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  • Coastal South Law

Theft in North Carolina

In North Carolina, most theft-related crimes are referred to as larceny. The definition of larceny is on par with most states and includes the taking of property of another, without permission, and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. Other theft-type offenses include breaking and entering (such as burglary), robbery, receiving of stolen property, and shoplifting.

Larceny is treated as a class H felony except where the state statute labels it as a misdemeanor or another degree of felony. A class H felony conviction can result in imprisonment for up to 25 months. If the defendant has a prior criminal record or is considered a repeat offender, the incarceration time may be even longer.

Consequences of Theft Crimes

As if the incarceration time is not bad enough, theft crimes are among those offenses where a conviction may have devastating impacts on you for years to come. Of course theft convictions come with all the possible sentences of other criminal convictions, such as fines, probation, restitution, incarceration, community service, apology letters, and the like. However, larceny convictions have the added possibility of affecting your life beyond the sentence the judge hands down. For example, it may be difficult to find housing with a theft on your record, as many landlords and management companies conduct background checks. Also, it can be tough to qualify for financial loans because financial institutions often look at criminal records. Having a theft conviction leads organizations to believe you are not trustworthy. Because of that, even some employers are leery of hiring people with criminal histories. This is especially true if the job involves the handling of money, such as working at banks and credit unions.

Immigration Consequences of Theft Crimes

Criminal defense attorneys always have to pay close attention to the immigration consequences of allowing their clients to plead to any type of crime. This is even more important when the crime is considered a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT), like theft, which involves the intent to permanently deprive an owner of their property. Certain CIMTs are deportable offenses or make the individual inadmissible. Speaking with your criminal defense attorney about your immigration status is imperative.

Possible Defenses to Theft Charges

  • The defendant did not take the property

  • The property actually belonged to the defendant

  • The defendant had permission to take the property

  • The property was taken by mistake

  • The property was taken under duress

  • The property was taken out of necessity

  • The defendant did not have the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Have you recently been charged with or arrested for a theft-related crime in Southeastern North Carolina? At Coastal South Law, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are ready to fight for you both inside and outside of the courtroom. Having a qualified lawyer by your side during every phase of the process can change the outcome of your case drastically. Pick up the phone today and call 910-253-0411 or visit us online at

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