Larceny offences in NSW

This article will outline how police lay charges for larceny offences, the potential penalties, and the court process in NSW

In New South Wales (NSW), larceny is a common offence that involves the unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else’s property to permanently deprive the owner of it.

Laying of Charges for Larceny offences

Reporting the Offence

The process usually begins with the victim, a witness, or a police officer reporting the offence.


 The police will conduct an investigation, collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and obtaining statements.

Charging the Offender

If the police believe there is enough evidence, they will charge the offender with larceny. The offender will then be issued with a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) and will be required to appear in court.

Court Process for Larceny offences

First Appearance

The accused will first appear before a Local Court where the charges will be read out, and the accused will be asked to enter a plea. If the accused pleads not guilty, the matter will be set down for hearing. If the accused pleads guilty, the court will proceed to sentencing.


During the hearing, the prosecution and the defence will present their cases. The magistrate will then decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.


If the accused is found guilty, the court will impose a sentence. The sentence will depend on the nature and seriousness of the offence, the offender’s criminal history, whether the offender has shown remorse and other relevant factors.

Penalties for Larceny offences

The maximum penalty for larceny is 5 years imprisonment, or 2 years if dealt with in the Local Court. However, the actual penalty imposed will depend on the circumstances of the case. Other potential penalties include fines, community correction orders, and good behaviour bonds.

Factors Influencing Penalties

Several factors can influence the penalty imposed for a larceny offence, including:

Value of the Property Stolen

The value of the property stolen is an important consideration. The court may impose a heavier penalty for stealing high-value items.

Criminal History

A person with a history of similar offences may receive a more severe penalty than a first-time offender.


Showing genuine remorse for the offence can lead to a more lenient penalty.

Circumstances of the Offence

 The court will consider the circumstances in which the offence was committed. For example, stealing from a vulnerable person may result in a more severe penalty.


Larceny offences in NSW are treated seriously and can result in significant penalties. The process involves the laying of charges by the police, followed by a court appearance, and, if found guilty, sentencing by the court. Several factors can influence the penalty imposed, including the value of the property stolen, the offender’s criminal history, and the circumstances of the offence. It is always recommended to seek legal advice and support when dealing with criminal matters.