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Is Larceny a Felony or Misdemeanor? Is Larceny a Felony or Misdemeanor

This may come as a surprise to you, but larceny in North Carolina is technically a felony. That is, unless there is another criminal law that otherwise defines the specific criminal charge making it a misdemeanor.

N.C.G.S. 14-70 begins by making it clear that we no longer draw distinctions in the law between grand larceny and petit larceny. Those terms actually were somewhat helpful in explaining the differences between misdemeanor and felony charges.

Grand larceny traditionally involved larger sums of money or valued items. They were more serious charges.

Petit larceny, buy its very name, was for small things. That’s what petit means. It’s a French word that in the criminal context means petty or small.

Under Chapter 14: Criminal Laws in North Carolina, there remain some distinctions in the type of larceny based on the value of items taken (stolen).

What is Larceny?

In basic terms, larceny is theft. It’s taking something that doesn’t belong to you.

There are elements of an offense that must be proven to the satisfaction of a judge or jury by the prosecutor. You may have heard them it referred to “essential elements” or prima facie (first facts) of a case.

Proof must be Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

Here’s what is generally required for the State (the ADA) to prove in larceny in NC:

  • You took someone else’s property. It did not belong to you.
  • It was “carried away.”
  • You did not have permission to take the property. There wasn’t consent to take the property.
  • The Defendant (the person charged with larceny) intends to “permanently deprive” the owner of possession or use.
  • Taking the property wasn’t an accident. Larceny requires intent.
What is Felony Larceny? What is Felony Larceny

There several different types of felony larceny in North Carolina. Determining what type of charge is appropriate requires careful consideration of what happened.

Defense lawyers may refer to that as the “factual basis for the crime.” Essentially, it’s what happened or what is alleged by police or the victim.

Is you’ve wondered what is an indictment or what’s in an indictment, it sets forth in very simple language what criminal laws apply and who broke the law.

Indictments explain the criminal charges to the Defendant. It helps you understand what you’re accused of doing. That’s called “notice.”

And in larceny charges, it’s a very important of aspect of the case.

As stated, larceny is a felony in North Carolina, unless there is a statute making the individual charge a misdemeanor.

Taking the property of another is a good example. Without more, theft of property that’s worth $1,000 or less is a misdemeanor. If the facts are that the property is worth more than $1,000, that kind of larceny is a felony.

But, it can get complicated. For example, if the larceny involves a gun, that’s a felony charge. It doesn’t matter how much the gun is worth.

If the larceny involves an incendiary device or an explosive, that too is a felony charge.

Under the NC criminal laws, larceny is a felony regardless of the value of the items if the theft involves any of the following things:

  • Theft from the person – Common Law Robbery and Armed Robbery
  • Any firearm
  • Incendiary devices and explosives, excluding fireworks, gasoline, etc.
  • Records in the North Carolina Archives
  • Habitual Misdemeanor Larceny
  • Larceny by Employee
  • Embezzlement
Call Danny Glover - OBX Criminal Defense Attorney

Navigating the legal system in North Carolina can be tough. Criminal charges that involve allegations of larceny can be complicated and deserve the attention of an experienced defense lawyer.

Crimes of moral turpitude which is another way of saying crimes of dishonesty, fraud, or theft can follow you around. People sometimes think ”no big deal,” and handle a case by pleading guilty.

They may not even realize that results in a criminal record or conviction, telling defense lawyers, “I wasn’t convicted. All I had to do was pay a fine. I didn’t get jail time.”

Only months or years later, when they have trouble finding a job or have been turned down for a loan or apartment rental do they start to realize some of the harsh consequences of criminal charges.

At the Glover Law Firm we provide a FREE CONSULTATION.

We don’t charge legal fees to answer questions. We’ll help you understand the legal system, provide legal advice, and guide you through making good choices about your criminal charges.

You may reach Danny Glover now by email:

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