Grand larceny carries significant penalties in North Carolina. If you have been charged with grand larceny, you probably have questions about what constitutes grand larceny and how it differs from petty larceny and felony theft. At Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, our Raleigh criminal lawyers have a depth of experience defending clients who are facing grand larceny charges. In this article, we explain grand larceny in North Carolina.
Grand Larceny – Definition
The definition of grand larceny is a crime in which something of high value is stolen. In North Carolina, it is theft of an item that is valued at more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and it is classified as a Class H felony. Additionally, receiving or possessing stolen goods valued at “more than one thousand dollars while knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the goods are stolen is a Class H felony” (N.C. General Statutes § 14-72) Other requirements that can constitute a grand larceny include when the robbery is of a person, a burglary, or theft of an explosive or firearm.
Petty larceny involves stealing anything valued under $1,000, while anything over $1,000 is considered grand larceny.
Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Larceny
The primary difference between a misdemeanor larceny and a felony larceny is the value of the goods that have been stolen. When the value is less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor larceny; when the value is more than $1,000, it is a felony larceny. If a person steals multiple items during one theft and the value of all the stolen items totals more than $1,000, it can result in a larceny charge.
Larceny is always considered a felony regardless of the value of the property stolen when:
- The property was taken from another person
- The theft was committed by breaking and entering
- The stolen property was a firearm or explosive device
Other larceny crimes in North Carolina include:
- Concealment of merchandise in a store (shoplifting)
- Removal of a shopping cart from a store
- Larceny of gasoline at a gas station
- Felony larceny of motor parts
Common Larceny Charges in North Carolina
There are other types of larceny crimes as well as grand larceny, including:
- Misdemeanor larceny
- Felony larceny
- Misdemeanor possession of stolen goods
- Felony possession of stolen goods
A misdemeanor larceny is taking a person’s property without his/her consent, intending to permanently deprive him of the property, and knowing that the property does not belong to the one taking it. The property must be valued at $1,000 or less. A jury determines the worth of the property.
A felony larceny is like misdemeanor larceny except that the value of the property taken is over $1,000 or the theft has other aspects such as robbery of a person, burglary, or the theft of a firearm or explosive.
Misdemeanor Possession of Stolen Goods
When a person knows that they are possessing stolen goods, this is a crime. The value of the property must be under $1,000.
Felony Possession of Stolen Goods
When a person either knowingly or has reason to believe that he/she possesses goods that were stolen, and the value of those goods is $1,000 or more, then they have committed a felony.
When Larceny is Classified as a Felony
Larceny is a felony when:
- The amount of goods stolen is worth more than $1,000
- The property theft is related to a burglary
- Receiving or possessing stolen goods that are valued more than $1,000 while knowing or believing they are stolen
- Firearms or explosives are stolen
- Theft of property occurs when a person has been convicted of theft at least four other times
- North Carolina State Archives is involved
Punishment for Grand Larceny in North Carolina
Grand larceny punishment is delineated in this way:
Class H Felony Larceny
Under North Carolina law, larcenies are considered to be Class H felonies unless a statute specifically defines the crime as a misdemeanor. Criminal penalties for a Class H felony generally include 4 – 24 months in prison. Most of the time offenders serve 5 – 6 months in jail.
Repetitive Larceny Sentencing
Habitual larceny is a Class H felony and applies when a person has four prior larceny convictions. The convictions can be felonies, misdemeanors, or any combination of the two. In the case of habitual larceny, the punishment is the same as other Class H felonies.
Conspiracy to Commit Larceny in North Carolina
A conspiracy takes place when two or more people agree to commit a crime. This requires two people to agree and intend to commit a criminal offense. When people conspire to commit larceny in North Carolina and are convicted, they are found guilty of a felony that is one class lower than the felony they conspired to commit. Conspiracy to commit larceny involves conspiring, assisting, aiding, or abetting in the theft of property.
A Conviction Can Change Your Life
If you are convicted of grand larceny, your life can be changed in these ways:
- Renting a home
- Obtaining child custody
- Getting hired or keeping your job
- Getting accepted into college
- Getting a loan
- Obtaining some professional licenses
A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Beat a Grand Larceny Charge
If you have been arrested for committing larceny in North Carolina, you need a criminal defense attorney to help you. These are serious charges and have significant effects on your life. Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh are knowledgeable of the law in these types of cases and have provided expert guidance and representation for many clients facing these charges. Contact us as soon as possible after your arrest and charge. We will do everything we can to make sure you receive the best possible defense. Call us at (919) 887-8040 or complete our free case review contact form.