Under the NC criminal laws, larceny falls under the broad category of “offenses against property.” While covering a range of both felony and misdemeanor charges, pursuant to N.C.G.S. 14-72 larceny is:
- Taking (theft)
- Property (personal property)
- Possessed by another (possession of another)
- Carrying away the personal property
- Without consent or permission
- Intent to permanently deprive possession
- Knowing (or reasonably should have known) the Defendant is not entitled to keep the possession
The distinctions between grand larceny vs. petit larceny in North Carolina have been abolished by statute. That means the General Assembly specifically removed any legal distinction between “petit and grand larceny” as criminal offenses.
As a catchall, larceny in NC is categorized as a felony offense (N.C.G.S. 14-70), unless otherwise distinguished by statute, and is deemed a Class H felony, which is quite serious.
Under the NC sentencing guidelines, the maximum punishment for a Class H felony is 39 months in the custody of the Division of Adult Corrections, which is part of the Department of Public Safety.
If the value of stolen property exceeds $1,000, it is a Class H felony. Possession of stolen goods charges, as well as receiving stolen goods in North Carolina, are also deemed to be Class H felonies if the value exceeds $1,000.
If the value of the stolen items is $1,000 or less, larceny is a misdemeanor in North Carolina, subject to sentencing as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The under the NC sentencing guidelines, the maximum punishment for a Class 1 misdemeanor is 120 days Active Punishment. Misdemeanor sentencing punishment grids may be found here.
Judges are given a tremendous amount of discretion in misdemeanor sentencing, as even Category III offenders (defendants with 5 or more prior convictions) may be punished in any of the C/I/A ranges:
- C – Community Punishment (Suspended, Probationary Judgment)
- I – Intermediate Punishment (Probation + Other Terms)
- A – Active Punishment (Jail Sentence)
There are certain larceny charges that are deemed felony offenses, even if the value of the personal property is $1,000 or less, including:
- Larceny from the Person (Common Law Robbery)
- Robbery with Dangerous Weapons - “Armed Robbery”
- Larceny of TNT, Explosive or Incendiary Device
- Firearms – Larceny of Firearm
- Larceny involving burglary and house breaking
- Breaking Out of Dwelling House
- Breaking and Entering of Buildings
- Intent to Commit Felony therein OR
- Intent to Commit Larceny
- Breaking or Entering Church (Place of Worship)
Crimes of theft, whether felony or misdemeanor charges, carry the potential for long-term consequences. There is a stigma associated with crimes of dishonestly and stealing.
And while there is a presumption of innocence in criminal court, public opinion and its court does not provide such burden of proof or protections. Even an arrest for larceny can make it difficult to find employment.
Publications like “busted” in Wake County regularly publish mugshots and other embarrassing information about arrests and criminal charges in Raleigh.
It’s one reason why it’s important to retain legal representation and, if possible, look for ways to get the charges dismissed. Our defense lawyers in Raleigh at the Fanney Law Office PLLC want to make sure you understand the charges against you.
“We’ll have a lot of questions for you about your larceny charges. We need to know what happened and why you were arrested.” - John Fanney, Defense Attorney
Criminal charges, like the people accused of them, are all different. That’s why it makes sense to start preparing a defense strategy without delay. What you tell your defense lawyer is kept in the strictest of confidence.
When you talk to a lawyer, if only for legal consultation, there is something called the attorney-client privilege that protects all such legal communications. That true even if you don’t end up retaining our Raleigh Criminal Defense law firm for formal representation.
Defenses to larceny charges include:
- Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
- Lack of Probable Cause to Arrest
- Illegal Search and Seizure
- Arrest without a Valid Warrant
- Search without a Valid Search Warrant
Call now for a confidential, free consultation or email John Fanney at: John@FanneyLaw.com John Fanney is a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist in both Federal Criminal Defense and State Criminal Defense in NC.