Charlotte Theft Lawyer

Charlotte Theft Lawyer

Criminal laws are often modified by the North Carolina General Assembly. As a result, theft law can be very complicated. If you find yourself accused of or facing theft charges in the state of North Carolina, you should consider contacting a Charlotte theft lawyer.

When your life, reputation, and future are at stake, it’s wise to get ahead of any potential issue and seek proper counsel. Quality representation is important in helping parse the numerous laws at play with the specifics of your case in mind.

Charlotte Theft Lawyer

What Is the Law for Theft in NC?

Theft, or larceny as it is also referred to in North Carolina, is a broad term under the umbrella category of property crimes that covers a range of specific acts. Under NC law, larceny is considered to be any event where someone’s property, money, or goods were seized with the intention to deprive the person of said property permanently.

These instances usually include carrying a person’s possessions away from the location of ownership and without permission. Theft also encompasses identity theft, unauthorized credit/debit card use, shoplifting (theft from a merchant), fraud, and embezzlement (larceny by an employee).

Relatedly but legally distinct from theft, robbery refers to theft with the additional factor of taking property specifically from or in the presence of the owner through force or intimidation, including bank holdups and carjacking. In contrast, burglary is explicitly the breaking and entering of a building with intent to commit unlawful violations.

In North Carolina, theft crimes can involve an element of threat or alleged use of force, although that’s not needed for it to be considered theft. The unique details of your circumstance will determine which approach your representation will take. Contact a criminal defense lawyer if you are unsure your case is one of theft, robbery, or burglary.

What Stolen Property Applies to Theft?

Illegal acquisitions recognized by the court as larceny include, but are not limited to, the theft of store merchandise, an individual’s belongings or money, which could include cash or cards, gasoline/fuel, aircrafts, vehicles and motor vehicle parts, and firearms/explosive devices.

What Is Considered Petty Theft in North Carolina?

The difference between a crime being viewed as a petty theft and felony theft typically depends on the monetary value of the stolen property in Charlotte, North Carolina. Petty theft, or petit theft, is the stealing of property amounting to less than $1000. This is considered a misdemeanor, an offense less severe than a felony.

Misdemeanor thefts fall under two categories. Class 1 misdemeanors encompass less serious crimes, including certain forms of theft. They can still call for notable penalties, such as fines or up to 120 days of jail time. Class A1 misdemeanors, which are certain forms of fraud, are the most serious type and have the heaviest penalties, namely fines and jail time up to 150 days.

However, some tactics in said theft can be considered “organized” crime, potentially escalating charges and penalties. Conspiring or working with other individuals, switching out price tags/barcodes, taking items multiple times within a certain timeframe, or creating and/or using technology and other techniques to bypass security systems can all be considered tactics implying organized crime.

It should be noted that there are possible collateral repercussions in a “mere” misdemeanor conviction besides the according penalties like losing certain civil rights such as temporary loss to vote or possess firearms, and non-citizens could face deportation or other issues related to immigration. Certain careers that call for background checks might deny your ability to maintain or get certain professional licenses.

How Much Theft Is a Felony in NC?

Felony theft charges in North Carolina can vary, depending on the situation and prior charges of the person facing the charges. Some of these include:

  • Felony larceny, or grand theft, generally is any illegal acquisition of property worth more than $1000. However, there are exceptions to the rule of price requirement, such as:
    • The stealing of and exiting with property worth more than $200 from an establishment that has a posting of legal notice referencing the felony theft offense.
    • The breaking, removing, or disabling of an anti-shoplifting mechanism.
    • Theft of more than $100 worth of baby formula.
  • Embezzlement of less than $100,000 or theft of a firearm or explosive device, no matter the monetary value, is an automatic felony.
  • Embezzlement of $100,000 or more is considered a Class C felony with penalties including a prison sentence ranging from 44 to 231 months.

Possession of stolen goods, even if not actually acquired by you, also applies. Each of the instances mentioned above is a Class H felony and carries a prison sentence ranging from 4 to 39 months. Financial transactions through a stolen debit or credit card, as well as larceny of motor vehicle parts, are Class I felony, with a prison time of up to 24 months.

Possible Sentencings for Felonies in North Carolina

Felony offenses are considered on a case-by-case basis, and thus, the punishments for individual convictions can vary despite the penalizations that are recommended by the established statutes. Penalties for felonies consist of three categories.

Active punishment involves the offender spending the recommended time for the specific offense, as determined by the statute, in jail/prison. Intermediate punishment is when the offender is on supervised probation in combination with one or more of the following options:

A split sentence, partial active jail time followed by supervised probation. Other coinciding sentences include house arrest (electronic monitoring), intensive monitoring on a daily basis, supervised stays overnight in a residential center, and drug treatment courts.

Some sentences are not subject to a split sentence. For example, embezzlement of property valued at $100,000 or more (a Class C felony) has an unavoidable long active prison sentence under criminal law, even if there are no prior violations. Most sentences of this type also legally require some post-release supervision.

The final category is community punishment, which is determined by the judge. It could be any one or more of the following: probation, fines, restitution (compensation for and/or return of stolen goods), community service, and treatment for substance abuse. Other factors to consider when faced with a possible felony are court costs, probation supervision fees, and an addition to your permanent record, with no opportunity to purge or expunge the conviction.

Additional Impacts a Felony Can Have on Your Life

Besides the legal penalties discussed, a felony conviction on your record can have serious, lasting effects on your future and life going forward. Potential setbacks include difficulty renting a house or acquiring a loan, getting accepted into a university/college, and getting adequate child custody. Additionally, you could face difficulty in keeping your job or getting newly hired, as well as in obtaining or keeping a professional license within certain jobs.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Theft in NC?

For a case of theft that is considered a felony, there is no statute of limitations in North Carolina. Due to this, a person can be arrested for the alleged crime several years after it happened. Likewise, an alleged “malicious misdemeanor” can be charged at any time. Proving malice can be hard for the State to do; however, previous convictions or offenses can lead to an automatic assumption of malice in some cases.

A misdemeanor without a hostile component must begin within two years of the incident. If the case ceased due to defective pleading, a new case can begin within a year of the previous one’s stop date.

Common Defenses Used In Larceny Defense

Defendants charged with theft may be able to use some frequently utilized defenses. A corroborated alibi can prove the accused was not present at the scene of the crime during the time of said crime. The lack of intent defense argues the accused individual didn’t intend to violate any laws, such as mistakenly taking property they believed to be their own.

Coercion or duress would be the argument the accused was forced to commit the crime by another party. Entrapment is the defensive claim that the defendant was persuaded or convinced into criminal activity by law enforcement that otherwise they wouldn’t have committed.

How a Theft Lawyer Can Help You in Charlotte, NC

There are many services a criminal defense attorney can provide besides defending and advocating for you and representing you in court. Your lawyer can investigate and gather evidence that may aid in reducing charges or exonerating you completely, as well as remind you of and advise you on your constitutional rights, explaining all charges and possible penalties.

In the event you are found responsible for the crime, your attorney can continue to provide assistance and guidance in the consequences of conviction, including fines, probation, and prison time. They can also potentially help seal or expunge your records in certain cases, aiding you in life post-conviction and improving the ability to get hired and find housing.

Why You Should Consider a Robbery Attorney

A felony charge on your record can, unfortunately, have a massive effect on the rest of your life. You could face difficulty being welcomed into the school or career of your choice, having access to your children, or acquiring a home. If you or a loved one are currently facing larceny charges or the possibility of a future case, get proper assistance through effective representation from The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett. Reach out today to request a consultation.


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