A theft conviction puts more than a blemish on your criminal record. Potential colleges or employers might not see it as a one-time mistake or a brief lack of judgment. Despite paying your debt to society through fines, incarceration, and other punishments, future employers and others may see this as a mark of a bad character and dishonesty. One conviction can significantly impact your life and create numerous hurdles for you to jump to gain an education and build a career.
At Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have seen firsthand the significant consequences of a larceny conviction, which is why our larceny defense attorneys use their knowledge gained through years of experience to thoroughly investigate and analyze our clients’ cases. We build strong, comprehensive, and aggressive defenses that refute a prosecutor’s potential arguments.
We are committed to listening to our clients and guiding them through this difficult time with compassion and honesty. To discuss how we may be able to help you defense against theft charges, call Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys at (980) 237-4579 or submit your details through our online form to schedule a free initial consultation.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
The quick answer is yes, you should have a lawyer to defend you against larceny charges in Mecklenburg County, even if it’s a misdemeanor. Many people who are accused of stealing think they can handle the situation on their own. When you’re innocent, you think that should become clear to the police and prosecution if you’re given a chance to explain. But in all of our years practicing law in North Carolina, a defendant has rarely, if ever, cleared up a misunderstanding on their own.
If the police and prosecution are convinced that you’re guilty, they will push forward with charges. Nothing you say or do without an attorney will help. The best way to handle the charges, whether you face a misdemeanor or felony, is to immediately invoke your right to remain silent and call an experience Charlotte defense attorney.
Why You Should Hire a Defense Attorney?
There are many reasons you’ll benefit from hiring a lawyer. A criminal defense attorney in Charlotte knows North Carolina law and the criminal court rules. We can explain the charges against you, what the prosecutor has to prove, and the penalties you face if convicted. We make sure you understand all of your options at every stage of the process so you can make the best decisions for you and your family, whether that’s considering a plea deal or pursuing an acquittal at trial.
We dig into your case by talking with you about what happened to led to your arrest, reviewing the evidence, speaking with any witnesses you may have, and in some cases, pursuing an independent investigation. We believe in leaving no stone unturned when it comes to our client’s cases. A small detail can lead to big results. Once we have all of the facts, we can develop a strategy to pursue a dismissal, reduced charges, a favorable plea bargain, or an acquittal.
Why You Should Hire Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys
Each of our partners has years of experience. Samuel Randall is a Board Certified Specialist in both State and Federal Criminal Law by the North Carolina State Bar—one of only 53 Specialists in the state. Ryan Stump worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Our associate attorney, Anthony DelNero also is a former prosecutor in the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office. Both offer unique insight into how the state or federal government’s approach misdemeanor and felony cases, which helps them know what to expect from a prosecutor.
You don’t have to rely on our professional backgrounds, though. You can also take a look at our case results, as our track record of success speaks for itself. We routinely win favorable outcomes for our clients in criminal matters, and that is our goal in every case we take at our firm.
Larceny in Charlotte, NC
If you are accused of stealing property, you may be charged with larceny under NCGS §14-72, which covers both misdemeanor larceny and felony larceny in North Carolina. The degree of the charge you face depends on the value of the property stolen. If the property or goods you are accused of stealing or receiving, knowing them to be stolen, are worth less than $1,000, then you will be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If the property was valued at more than $1,000, it is typically a Class H felony.
If this isn’t your first time facing larceny charges, then the consequences are more severe. Habitual misdemeanor larceny in N.C. becomes a felony. Under NCGS §14-72(b)(6), you can be charged with a felony if you have four previous convictions for misdemeanor theft.
Elements of a Larceny Charge
If you are facing larceny charges, you need to speak with a Charlotte criminal lawyer right away. It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove each element of larceny beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You took property;
- Carried the property away;
- Without the property owner’s consent;
- With the intent to deprive the owner of their property; and
- Knowing the property was not yours.
What About Petty Larceny and Grand Larceny?
You have likely heard of petty theft and grand theft. If you have been accused of stealing, you may expect your charges to be defined as petty larceny or grand larceny. However, under NCGS §14-70, North Carolina abolished the distinction between petit and grand larceny. You may still hear others refer to the crimes this way, but a prosecutor will not.
Other Larceny Offenses
In addition to your run of the mill larceny charge, North Carolina also has other specific theft crimes, some of which are discussed below. Some of the other theft offenses outlined under North Carolina law depend on your position of employment, or your specific actions during the commission of the offense, rather than the value of the goods taken..
Larceny by an Employee
Under NCGS §14-74, if you conceal property while in your workplace and take it away, then you will be charged with a felony. This may include putting property inside a locker or your jacket pocket, and then failing to pay for the item. It could mean taking money, inventory, or supplies with the intent to steal and defraud your employer. If the money, goods, or other property are worth more than $100,000, this is a Class C felony. If the property is worth less than $100,000, it is a Class H felony.
Possessing or Receiving Stolen Goods
If you are accused of receiving or keeping stolen goods, you may face a felony under NCGS §14-71 Receiving stolen goods; NCGS §14.71.1 Possessing stolen goods; or NCGS §14-72 Larceny. If you receive stolen goods from someone, and you either know or have reasonable grounds to believe they are stolen, then you can be charged with a Class H felony. If you possess stolen goods, you also face a Class H felony. The bottom line is if you have stolen goods, even if you didn’t commit the theft, you can be treated harshly under the law.
Embezzlement is a particular type of theft that occurs by someone trusted with another person or business’s money or property taking that property for themselves. Under NCGS §14-90, embezzlement of property received by virtue of office or employment is a Class H or Class C felony. This law applies to anyone who exercises public trust or holds public office, is a fiduciary to another, or is an officer or agent of a corporation. They can be charged with embezzlement if they fraudulently convert money or property to their own use or take away money or property with the intent to defraud the owner.
Shoplifting in Charlotte, NC
Shoplifting is formally known as concealment of merchandise in mercantile establishments under NCGS §14-72.1. If you are accused of intentionally concealing merchandise or goods in a store, without purchasing those goods, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Shoplifting is the charge you receive before you exit the store. If you conceal property and exit the store, then the charge becomes larceny. You can also be charged with a misdemeanor crime if you intentionally transfer price tags from one item to another to pay a lower price.
A first-time shoplifting offense is usually a Class 3 misdemeanor. The only way to avoid incarceration is to obtain a suspended sentence and serve community service. A second shoplifting offense within three years of your first conviction is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Your sentence may be suspended if you complete 72 hours in jail or 72 hours of community service, or both. A third or subsequent shoplifting offense within five years is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Your sentence may be suspended on special condition of probation, but you must serve at least 11 days in jail.
The charges could quickly become more serious, though. Shoplifting may become a felony if you use a lead or aluminum lined bag that prevents activation of an anti-shoplifting device. If you tamper with security tags, then you may be charged with a Class H felony.
Penalties for Charlotte Larceny Convictions
The specific penalties you face depend on the level of the offense. North Carolina uses charts for misdemeanor and felony convictions. The state’s sentencing system also indicates what type of penalties you may be punished with upon conviction. Those sentences include:
- Active – Active punishments include a term of incarceration.
- Intermediate – These sentences typically include supervised probation during which you may complete community service and various educational or treatment programs.
- Community – Community punishments include terms such as probation, house arrest, and more.
Depending on the details of your case and the facts surrounding your arrest, you may receive active, intermediate, or community-based punishments. Contact a larceny defense attorney at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, to learn more.
Misdemeanor Larceny Punishments in Charlotte, NC
If you are charged with misdemeanor larceny in Charlotte, you face possible jail time upon conviction. For a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty depends on the class of the offense and the number of your prior convictions. But, for a first offense misdemeanor larceny charge, you may be able to avoid incarceration and go through probation and community service with the help of an experienced attorney.
A misdemeanor larceny offense can be punished with:
- Class A1 Misdemeanor – Up to 150 days in jail
- Class 1 Misdemeanor – Up to 120 days in jail
- Class 2 Misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail
- Class 3 Misdemeanor – Up to 20 days in jail (or a fine only)
The amount of time you are sentenced depends on mitigating and aggravating factors, such as your prior criminal history. It’s important to work with a defense lawyer to avoid a conviction or seek a lenient sentence when necessary.
Felony Larceny Punishments
For a felony, the minimum and maximum penalties depend on the class of the offense and your prior record level, calculated as points. The felony sentencing chart also gives the judge a presumptive, mitigated, and aggravated range for a sentence. For example, if you face a Class H felony, and it’s a first offense, you face between 4 and 8 months of a community, intermediate, or active punishment. But if you face a Class C felony, as a first offense, you face between 44 and 92 months of active punishment, with a presumptive sentence of 58 to 73 months in prison.
If there are mitigating factors in your case, you may face less time in prison. The judge can refer to the mitigated range of punishment. But if there are aggravating factors, you could face a longer incarceration period – the aggravated range. For more specific information regarding the potential penalty for a felony larceny offense, contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys, at (980) 237-4579.
Possible Expungement for Larceny Charges in Charlotte, NC
It might be possible to have a misdemeanor larceny conviction expunged in North Carolina after a certain period. As of December 1, 2017, non-violent misdemeanor convictions can be expunged after five years. If your larceny case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, there is no waiting period to have the arrest and charges expunged from your record.
For felony larceny convictions, the same rules apply. However, the waiting period for expungement is 10 years. Contact an expungement lawyer in Charlotte, NC, to learn more about getting your larceny conviction expunged from your record.
Defending Against Larceny Charges
By hiring an experienced larceny lawyer, you have someone who will find the weaknesses and holes in the prosecutor’s case and point those out to the jury and judge. Your defense attorney is there to create the doubt you need to avoid a conviction.
Depending on the circumstances, we may attack one or more of the elements or a larceny charge. For example, you might have accidentally taken the property away without any intent to deprive the owner. You might have believed you had permission or had the right to take the property. If you are accused of receiving or possessing stolen property, we might put forth evidence that you had no way of knowing the property was stolen.
It also is possible you had nothing to do with the alleged theft at all. We might put forth an alibi, placing you somewhere else when the larceny occurred. We will show the jury that there is little evidence actually connecting you with the crime.