The holiday season is not cheerful and bright for everyone. Along with all its joys, the holiday season can create a great deal of financial pressure, particularly for those already struggling to make ends meet but who do not want to let down their loved ones by not providing gifts. There are also a great number of social pressures associated with the season, which, when coupled with a pandemic and job insecurity, can result in increased instances of shoplifting. If you have been caught and charged with shoplifting in North Carolina this holiday season, it is important to take action to fight the charges.
How is Shoplifting Charged in North Carolina?
North Carolina does not have a specific criminal charge for shoplifting. Rather, the act of shoplifting is charged as concealment of goods, larceny of goods, or organized retail theft, depending on the specifics of the incident. If you were arrested in the store after being apprehended with goods on your person you will be charged with concealment of goods. If you are apprehended and charged after leaving the store or property you will be charged with larceny of goods. If you are accused of cooperating with another person to steal $1,500 or more in goods over the period of 90 days with the intention of selling it, you will be charged with organized retail theft.
Is Shoplifting a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
How you will be charged and the severity of your penalties depend in large part on the value of the merchandise which was allegedly stolen and on your prior criminal history. Generally, if you are accused of stealing $1,000 or less of goods, it will be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, whereas if you are accused of taking more than $1,000 of goods, it can be charged as a Class H felony. If you are charged with organized retail theft and are accused of taking more than $20,000 in merchandise, you can be charged with a Class G felony, which is punishable by up to 31 months in prison.
What to Do if You Have Been Charged With Shoplifting in North Carolina
If you are facing charges related to shoplifting in North Carolina, it is important to consult with a lawyer so that we can start fighting them as soon as possible. If you do not have a prior criminal history, we may be able to arrange a plea deal with the prosecution so that you can plead to a less serious offense or avoid harsh penalties. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, we also may be able to arrange a strong defense to defeat the charges or even have them dismissed if your constitutional rights were violated or if there were procedural errors made in the investigation or arrest.
Contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Coastal South Law
If you are currently facing charges related to shoplifting in North Carolina, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Coastal South Law are ready to help. Do not let this mistake turn into a lifelong punishment. Contact Coastal South and schedule a consultation today.