The punishment for misdemeanor larceny in North Carolina is up to 120 days in county jail and a discretionary fine to be set by the court. The court may also require the offender to pay restitution to compensate the victim for his loss. In addition, the court can require that the offender serve a term of probation not to exceed 120 days, less time served.
What Is Larceny?
Larceny is the theft of another person’s property without the use of force. The four elements of larceny are: 1)the unlawful taking and 2) carrying away of another person’s property 3) without the owner’s consent and 4) with the intent of permanently depriving the owner of the property.
A party who stayed in a rental property and took a vase worth $500 from the property without permission could be found guilty of larceny. A party who took the vase from the homeowner at knifepoint could be found guilty of a different offense, robbery.
In North Carolina, a person who receives or possesses stolen goods of $1,000 or less is guilty of misdemeanor larceny. The goods can be chattel, defined as a personal possession; they can also be property, money or a valuable security.
Read More: What Is the Difference Between Larceny & Theft?
What Level of Crime Is Misdemeanor Larceny?
In North Carolina, misdemeanor larceny is defined as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This is the second-highest level of misdemeanor. Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious type of misdemeanor. Class 2 misdemeanors are more serious. A class A1 misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 150 days in jail and a discretionary fine, is the most serious type of misdemeanor.
Additional Consequences of Misdemeanor Larceny
Misdemeanor larceny is a crime that involves dishonesty. Such offenses are often called crimes of moral turpitude. A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude can negatively affect the ability of an offender to testify in court.
An attorney for the opposing side may attempt to impeach a witness convicted of misdemeanor larceny. This means a party with a prior misdemeanor larceny conviction may have a hard time defending herself in court. This is true whether the party’s case has to do with civil, criminal, family, probate or bankruptcy law.
Defenses to Misdemeanor Larceny
Defenses to misdemeanor larceny include consent to the taking of the property by the property owner and ownership of the property by the taker. For example, a party owned an umbrella and he took the umbrella with him after leaving the house of his landlord. The party could argue that his taking of the umbrella was not larceny because the umbrella belonged to him.
Other defenses to larceny include lack of intent. If a party only wanted to borrow an item for a few hours and intended to return it, he would not be guilty of larceny.
When Does Larceny Become a Felony?
In North Carolina, the state can charge larceny as a felony when the value of the goods is more than $1,000. Punishment for a felony can be a year or more in state prison. The court may also require a higher fine for a felony larceny.
Is Shoplifting a Misdemeanor Larceny?
Shoplifting is not a misdemeanor larceny. A party who made an effort to conceal store goods on his person and is apprehended by store security can be convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor. A party who commits a second offense of this type within three years of the first offense can be convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Both Class 3 and Class 2 misdemeanors are less serious than a Class 1 misdemeanor, the classification of misdemeanor larceny.
- North Carolina General Assembly, General Statutes, Section 14-72: Larceny of property; receiving stolen goods or possessing stolen goods
- North Carolina General Assembly, General Statutes, Section 14-71: Receiving stolen goods; receiving or possessing goods represented as stolen
- University of North Carolina, School of Government, Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool (C-CAT): Explanation of common terms in C-CAT
- North Carolina General Assembly, General Statutes, Section 15A-1340.23: Punishment limits for each class of offense and prior conviction level
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.