Being accused of a crime can be a terrifying experience. The outcome can have a profound effect upon your life and that of your family. Theft crimes are among the most common alleged, so it’s important to have a basic understanding of how North Carolina treats them.
Theft and larceny mean the same thing
In its criminal statutes, North Carolina usually refers to illegal acts as larceny rather than theft and it doesn’t provide a precise definition for either. But they both refer to the same thing – taking property or services from someone, without their permission, and with the intent to permanently deprive them of possession. Everything from shoplifting to stealing cars can fall under this umbrella.
For the most part, North Carolina determines the severity of a larceny charge based upon the value of what was taken. If the value was $1,000 or less, it’s most often charged as a misdemeanor. And while a misdemeanor charge may not sound as serious, it can still have substantial consequences. At the very least, it will typically involve probation, hefty fines and immigration consequences (if applicable). But there can also be jail time involved, particularly if someone has a prior conviction.
When the amount of goods or services taken is valued at more than $1,000, North Carolina considers it a felony. However, there are circumstances where a felony will be charged even if the amount is less than $1,000. Some examples include when the property is taken directly from the person, when it is taken during the course of committing burglary or when the property is a firearm.
Regardless of the charge’s severity, it’s critical to contact a professional who is experienced in North Carolina criminal law. Even though you’re accused, you still have rights – including the right to defend yourself. They can help you achieve the best result available in your case.