Several different types of theft crimes exist in North Carolina.
If you are charged with theft, the value of the goods or property usually decides whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. If a firearm or violence was involved at the time of the incident, the class of the offense will be higher. This is also true if a prior theft record exists.
By understanding the various types of theft that are defined under the law in our state, it can help you to plan your defense strategy, understand why you were charged, and what you are up against.
Understanding All Different Kinds of Theft in Our State
Let’s look at the 14 different types of theft crimes in North Carolina.
Shoplifting. Removing items from a retail store, switching price tags, or using lead-lined bags or purses to hide merchandise are all considered forms of theft.
Vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft theft. If you use someone’s vehicle, motorcycle, aircraft, or water-borne craft without permission, you can be charged with theft.
Fuel theft. Yes, this is a specific form of theft under the law. Taking fuel from a pump without paying or removing containers of fuel from a home or business is punishable under North Carolina theft laws.
Firearms and explosive device theft. This includes an extensive list of items falling under the category of explosive or incendiary devices or substances. Firearms are defined as instruments that propel shots, shells, or bullets, so air rifles and pistols are not included.
Technical process theft. You may be charged with theft if you misappropriate knowledge entrusted to you by a company or service that was intended as a trade secret.
Public record theft. Anyone who steals or destroys public records, including wills and certification documents, may be subject to theft charges.
Dairy case theft. Cases or crates owned by dairy companies are protected under North Carolina theft laws. They cannot be taken or altered in any way.
Infant formula theft. Talk about stealing from a baby – if someone takes infant formula valued in excess of $100.00, they may be charged with misdemeanor theft. All kidding aside, baby formula is both expensive and necessary for many parents, which actually makes it one of the most stolen items.
Shopping cart theft. A retail store that makes shopping carts available for customers may file theft charges against someone who removes a cart from the store premises.
Theft of crops and other plants. In North Carolina, it is a crime to steal unharvested crops as well as other plants like ginseng and pine needles or straw. If you don’t have express permission from the property owner, theft charges may apply.
Animal theft. Whether a person takes cattle or a domestic animal, charges of theft may be filed by the animal’s owner.
Waste kitchen grease theft. A person is prohibited from taking waste kitchen grease from an establishment without permission from the property owner.
Theft of portable toilets and pump trucks. North Carolina law prohibits the seizure of either kind of item from the premises for which it was intended.
General theft. To cover all general cases, the laws state, simply, than any person who takes or receives what does not belong to them may face theft charges.
If the value of the allegedly stolen material is valued at less than $1,000, the theft charge will be a Class 1 Misdemeanor Larceny. If the value of the material is valued at $1,000 or higher, the charge will be a Class H Felony Larceny. A legal consultation can help you understand what charges you face.
Facing a misdemeanor larceny charge can mean fines and required community service hours. A felony larceny charge is more serious and will likely involve jail time. That’s why it’s so important to contact an experienced North Carolina theft crimes attorney for a free consultation as soon as charges are filed. He or she will work to protect your rights and battle to get the charges dismissed, dropped, or reduced.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense. He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.