Understanding Theft Charges in Winston-Salem
Theft charges in North Carolina have different penalties and repercussions based on how they’re categorized, and the most serious cases may involve felony charges. Some of the most common types of theft charges are:
- Petty theft: Stealing items worth less than $1,000, including low-level shoplifting, is typically charged as a misdemeanor.
- Grand theft: Stealing money, property, a vehicle (grand theft auto), or merchandise valued over $1,000 is often treated as a felony, which carries harsher penalties and the potential for jail time.
- Burglary and robbery: These are often classified as felonies under the law due to often involving breaking and entering or the use of violence.
- Embezzlement: Stealing money or property you were being trusted to manage is generally treated as a felony, depending on the amounts involved.
- Identity theft: Using another person’s personal information for financial gain is potentially punishable as a felony.
Each type of theft has specific elements the prosecution would have to prove to bring a conviction successfully. An experienced Winston-Salem theft lawyer will be familiar with effective strategies to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case and may even be able to have the charges dismissed early in the process.
Potential Long-Term Consequences of a Theft Conviction
The immediate consequences of a theft conviction are incredibly disruptive and hard to deal with, especially getting jail time. However, the impact of these kinds of charges can follow you around long after you’ve already fulfilled all the legal penalties, such as:
- Having a criminal record: A conviction stays on your record permanently and makes it harder to find a job because many employers are hesitant to hire someone with a criminal history, especially in theft.
- Affecting your credit score: A felony theft conviction can show up on your credit rating and severely affect your score, leading to difficulty getting a loan or renting an apartment. Also, some landlords don’t want to rent to someone who’s had this kind of legal trouble.
- Reducing opportunities: There’s a wide range of rights or opportunities that may be restricted or denied when you have a felony on your record, like certain professional licenses or some forms of government assistance.
- Changing your reputation: There’s a real and pervasive social stigma associated with the label of theft that can affect your personal and professional relationships.
These wide-ranging consequences underscore the importance of having the support you need to defend yourself and make informed choices throughout the legal process. A Winston-Salem theft lawyer can challenge the evidence against you to prove your innocence, take steps to reduce the charges or negotiate a plea deal, depending on your specific situation.
Do You Need a Lawyer When Facing Theft Charges in Winston-Salem?
In the aftermath of being charged with theft, it’s crucial to remember that you have legal rights and options available to help you navigate this situation. Crucially, you’re allowed to defend yourself from a potentially unfair or incorrect accusation and hire a legal professional to protect your best interests. There’s also the option to be represented by a public defender appointed by the court. However, this path comes with significant risks that can affect the outcome of your case, mainly due to the limited resources these Winston-Salem theft attorneys have to work with. The drawbacks of using a public defender include:
- Higher caseloads: Public defenders are juggling an overwhelming number of cases, which makes it harder to give any individual client the tailored legal advice they deserve.
- Fewer resources: They also don’t have access to the same resources private criminal defense lawyers use to investigate and strengthen cases.
- Less inclined to fight: Public defenders are known for encouraging clients to take an unfavorable plea deal that would allow them to close the case, even if fighting the charges would be the better option.
Simply put, statistics consistently show that Winston-Salem theft lawyers tend to have better outcomes for their clients than public defenders due to being able to dedicate more time and effort to each case.
The Benefits of Having an Experienced Winston-Salem Theft Lawyer by Your Side
With your freedom and reputation on the line, hiring the right theft defense lawyer in Winston-Salem is one of the most pivotal decisions to help you navigate the complications of serious theft-related charges. An experienced Winston-Salem Theft lawyer can provide several advantages to place you in a stronger position, including:
- Personal attention: Taking the time to examine every angle of your case, developing the right strategy, and advocating for you effectively throughout every stage of the legal process.
- In-depth investigations: From expert witnesses to full-time private investigators, private lawyers can find important evidence or context that might otherwise be overlooked.
- Local connections: A theft defense lawyer familiar with the Winston-Salem court system will have a wealth of knowledge they can use to help you, such as negotiating with specific prosecutors.
If you’re facing the serious consequences and risks of a theft accusation, a skilled legal professional can give you the chance of either being found innocent or minimizing the potential penalties that may be ahead.
Contact the Experienced Winston-Salem Theft Defense Lawyers at King Law Today
At King Law, we understand the seriousness of what you’re going through after being accused of theft. This is not just a legal issue but also a very stressful, emotional, and life-altering time. Our Winston-Salem theft attorneys have years of experience successfully defending a wide range of theft cases in Winston-Salem and we know how to make a difference for our clients. We offer the top-notch legal representation you need to face these challenges head-on and pursue the best possible outcome in your circumstances.
If you’re facing theft charges in Winston-Salem, give us a call at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. You can also complete our contact form. We’re here to answer your questions and to begin the important work of protecting your legal rights.