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petty larceny

n. a term used in many states for theft of a small amount of money or objects of little value (such as less than $500). It is distinguished from grand larceny, which is theft of property of greater worth and a felony punishable by a term in state prison. Petty larceny is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a term in the county jail. States which only use the term "larceny" often treat theft of smaller amounts as a misdemeanor in charging and sentencing.


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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications