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Bessemer Theft Crime Lawyer

Bessemer Theft Crime Lawyer

Bessemer, NC Theft Crime Attorney

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.

For this reason, it is vital that you seek the help of a skilled theft crime attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been accused of larceny in Bessemer, North Carolina.

The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford, Your North Carolina Theft Criminal Defense Attorney

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.

Bessemer Theft Crime Lawyer

What Are the Different Classifications of Theft?

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:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor. Theft or possession of stolen property with a value of $1,000 or less constitutes a petty misdemeanor, except in certain cases noted below. Class 1 misdemeanors carry jail time ranging from one to 45 days and may include additional penalties, such as fines or restitution.
  • Class H felony larceny. A theft is considered a Class H felony if it meets any of the following instances: 
    • The value of the property exceeds $1,000
    • The property is a firearm or other explosive
    • The property is stolen from an individual’s person
    • The property was taken while breaking and entering
    • The property was taken during a burglary
    • The one committing the theft has four or more prior convictions for larceny
  • Class I felony larceny. A theft is considered a Class I felony if it meets any of the following unique circumstances: 
    • Theft of a motor vehicle part in which repair costs would exceed $1,000 or the part is a catalytic converter
    • Theft or possession of stolen goods from a permitted construction site valued between $300 and $1,000
    • Theft of a dog

What Are Common Defenses for Theft Crimes?

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:

  • Right to possession. A foundational defense against theft is demonstrating a claim of ownership of the goods in question. If you can present evidence that you had a reasonable belief that the goods belonged to you or can definitively prove legal ownership, your charges could be dropped.
  • Lack of intent. North Carolina law stipulates that theft involves knowingly taking goods. This can be an effective defense if you can demonstrate there was no requisite intention of stealing, and when confronted, you willingly returned the alleged goods.
  • Intoxication. While not a defense in and of itself, intoxication can be an effective way of proving a lack of intent. This defense is often used in minor shoplifting cases.

FAQs About Bessemer, NC Theft Crime Laws

How Much Theft Is a Felony in North Carolina?

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.

What Is the Penalty for Theft in North Carolina?

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.

How Many Years Is a Felony Larceny in NC?

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.

What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony Larceny in NC?

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.

Your North Carolina Criminal Defense Representation and Justice

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.


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