The penalty for shoplifting depends on several factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the offense, and the value of the stolen goods. The consequences of being convicted of shoplifting go beyond the penalty. The offender could suffer negatively in their education, employment, social, and military standing. If you have been charged with shoplifting, get in touch with our Charlotte shoplifting lawyers at King Law so we can put our expertise to work in helping you.
North Carolina’s Theft and Larceny Laws
Laws prohibiting shoplifting in North Carolina can lead to theft charges being filed against the perpetrator. These charges are based on multiple statutes:
1. Larceny of Property
Larceny of property is a law that applies to shoplifting charges filed under the following circumstances:
- Leaving a store with products you did not pay for
- Attempting to leave the store without having paid for items in your possession
The felony you are charged with is determined by the value of the goods you stole. However, this value is not considered if:
- You have 4 prior convictions
- The goods were stolen from a person
- The stolen items were explosive substances or firearms
In such cases, you stand to be charged with a felony. If you are accused of shoplifting goods valued under $1,000, you may face charges for a class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the value of goods shoplifted was above $1,000, then you can be charged with a Class H felony.
2. Concealment of Merchandise
Shoplifting laws in North Carolina allow you to be charged for your conduct before leaving any store. If you intentionally hide any merchandise that you did not pay for while still at the store, you are liable to face charges as follows:
- A first-time offender will be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor
- A class 2 misdemeanor for a second-time offense
- A class 1 misdemeanor will be charged for third and future offenses in less than five years
Additionally, suppose you attempted to prevent an anti-shoplifting device from working by using a lead- or aluminum-lined article of clothing or bag. In that case, you will be charged with a class H felony.
What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a Shoplifting Conviction?
Once convicted of shoplifting in Charlotte, North Carolina, the following consequences can result from that theft crime:
- Permanent criminal record
- Expensive fines
- Probation or community service
Although shoplifting sounds like an excusable offense to many, it can be extremely difficult to request a court of law to expunge your criminal charges. A larceny conviction will most likely follow you around for the rest of your life and, as a result, severely limit your employment opportunities.
The good news is, for a first-time offender, you will likely only face misdemeanor penalties where you’ll be required to make restitution, pay a fine, and probation or a short jail term. Contact a Charlotte shoplifting lawyer to get all the legal assistance you may need in dealing with this unfortunate event.
Possible Penalties for Shoplifting in Charlotte, North Carolina
The penalty you receive for shoplifting may differ depending on the following:
- The value or type of property shoplifted
- Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor (class 1, 2, or 3) or class H felony
- Your conduct
- Your criminal history
A sentencing chart is used to punish shoplifting misdemeanors in North Carolina. It generally looks at the class of the misdemeanor and the offender’s previous criminal record. The potential jail time is as follows:
- Up to 120 days for a class 1 misdemeanor
- Up to 60 days for a class 2 misdemeanor
- Up to 20 days or fines only for a class 3 misdemeanor
You could pay a shoplifting fine, do community service, do time on probation, and other community-based penalties to avoid jail time for low-level larceny offenses. However, if convicted of a class H felony, depending on the offense class and prior criminal record, you’ll face between 4 and 25 months in prison.
Why Do You Need a Charlotte Shoplifting Lawyer?
By seeking out the help of a shoplifting attorney, you can make a better defense against larceny charges filed against you. A shoplifting lawyer will exhaust all possible angles by carefully reviewing the details of the case and the evidence brought against you to develop a strong defense. Some possible defenses include the following:
- You did not have the intent to commit the crime
- The witness(es) to the purported crime was biased, unreliable, or bore an ulterior motive
- There has been a case of mistaken identity
- You acted under duress
- The prosecution is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime
- You tried returning the said property after realizing that you left the store with it
If there are larceny charges filed against you, and you don’t know what to do, contact an experienced Charlotte criminal defense lawyer to help guide you on possible next steps to get you the best outcome.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Charlotte Shoplifting Lawyer
When facing a legal battle, you need two groups of people in your corner; an experienced shoplifting lawyer you can trust and a legal team ready to explore every possible avenue to get you the best outcome. At King Law, our team understands that every case is different. They will work around the clock to give you an array of options for resolving larceny charges and ensuring your best interests are protected.
Depending on the details of your case, you can be sure that our seasoned lawyers will push forward with your best interest in mind. They work on getting the charges dismissed completely, pursuing a plea bargain, or getting you acquitted at trial to bring you the best possible outcome. If you are accused of shoplifting in Charlotte, please call (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. You can also fill out our contact form.