Shoplifting in North Carolina is not a simple crime. In fact, there isn’t just shoplifting in North Carolina – which refers to taking merchandise without paying for it – there’s also larceny. That is a charge that can be a whole lot worse.
What is the difference between shoplifting and larceny? Many people don’t know. But anyone facing one of these charges must understand the difference between them and how it can impact their future.
Read on to find out what you need to know.
Is It Larceny or Shoplifting in North Carolina?
Larceny and shoplifting are two separate crimes in our state. While shoplifting is less severe and charged as a misdemeanor, larceny is less straightforward. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on what took place during the incident.
Furthermore, larceny can get charged for stealing from a store or a person, but shoplifting almost always indicates stealing from a business.
Larceny of Merchandise in North Carolina
If you’re in a store and sail past the registers without paying, you’ve committed larceny in North Carolina. This crime often gets charged when someone removes unpaid items from a store. It can be a felony or a misdemeanor.
In general, misdemeanor larceny is when someone takes another’s property knowing they are not entitled to it and without the intention of giving the property back.
Felony larceny, on the other hand, is committed when the value of the property taken exceeds $1,000. This charge also applies if the crime:
- included stealing a firearm,
- was perpetrated as part of a burglary
- involved stealing from an employer
- involved tampering with a security sensor or attempting to disable an inventory control device
Concealment of Goods in North Carolina
Concealment of goods in North Carolina is the proper name for what most people consider shoplifting. It’s similar to the crime of larceny, but different under the law.
Shoplifting is a crime committed against a retail location. It occurs when a person is in the store, making it different from larceny, which occurs when you leave the store.
Concealment of merchandise happens when someone willfully conceals merchandise or goods in a store:
- without the proper authority to do so and
- with no intention to purchase the goods.
Some stores may stop people before they attempt to leave for concealing merchandise, but as a practical matter, people often aren’t stopped until they leave the store – which makes the crime larceny, not shoplifting.
Penalties in North Carolina
Shoplifting and larceny can come with harsh punishments depending on a few factors:
- Your criminal history
- What happened when the crime was committed
- The value of the goods or merchandise
Conviction can mean probation, community service, incarceration, and fines. Additionally, the conviction can follow you around for life.
This is why bringing an experienced attorney onto your case as soon as possible is so vital. They can help you understand the charges against you and uphold your rights.