Have you been accused of stealing or possessing stolen property? Your first thought may be to defend yourself. You might think you can explain things to the police. This is never a good idea. People rarely talk themselves out of charges. Usually, it’s the opposite. Suspects many times give valuable information to law enforcement leading to their arrest. Instead, the best thing to do for yourself is to call an experienced criminal defense lawyer and let him speak to the police on your behalf. What your attorney says cannot be used to make a case against you. In many instances, a lawyer can prevent you from being charged or at least reduce your level of exposure.
Theft is a crime of dishonesty. The impact on your life is significant. Aside from time in custody and/or long periods of probation, employers shy away from hiring people with a theft conviction. Criminal defense attorney Thom Goolsby is here to help. With decades of experience in North Carolina, Attorney Goolsby has defended thousands of people. He knows how prosecutors think, work, and understands what it takes to get a theft case dismissed, reduced, or to be found not guilty.
Larceny in North Carolina
There are several laws against theft (also known as larceny) in North Carolina under NC General Statutes (NCGS) §§14-70—14-86.2.
Theft was formally charged as either petty larceny or grand larceny, but NCGS §14-70 removed this distinction. Instead, larceny is now a Class H felony, though specific theft crimes may be charged as lessor or higher offenses.
For example, you can be charged with misdemeanor larceny if you are accused of taking, receiving, or possessing stolen goods worth less than $1,000. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the value is more than $1,000, you face felony larceny. You can also be charged with felony larceny if you are accused of stealing certain property, including explosives, an incendiary device, or a firearm.
Working with a criminal defense lawyer is particularly important if the value of the property is in dispute. A prosecutor may claim the value meets or exceeds the grand larceny amount of $1,000. Your attorney may be able to argue for the charges to be reduced to misdemeanor theft. Such a reduction allows you to fight a significantly lower-level charge where you do not risk a felony conviction.
Larceny by Deception or Trick
Not all theft crimes involve breaking into a store or home and removing items. You can also be charged with a felony due to theft by deception, also known as larceny by trick. You may be accused of making false statements or working under a false impression to gain access to money or property to which you would not otherwise have access. This type of theft relies on deceiving the victim, instead of stealing in secret or through force.
An example of larceny by deception is pretending to accept donations, then keeping those donations for yourself. Yet another example is entering into an agreement that you did not intend to uphold. Depending on the value and circumstance, theft by deception can be a misdemeanor or felony.