Theft is an umbrella term that covers numerous types of stealing, including identity theft, intellectual property theft, aggravated robbery, theft of services, and more. If you are facing theft-related charges, reach out to a Waynesville theft crimes lawyer to learn more about your options.
How Does the Law Define Theft Crimes in Waynesville?
Individuals who have resorted to theft take things that don’t belong to them with the intent to permanently keep the property or sell it for profit. Depending on the situation’s specifics, a theft crime can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, and punishment is contingent upon the severity of the charges. If you or someone you know is facing theft charges, it’s crucial to have legal representation immediately after an arrest is made.
A theft crimes lawyer in Waynesville, NC can explain potential penalties you may face and the defenses available to help your case. This depends on North Carolina’s laws and the specific theft crime you’re charged with. For example, if you stole a low-value item from a retail store, you may get lesser charges compared to an individual who uses weapons or deadly force while stealing a high-value property. It would be classified as a serious crime in North Carolina with severe consequences.
Under criminal laws, examples of property that can be unlawfully stolen include tangible or movable items such as jewelry, computers, and cars, including certificates and bonds. Immovable property can be land and valuable information such as a company’s trade secrets or a person’s identifying data. Someone can also do what’s known as a “dine and dash” to get away without paying for the services rendered; for example, at a restaurant or club. Different types of theft and related crimes carry varying penalties, as expounded below.
Types of Theft Crimes and Potential Penalties in Waynesville, NC
Some theft crimes are more common than others. Below are examples of various types of theft crimes one can be arrested and charged with:
- Embezzling funds belonging to your employer
- Theft of service, which is receiving a service and refusing to pay for it by threat or deception
- Shoplifting, classified as petty or misdemeanor theft, involves stealing low-value objects. For example, clothes, makeup, or candy from a retail store
- Burglary, which is breaking and entering a private building illegally with the intent to rob or steal
- Identity theft, involves taking someone else’s name, bank details, social security card data, and more to steal or access their personal information
- Grand theft or grand larceny, which is stealing high-value assets worth more than $300, such as jewelry, a car, or a large sum of money. Punishment is based on the type of theft, the value of the stolen property, and aggravating factors, like using a weapon or force
Theft crime, therefore, is taking someone else’s property without their consent, and punishments are higher for felonious offenses than misdemeanors. Penalties for theft crimes are also based on factors like the property value, severity of the crime (if a weapon was involved), and your criminal history. Note that while a repeat offender will often receive less sentencing leniency, you can have a first-offense felony theft charge of a high-value property that exceeds $1,000, hence, fall under felony classification.
If charged with felony theft for stealing property worth $1,000 to $20,000, you can receive fines of $10,000 to $15,000, (three times the property value) and serve up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, depending on what was allegedly stolen and the implications of the case, offense levels can range from a Class C to Class A misdemeanor and from a state jail felony-level offense to a first-degree crime. While Class A and C misdemeanors may result in a $500 fine, a first-degree conviction could mean spending 5 to 99 years or life in prison.
Possible Defenses a Waynesville Theft Crimes Attorney Can Employ
You might be wondering whether theft crime charges can be increased or decreased. If mitigating factors are present, your Waynesville theft crimes attorney can use some available defenses to lessen the severity of your penalty for the crime. For example, a lack of criminal history, showing remorse, if you’re too young or too old, or if you’re cooperating with the investigating police.
Participating in a diversion program that requires you to attend counseling, pass drug tests, perform community service, and remain crime-free may help keep the theft charges off your record. Your lawyer may also use typical theft defenses such as entrapment or provide evidence supporting a claim of property ownership defense.
Even if the facts support the claim that you intentionally took property from another person without their permission, some legal defenses may be used to lessen or have your case dismissed. For instance, you could have been under duress or intoxicated when the alleged theft crime occurred. Return of stolen property is also a viable defense that can make you appear more sympathetic to a prosecuting attorney for a possible plea deal or expungement.
Get Expert Representation From a Waynesville Theft Crimes Lawyer at King Law
The first step to take when charged with a theft crime is to consult a theft crimes attorney in Waynesville, NC. Our team of criminal defense attorneys at our North and South Carolina offices may be able to help with your charges by providing you with a strong defense. Whether arrested for petty or grand theft, we are in the best position to review your charges and provide valuable insights to calm your concerns.
Our King Law attorneys also have a vast knowledge of specific theft laws, penalties, and available defenses that can benefit your case. Allow us to represent you in court and try to negotiate the best possible deal. Call our offices at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING, or fill out our contact form so we can start working on your case straight away.