Misdemeanor and Felony Larceny Charges in North Carolina

North Carolina law refers to theft crimes broadly as “larceny.” Unless a specific law states otherwise, larceny is deemed a felony in our State.

What is Larceny?

The General Statutes do not define larceny, but in general, any crime in which the offender takes the property of another – with the intent to permanently deprive him of it – is considered larceny. The statutes list a few specific instances of larceny, including:

  • Receiving or possessing stolen goods
  • Concealing merchandise in a store
  • Removing a shopping cart from store premises
  • Stealing gasoline from a service station
  • Stealing motor vehicle parts

What are the Penalties?

North Carolina classifies larceny offenses based on the value of the stolen items. Typically, larceny is considered a Class H felony, unless a statute specifically designates it as another level crime. Any larceny crimes that the law classifies as misdemeanors are considered “petty misdemeanors” – which will be sentenced similarly to petty theft crimes under other states’ laws.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Larceny

If you take property valued at $1,000 or less, you can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. If you have no prior convictions, your potential sentence ranges from one to 45 days in prison.

Class 2 and Class 3 Misdemeanor Larceny

A first offense of concealment of merchandise, or shoplifting, is a Class 3 misdemeanor under North Carolina law. So long as you agree to perform 24 hours of community service, you may avoid a prison sentence.

If you commit a second concealment offense within three years of the first one, you can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. In this case, you will face imprisonment for at least 72 hours or perform 72 hours of community service. In some cases, a judge may require both.

Class H Felony Larceny

If you take property valued more than $1,000, you may face a Class H felony. Keep in mind, though, that larceny always constitutes a felony in North Carolina, regardless of the property’s value, as long as:

  • You take the property from someone’s person.
  • You take the property via breaking and entering, or
  • The property you’ve taken is a firearm, explosive device, or any record or paper in the custody of the North Carolina State Archives.

If you’re convicted of a Class H felony, you may face four to eight months in prison – depending on whether there are any aggravating or mitigating factors present.

If you’re charged with a theft crime in North Carolina, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you find yourself in need of assistance, Attorney Cotten can help. He is a passionate criminal defense attorney who has served hundreds of clients in Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties. Contact him for a consultation or click over to the main page to chat with a legal assistant.