Tahlequah Attorney BlogHow Serious Is Petit Larceny In Oklahoma?

petit larceny in OklahomaPetit larceny is not a term that most of us know unless we have been knocking around the legal community. Basically, petit larceny in Oklahoma is a small theft. Petit is the word for “small” in French and larceny is a theft involving deceit or stealth. Here is what you need to know about the crime and how it is handled in Tahlequah if you are facing charges.

Larceny Defined

In Oklahoma, larceny is defined as the taking of another’s personal property by fraud or stealth, with the intent to deprive. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1701

The crime is based in stealth or deceit, meaning the taking is either done in a stealthy manner or it occurs as a kind of fraud or deceit.

In order to understand petit larceny in Oklahoma, it is helpful to understand what grand larceny is.

Grand larceny is either a taking of property worth $1,000 or more, or the taking of property directly from the person of another regardless of the value of the property taken. All other larceny is petit larceny. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1704

You can think of petit larceny as a theft of property worth under $1,000 from anywhere other than directly from a person’s body. That means that a pickpocket taking a wallet or cell phone may be convicted of grand larceny by virtue of taking the phone from the person of another. But taking a cell phone that is worth less than $1,000 from any other location makes the crime petit larceny.

Sometimes petit larceny is called larceny of merchandise from a retailer Oklahoma; this is basically shoplifting.


In order to secure a conviction, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Many defenses are based upon facts or evidence that tends to disprove one or more elements of a crime. Here are the elements of petit larceny:

  • taking and
  • carrying away
  • the personal property
  • of another
  • of value
  • by fraud or stealth,
  • with the intent to permanently deprive.

OUJI-CR 5-94

There must be a taking. If a person picks up an object and thinks about taking it, but puts it back, there is no taking.

There must also be a “carrying away.” What constitutes a “carrying away” for this state has been settled in cases. Even a slight amount of transportation is all that is needed to meet this element.

Let’s say you pick up a cell phone from a desk, pocket it, and leave the room — that may be enough to meet this element. Again, picking an item up and then putting it back down does not meet the “carrying away” requirement.

The property must belong to another person. If the property actually belongs to you, but you are taking it back from a friend, there is no larceny.

Also, there must be an intent to permanently deprive. Borrowing an item with the intent to return it later precludes a finding of an intent to permanently deprive.

Finally, the taking must be done by either fraud or stealth. If the taking was open and obvious, there is a strong argument that the owner impliedly consented to the taking if the owner saw you take something and said nothing against it.

Finding Lost Property: A Special Type of Larceny

Finding lost property presents certain unique problems. In Oklahoma, you must try to return lost property if there is sufficient means or knowledge to try to do so. If you keep property that could reasonably be returned, you can be convicted of larceny. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1702

Penalties For Petit Larceny In Oklahoma

The penalty for petit larceny is a fine between $10 and $500, up to six months in jail, or botht. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1706

While six months in jail may not seem like a long time, it can mean losing your job and your home.

Thus, hiring a Tahlequah attorney can really help protect your rights and freedom. Get help today.

Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Lawyer

Please contact a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer to discuss your available legal options if you’ve been charged with petit larceny in Oklahoma.

For a free consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll free at 1-888-447-7262.

Or, if you prefer e-mail, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page and we’ll contact you by e-mail as soon as possible.

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