Do You Have Misdemeanor or Felony Larceny Charges
If you’ve been accused or arrested for a crime involving allegations of theft or dishonesty, those are serious charges that can carry long-term consequences.
Pleading guilty or being found guilty after a trial, resulting in either a misdemeanor or felony conviction, may end with stiff penalties, especially if you don’t have a perfect criminal record.
Once convicted, unless later expunged (which is not always an option), larceny charges do more than tarnish your name and reputation in the community.
There is a reason people say, “It’s on your permanent record.”
A conviction for larceny can be on your criminal record for life and used against you, for life.
That can severely affect your ability to take care of your family, find a good job, or obtain a professional license.
Many, if not most, people charged with larceny just made a bad decision or choice and are not necessarily bad people.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys will want to investigate the nature and circumstances of the allegations, working to build an effective defense to the charges.
Each charge, like each client, is unique.
Solid legal defenses are predicated on having all the information, preparation, and working through whether the State can make its case.
That’s one reason for the attorney-client privilege.
In order to provide sound legal advice, defense lawyers need all the information about happens. Clients need to know that what they tell your criminal attorney is confidential and will not be revealed.
It’s important to carefully and systematically assess the fact-pattern, reviewing the evidence against you to determine whether the prima facie elements may be proven by the prosecutor.
To be effective, that process deserves open and honest communications between the person facing criminal charges and their lawyer.What are Some of the More Common Types of Larceny Charges in Charlotte?
If you’ve been accused Broadly defined, larceny involves taking something that does not belong to you.
Obviously, if you have permission to take something, that is not a theft or larceny.
There are several different factors that are considered in bringing criminal charges including the type of item that is stolen, the value of stolen goods, and whether the person accused of larceny was in a position of trust or authority.
Misdemeanor Larceny - In North Carolina, misdemeanor larceny involves taking someone else’s personal property without permission or consent. The accused must intent to permanently deprive the victim of ownership. If valued at $1,000 or less, stealing goods or items of value may constitute a misdemeanor larceny charge. The prosecutor bears the Burden of Proof to prove to the satisfaction of the Finder of Fact (whether that be a Judge or Jury) the value of the stolen goods.
Felony Larceny - While related and very similar to misdemeanor larceny charges in NC, Felony Larceny may involve the theft or taking of an item worth more than $1,000. It’s important to understand, the value of the thing taken is not the only consideration for felony larceny charges. For example, if the stolen good is a gun, it doesn’t matter how much it’s worth. That can be felony larceny. That’s true too if a burglary is involved or the stolen goods are explosives.
Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods - You do not necessarily need to take or steal an item to be charged with misdemeanor possession of stolen goods. If you simply possess an item or items, knowing they were stolen, that may be enough to result in criminal charges. The NC criminal laws also impose the duty of reasonableness. If you knew or reasonably should have known the goods were stolen, that too may be prosecuted by the State.
Felony Possession of Stolen Goods - Once again, misdemeanor possession of stolen goods and felony possession of stolen goods are very similar and involve the “valuing test.” If valued more than $1,000 (like felony larceny), possession of those goods can result if a felony criminal indictment. Obviously, the other considerations of whether a gun or explosive is involved may be a determinative factor in prosecution.
If you’re charged with shoplifting or some form of “unlawful concealment,” the overall value of the items taken may be added up and considered in determining whether the State may proceed with felony vs. misdemeanor charges.Penalties for Larceny Charges in North Carolina
Sentencing in North Carolina is notoriously complicated, involving review of the type of charge or charges, the severity of the offense, and your Prior Record Level or “PRL” for past convictions, if any.
In an interesting twist, larceny charges are assumed to be felonies unless otherwise specified by the General Assembly in the NC criminal laws as a misdemeanor.
As such, larceny is a Class H felony until proven otherwise.
Misdemeanor larceny may be considered a “petty misdemeanor,” although North Carolina has specifically set aside distinctions and the terms “grand theft larceny” and “petit larceny.”
N.C.G.S. 14-70 Distinctions between gran and petit larceny abolished.
That’s also where the General Assembly sets forth, “. . .Larceny is a Class H felony. . .”
Larceny in North Carolina is also subject to the NC Rules of Criminal Procedure regarding being an accessory after the fact or as accessories before the fact.What are the Punishments for Larceny Charges?
Class H Felony - Sentencing as a Class H Felony subjects the convicted offender to a maximum period of incarceration in prison for up to 24 months. The Court must consider at the sentencing hearing the existence of Prior Record Level points and enter a Judgment and Commitment consistent with the NC Punishment Chart.
Class 1 Misdemeanor - Misdemeanor larceny is considered a serious criminal offense and subjected the accused to possible exposure of up to 120 days in jail. The only other more serious level of misdemeanor charges in North Carolina are those referred to at “A1 Misdemeanors” and often involve things like Assault on a Female, misdemeanor Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Assault of on Child Under the Age of 12, and the like. The Court may also impose as part of its judgment to any suspended term Supervised Probation, Costs of Court, Community Service, and Fines.
Class 2 and Class 3 Misdemeanor Sentencing - Shoplifting in North Carolina is deemed a Class 3 misdemeanor for sentencing purposes and subject the Defendant up to 20 days in the jail (consistent with Prior Record determination). Multiple convictions of certain misdemeanor larceny charges, including unlawful concealment and shoplifting may result in enhanced punishments by the Court.
If you’ve been accused of a larceny crime in Charlotte, we strongly recommend you retain legal representation without delay.
As defense attorneys, our goal is to mitigate the long-term consequences of a criminal conviction, assuming that’s possible.
One reason criminal lawyers carefully review the evidence is to determine whether the charges against you may be dismissed or reduced from a felony to some other less serious charge.
There may be legal options available, including deferral programs in Charlotte.
Again, each case is different and you should not assume getting your charges dismissed is automatic just because you have a clean record and have never been in trouble before.
Your case and your charges are unique to you. Talk to a lawyer.
We think it’s imperative to begin your defense without delay.
Call us today to schedule your complementary (free) consultation at: 704-342-4357Related Legal Issues and Topics of Interest
- What is Embezzlement?
- What's the Difference Between Embezzlement and False Pretense
- Larceny Charges in Mecklenburg County
- North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-1: Felonies and Misdemeanors Defined
- North Carolina Criminal Law 14-72(b)(4): Felony Larceny of a Firearm
- North Carolina Criminal Law 14-51: Burglary