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What is the Difference Between Robbery and Larceny?

In North Carolina, larceny and robbery are criminal offenses involving the unlawful taking of another person's property. While they share some similarities, they are distinct crimes with different elements, penalties, and defense strategies.


Larceny vs. Robbery

Larceny, often referred to as theft, is defined as the unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else's personal property with the intent to permanently deprive them of its possession. To be convicted of larceny in North Carolina, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Unlawful taking: The defendant took the property without the owner's consent.

  • Carrying away: The defendant moved the property from its original location.

  • Personal property: The stolen item must be tangible and movable.

  • Intent to permanently deprive: The defendant intended to keep the property permanently.

Example: Jane enters a store and steals a valuable necklace by concealing it in her bag. Since Jane unlawfully took the necklace with the intent to keep it permanently, she could be charged with larceny if caught.

Robbery is a more serious crime than larceny as it involves the use of force, threats, or intimidation to take someone else's property. Under North Carolina law, robbery is defined as the unlawful taking of personal property from another person, or their immediate presence, against their will, through the use of force, fear, or threats of violence. The essential elements that the prosecution must establish to secure a robbery conviction are:

  • Unlawful taking: The defendant took the property without consent.

  • Personal property: The stolen item must be tangible and movable.

  • From another person: The property was taken directly from the victim or their immediate presence.

  • Against their will: The victim did not willingly give up their property.

  • Use of force, fear, or threats: The defendant employed force, fear, or threats to accomplish the robbery.

Example: John approaches Mary on a deserted street, displays a knife, and demands her purse. Fearing for her safety, Mary hands over the purse. In this case, John could be charged with robbery because he used fear (displaying the knife) to take the purse directly from Mary.


The Role of Experienced Attorneys at Coastal South Law

When facing larceny or robbery charges in North Carolina, it is crucial to seek legal representation from knowledgeable and skilled attorneys. The attorneys at Coastal South Law, with offices in Wilmington and Bolivia, North Carolina, have a proven track record of handling criminal cases with expertise and dedication. Here are a few tactics we can apply to assist someone facing a Robbery or Larceny charge.

Reducing Robbery Charges to Larceny


The attorneys at Coastal South Law can thoroughly investigate the facts surrounding the case to determine if there is a possibility of reducing robbery charges to larceny. We may be able to negotiate with the prosecution, highlighting mitigating factors and presenting evidence to support the argument for a lesser offense.


Negotiating With Prosecutors

Experienced attorneys understand the complexities of negotiating with prosecutors to seek reduced charges or lighter penalties. We can leverage our knowledge of the law and the facts of the case to advocate for the best possible outcome for clients.


Getting Charges Dismissed or Going to Trial

In some instances, the evidence may be insufficient or tainted, leading to the possibility of getting charges dismissed. If a fair resolution cannot be reached through negotiation, the attorneys at Coastal South Law are fully prepared to zealously defend their clients in court.

Contact Us Today

Understanding the distinction between larceny and robbery is vital for individuals accused of these crimes in North Carolina. While larceny involves theft without violence or intimidation, robbery includes the use of force, fear, or threats. Penalties for robbery are significantly harsher than those for larceny, making it crucial for individuals to seek legal assistance from our experienced attorneys.

Our attorneys at Coastal South Law in Wilmington and Bolivia, North Carolina, are well-equipped to provide effective representation, aiming to reduce charges, negotiate with prosecutors, get charges dismissed, or, if necessary, defend clients in court. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, do not hesitate to seek the support of skilled legal professionals who can protect your rights and work toward a favorable resolution. Contact us now for a confidential and non-judgmental consultation.

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