The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Larceny in North Carolina

Being charged with a theft crime in North Carolina should not be taken lightly. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony conviction that will result in severe penalties and a criminal record for life.

The long-term consequences of being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony larceny charge could negatively impact your ability to obtain a job, housing, or keep your professional license. Discussing your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you investigate the circumstances of your arrest and build a strong case for the charges you are facing.

What Constitutes a Larceny Charge?

Larceny occurs when someone takes someone else’s property without their permission. Most theft crimes are considered some type of larceny. Several different types of larceny are defined under North Carolina criminal laws. The type and seriousness of the charge depend on multiple factors, including the value of the stolen property and the type of evidence against the defendant.

Misdemeanor Larceny

Misdemeanor larceny involves taking a person’s property without their consent and intending to permanently deprive him of the property. The defendant must know that the property is not his to be convicted. For a misdemeanor larceny charge, the value of the allegedly stolen property must be $1,000 or less.

Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods

Misdemeanor possession of stolen goods involves possession of stolen goods when the person knew or reasonably knew that the goods were stolen, and the intent involves dishonesty. The value of the property must be under $1,000.

Felony Larceny

Felony larceny is similar to misdemeanor larceny in North Carolina. However, the property must have a value of over $1,000, or the theft must meet other specific requirements, such as burglary, robbery of a person, or theft of an explosion or firearm. When a person steals multiple items during a theft event, the prosecutor can add up the values of the stolen items and could bring a felony charge if the total value of the property is worth over $1,000. Other larceny crimes in North Carolina include the following:

  • Removal of a shopping cart from a store
  • Concealment of merchandise in a store, also known as shoplifting
  • Felony larceny of motor parts
  • Larceny of gasoline at a gas station
The Penalties of Larceny in North Carolina

Under North Carolina law, a larceny charge is considered a Class H felony unless a statute specifically defines the crime as a misdemeanor or another level of a felony charge. The penalties depend on the class of misdemeanor or felony and any aggravating or mitigating charges.

Class 2 and 3 Misdemeanors for Larceny

A first-time shoplifting charge is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. A second shoplifting offense is regarded as a Class 2 misdemeanor charge with a sentence of 60 days in prison and a potential $1,000 fine.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Charges for Larceny

When a person is convicted of misdemeanor larceny, they are usually charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor charge is 120 days in jail and a fine based on the judge’s discretion.

Class H Felony Charges

The sentence for a Class H felony charge is usually four to 24 months in prison. For prosecutors to convict you of a Class H felony, they will need to prove that you took someone’s property via breaking or entering or that the property you have taken is a firearm, explosive device, or any record of paper in custody o the North Carolina State Archives. The presumptive sentence is five to six months of incarceration. You could face multiple years in jail if you have been charged with larceny. It is essential that you have a skilled attorney fighting on your side.

Discuss Your Larceny Charge with a Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with any type of theft crime, whether a misdemeanor or felony charge, the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are here to help. Our criminal defense attorneys understand what it takes to effectively fight against a wide range of criminal charges in North Carolina.

We are prepared to provide you with a robust criminal defense after taking the time to carefully investigate your case and find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, as soon as possible to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.