Most theft crimes in North Carolina are categorized as larceny. Larceny carries the same principles as theft and occurs when someone takes another person’s property without their consent. Depending on the circumstances of the situation and the total amount of the stolen item(s), charges may be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Those convicted of larceny face a variety of penalties and consequences. A variety of criteria determines the severity of the sentence imposed. This includes the type of offense, the value of the stolen goods, and the defendant’s previous criminal history. If you receive theft crime charges in North Carolina, it is critical to speak with a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible, as the consequences may be severe.
What is Misdemeanor Larceny in NC?
A misdemeanor larceny charge, often referred to as a “petty misdemeanor,” occurs when one person takes another’s property without their agreement and with the aim to permanently deprive them of said property when they know it does not belong to them. The property must be worth $1,000 or less to be misdemeanor larceny. If the property’s value is debatable, the jury will have the final say in deciding how much it is worth.
A first conviction for a misdemeanor larceny offense by a person with no prior criminal record usually results in a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for this conviction is up to 120 days in jail and a fine in an amount determined by the judge.
Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods
A misdemeanor possession of stolen goods charge is one that occurs when a person is in possession of stolen property that is worth less than $1,000. This offense is also generally classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Shoplifting and Concealment
Theft charges of shoplifting and concealment are generally misdemeanors. You can receive charges for these crimes even if you haven’t yet left the business or have seemingly forgotten about an item you were taking out of the store. Those accused of shoplifting or concealment may likely face jail time if convicted.
A first-time North Carolina shoplifting offense is classified as a Class 3 misdemeanor. In most cases, the maximum penalty is 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. A second shoplifting crime within three years would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
What is Felony Larceny in NC?
Felony theft offenses have much harsher consequences than those that fall under a misdemeanor. Felony theft offenses typically entail force and/or violence, such as burglary, robbery of a person, armed robbery, or theft of a firearm or explosive device. The act may also be a felony if the value of the property taken is high or exceeds a specific amount, such as auto theft crimes. In North Carolina, felony larceny entails property worth more than $1,000 in value. When there is an accusation of tampering or destruction of anti-shoplifting equipment, a felony charge may also apply.
Felony larceny is generally a Class H felony. This can carry a penalty of anywhere from 4 to 24 months in prison, with a projected term of 5 to 6 months, among other severe penalties.
Felony Possession of Stolen Goods
A charge for felony possession of stolen items requires that a defendant be found with items that are worth more than $1,000 or were otherwise acquired through burglary or robbery of a person. Possession of a stolen firearm or explosive is also felony possession of stolen goods.
What are the Penalties for Theft in North Carolina?
Sentencing in North Carolina can be quite difficult and is determined by a variety of criteria, including your past criminal histories. A judge must also consider the property’s worth to establish the precise charges and subsequent penalties. When several items are stolen at once, the court will take into account the total worth of all stolen property. So, if you steal multiple items valued at less than $1,000 each, but combined are worth more than $1,000, you may receive a felony charge.
Hefty fines, imprisonment, restitution, probation and/or community service, and a permanent criminal record are just a few of the long-term repercussions of a theft conviction. In comparison to lesser alcohol and drug offenses, if you have a larceny or concealment charge on your record, you have fewer alternatives for expungement or record sealing later on. In addition to criminal penalties, this accusation can follow you for the rest of your life, carrying negative social, educational, and employment ramifications.
What Are Some Defenses to Theft?
Receiving charges for a crime is never a fun experience. Neither is appearing in court. Unfortunately, a criminal trial may likely be in the near future for those accused of larceny in North Carolina. However, it is possible to fight against theft allegations in court. Obtaining the best available legal defense is your greatest weapon here. Even if it appears the evidence is stacked against you, the appropriate legal strategy can assist you and your attorney in successfully defending your case and protecting your future.
Examples of Theft Defenses
- Claim of Ownership
- A claim of ownership is perhaps the most prevalent theft defense technique. Essentially, if you can show the court that you had reasonable grounds to believe the property was yours, you may be able to escape a conviction. However, this isn’t always as simple as declaring that you believed the property belonged to you. You’ll need further proof to back up your claim.
- Entrapment occurs when a government official, typically a law enforcement officer, uses sneaky tactics to encourage someone to steal to apprehend and prosecute them. This is illegal, and if your attorney can prove that a police officer or other person of authority entrapped you, they may be able to achieve the dismissal of your charges.
- False Identification
- False identification of a suspect is also a plausible defense. The evidence against you can be significantly weakened if your attorney can prove that you were not present during the alleged event or that this was a case of mistaken identity.
- Defendants who were inebriated at the time of the theft may be able to utilize this fact to their advantage, depending on the case. This is because the offender must have willfully intended to take the property in question to receive a conviction. It may be feasible to persuade the court that you did not plan to steal while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and only did so because of the severe impairment of you decision-making ability.
- Lack of Evidence
- If the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to make a strong case against you, your attorney will double-check the prosecutor’s evidence and counter anything that doesn’t add up.
Do You Need a Jacksonville Theft Attorney? Call The Wilkie Law Group Today
Have you received charges for the crime of larceny in North Carolina? Having an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney on your side can help in the reduction or dismissal of your charges. At The Wilkie Law Group, we do everything in our power to give you the best chance at protecting your future and your rights. From felony theft charges to misdemeanors and simple shoplifting offenses to identity theft charges in North Carolina, The Wilkie Law Group handles it all. Call Jacksonville theft attorney Aden Wilkie today at 910-333-9626 to request a consultation to learn more about how he can assist you in defending against your theft charges or convictions.