Any theft crime in North Carolina is an offense that should be taken seriously. Whether you are facing misdemeanor charges or a felony conviction, all theft crimes are visible in criminal background checks. This means a conviction could follow you even after you’ve served any required jail time and paid applicable fines.
The most effective chance of avoiding conviction is to secure strong representation from a qualified North Carolina attorney. Brent D. Ratchford has over 25 years of experience handling criminal defense cases, including theft charges of all kinds. Known throughout the community for his care towards his clients, Brent D. Ratchford treats every client with respect and offers fair and just representation no matter what a person has been accused of.
For thorough and fair representation in your theft criminal defense case, contact The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford. We can walk you through the defense process, sit and listen to the details of your particular case and its surrounding circumstances and details, and help craft an effective defense to achieve the most favorable outcome possible.
North Carolina law makes no distinction between theft – whereby an individual takes, removes, or otherwise deprives another person of property that knowingly does not belong to the person committing the theft – and the act of receiving or knowingly being in possession of stolen property. Both are criminal acts subject to the applicable misdemeanor or felony penalties. Depending on the value of the stolen property, a theft crime can be classified in one of several ways:
When facing theft charges, there are a few common defenses you and your attorney may utilize depending on the details of your case. These include:
North Carolina treats theft of any kind as a felony once the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,000. There is no distinction made between types of thefts, as a simple theft becomes felony larceny at this value amount, whether the act was shoplifting or embezzlement. Some circumstances will constitute a felony act regardless of the stolen property’s value, such as stealing a firearm, taking from someone’s person, having several prior convictions of larceny, or committing burglary.
The penalties for theft in North Carolina can range depending on the circumstances involved in the alleged theft. Generally, there are two classes of larceny, each carrying jail time and potential fines: a Class 1 misdemeanor and a Class H felony. Punishment for property theft ranges from one to 45 days in jail for a Class 1 misdemeanor to 4 to 25 months of incarceration for a Class H felony conviction, not including additional penalties.
There are two classifications of felony larceny, each with its own maximum punishment imposed. The maximum active sentence for a Class H felony larceny is 39 months, though most sentences are no more than two years. Some theft is classified as a Class I felony, such as theft of an animal, and is punishable by no more than 24 months.
Felony larceny and misdemeanor larceny are treated similarly in North Carolina. The primary difference in classification is the value of the property stolen. A theft is considered a misdemeanor when the value of the property is below $1,000 and is considered felony larceny when the value exceeds this amount or occurs during a burglary or breaking and entering, is taken directly from a person, or is a theft of a firearm or a type of explosive.
No matter what you’ve been accused of, you have a right to be fairly and strongly represented and respected during your criminal defense. The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford can work to avoid conviction where possible and otherwise minimize and reduce sentencing and penalties. Whether you’ve been accused of petty theft or are accused of more serious larceny, don’t let this circumstance follow your record or hurt your reputation. Contact the law firm today for a free consultation.