third degree felony in New Mexico. ( § 30-16-1(E).) A third degree felony is punishable by three years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. ( § 31-18-15.)

Second Degree Felony

Larceny

When the value of the property stolen is more than $20,000, the offender is guilty of a second degree felony. ( § 30-16-1(F).) A second degree felony is punishable by nine years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. ( § 31-18-15.)

Civil Penalties for Theft in New Mexico

In addition to criminal penalties, any adult who has been convicted of shoplifting in New Mexico may be civilly liable to the merchant or store owner for the following damages:

  • the retail value of the merchandise (unless the merchandise is returned undamaged)
  • punitive damages of at least $100, but not more than $250
  • reimbursement of the store owner’s costs in bringing the lawsuit, and
  • reimbursement of the store owner’s reasonable attorney's fees. ( § 30-16-21.)

If the merchandise is returned to the merchant or store owner in an undamaged condition, so that the item could potentially be resold, then the merchant or store owner cannot recoup the retail value of the merchandise from the offender.

Effects of Prior Convictions on Current Theft Charge

New Mexico larceny statutes do not specifically address the effects of prior convictions on a current larceny charge, but New Mexico "habitual offender" laws will likely impose a harsher sentence on persons convicted of a felony larceny offense if their criminal records include one or more felony convictions in the last 10 years.

Typically, New Mexico adds one year to a sentence for a felony larceny offense if the offender has one other prior felony conviction. Likewise, New Mexico law adds four years to an offender’s sentence if the offender has two prior felony convictions, and eight years to an offender’s sentence if the offender has three or more prior felony convictions over the past 10 years. ( § 31-18-17.)

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