Shoplifting may seem like a common crime, but it’s also not one that is taken lightly. In fact, if you are charged with shoplifting in North Carolina, you could be facing felony charges.
There are many factors that go into determining the charges for shoplifting, but a conviction of either a misdemeanor or a felony can result in severe consequences for that seemingly minor “five-finger discount.” Here is what you need to know about shoplifting in North Carolina and the charges you may be hit with.
NC Shoplifting: A Tale of Two Charges
In North Carolina, shoplifting is considered something called larceny of goods. Larceny is generally thought of under the law as when someone takes the property of another without consent and with the intent to deprive them of that property permanently. However, even if you don’t succeed in getting away with the property in question, this is still a crime: concealment of goods.
As the name implies, the two different charges are based on where you get caught with the property:
Larceny of Goods
This is normally charged when a shoplifter has been caught after they have left the store. It is the most serious shoplifting offense.
Concealment of Goods
If you have not yet left the store or property, then you will be charged with this, a less serious offense. However, even this “lesser” offense can lead to felony charges in some cases.
The Penalties for Larceny of Goods in North Carolina
If you are charged with larceny of goods, there are several factors that help to determine whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The value of the property in question has an impact on the charge, as anything valued above $1,000 is charged as a Class H felony, while property valued at less than $1,000 is generally a misdemeanor.
However, there are instances where property worth less than $1,000 can be charged as a felony, such as:
- Property taken directly from a person
- Property taken that is an incendiary device, explosive device, or firearm
- The offender has four or more shoplifting or larceny charges
Class 1 misdemeanors are punishable in most cases by up to three months in jail. For a Class H felony, someone can be sentenced to as much as 39 months in prison.
NC Penalties for Concealment of Goods
The level of charges for concealment of goods depends on the person’s past criminal history and how they concealed the property. Some of the most common concealment of goods offenses and their penalties include:
Concealment of Goods as a First Offense
If you are found guilty of concealment of goods for the first time, then you’re probably be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor. This can result in a penalty of up to 10 days in jail and community service.
Concealment of Goods as a Second Offense
When found guilty of concealment of goods a second time, you can face a Class 2 misdemeanor. This can result in penalties such as community service, probation, or up to one month in jail. If you have a criminal record, you may face more significant penalties.
Concealment of Goods Third Offense
If you’ve been caught shoplifting twice before the current charges, then you face a Class 1 misdemeanor that is associated with penalties such as a minimum of 11 days in jail.
Using an Antishoplifting Device
Anyone accused of using an inventory control or antishoplifting device will be charged with a Class H felony.
The point? All theft charges are serious, so understand your rights if you are charged with it.