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Court Looks at Intent to Commit Petit Larceny


A man went to a house in a residential neighborhood. It was eleven thirty in the evening and all the three residents of the house were fast asleep. The man went up the roof and was preparing to enter the house through a bedroom with an open screened window.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said tne resident of the house was fast asleep in the bedroom as the man was trying to enter through the screen window. The noise made by the man outside the window woke the resident of the house. He had a .25 caliber hand gun in a drawer in his bedside table. He cried aloud and said “Who’s there?” When the man crouched down in an attempt to hide, the occupant fired a warning shot.

Another occupant called an emergency hotline and the man was unable to get down from the roof until the police got there. The man was charged with attempted breaking entering with intent to commit grand larceny. It was alleged that the three occupants in the house had cell phones, laptop computers and other valuables inside the house which could have been what the prowler intended to take.

The man pleaded not guilty and he moved for a trial without a jury. His request was granted and evidence was presented against him. The occupant who fired the warning shot testified against him. The criminal trial court found the man guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a lesser included offense of attempted breaking and entering with intent to commit petit larceny.

The man appealed from the judgment of conviction. An NYC Criminal Lawyer said he claims that his conviction for attempted breaking and entering with intent to commit petit larceny is not supported by the evidence presented by the prosecution. He claims that no proof was presented of the specific intent that he intended to commit petit larceny.

The only question before the Court is whether or not the specific intent to commit petit larceny was proved.

The Court held that the intent to commit petit larceny can be inferred from the circumstance of each case. Here, the circumstances which convinced the trial court judge that the man intended to commit petit larceny was duly proved. The man went to the house in the dead of night. He used the cover of darkness to try to gain entrance to the house. He chose a vulnerable spot in the house, a second floor window that was opened and was protected only by a screen. The second floor window was accessible only by climbing up from the side of the house. The man then crouched down and tried to open the window. The question that comes to mind is, why would anyone go through all that trouble if he did not intend to commit larceny? The man had no business being atop a roof trying to gain entry into a house through an open window if he did not have the specific intent to commit the crime of petit larceny.

There was also proof that the three occupants of the house had valuables in the house. They had household appliances, jewelry and gadgets which would have been easy to take and asport. In this case, the trial judge who heard the evidence had the sole discretion to determine if specific intent can be inferred from the circumstances proved by the prosecution.

The Court held that the trial court did not err in inferring specific intent to commit larceny.

Have you been charged with attempted breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny? You need the advice of a Florida Criminal Lawyer who can explain to you the nature of the charge against you. A Florida Criminal attorney can help you gather evidence to prove that you had not commit larceny. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their Florida Criminal lawyers are willing to represent you, whether you have been charged with drug possession, sex crimes or theft.

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