What factors impact theft charges in North Carolina?

There are many crimes where state-specific laws can make a significant difference in potential charges and consequences. Theft is one type of crime where the situation an accused person may face can vary quite a bit between states. In North Carolina, theft is prosecuted more often than in some other states, and there are certain measures in place to allow for escalated charges and penalties in certain cases.

Theft under $1,000 is considered a misdemeanor in North Carolina. However, even at this level, charges can be escalated if the crime includes signs of organized crime. Authorities may consider any of the following tactics of organized crime:

  • Working or conspiring with others;
  • Stealing items multiple times over a specific timeframe;
  • Switching out price tags or bar codes;
  • Developing technology or other methods to move through security systems.

While someone may not personally consider themselves involved in organized crime, the law may look at any planning or conspiring related to the alleged theft as “organized.” This is one of the many challenges individuals may face if they are accused of theft or property crime in North Carolina.  In the future, additional laws may also be passed to prevent and help prosecute theft-related crimes. For example, a bill recently co-sponsored by a state Senator, the INFORM Act, aims to require platforms to verify larger-scale third-party sellers to prevent reselling of stolen goods.

The complexity of laws related to theft, in particular the escalation that can come from “organization,” can make being charged with such a crime challenging to navigate. There may be many aspects to the charges and defense options to consider. As such, it is a good idea to work with an experienced North Carolina theft attorney if accused of such a crime.

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