petty larceny

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Petty larceny or petty theft is a term used to describe thefts where the value of the property taken is low. States often set a specific dollar amount as a ceiling for petty larceny charges. For example, in Oklahoma, petty larceny is a theft where the value of property taken is $1,000 or less. Petty larceny is generally a misdemeanor and is punishable by fines or relatively short jail sentence (for example, less than one year).  

In contrast, grand larceny refers to thefts where the value of the property taken is high. States generally set a specific dollar amount as a floor for grand larceny charges. The punishments for grand larceny are more severe than petty larceny and may include larger fines and longer sentences in state prison.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]