No one wants or expects to be arrested for a crime like larceny. There are various ways this might happen even if you are actually innocent. This is what you can expect if you face these charges in North Carolina.
Understanding larceny charges
Depending on the value of the property, you can face either misdemeanor or felony larceny charges. Possession of stolen goods worth $1,000 or less can result in a class 1 misdemeanor charge, which carries a jail term of a maximum of 120 days and a maximum fine of $1,000. In some cases, a strong criminal defense may result in lesser charges and avoidance of jail time.
Being found in possession of stolen goods with a value greater than $1,000 results in felony larceny charges. You can be arrested for this crime if the property belongs to another person, if the property is a firearm or if breaking and entering was involved. For a first offense, a conviction may result in up to 8 months in prison. However, the circumstances of the crime can make the penalties harsher.
Defenses to larceny charges
Certain defenses can be used in a case involving larceny. One of the most common is entrapment, which occurs when a law enforcement officer convinces a person to steal something when they ordinarily wouldn’t have done so. However, this defense is the defendant’s word against the officer’s and requires solid evidence to be effective.
A similar defense to larceny is duress; this means that the defendant was forced to commit the crime because they were blackmailed or threatened.
If the defendant believed they were the rightful owner of the property, the belief of ownership or right can be argued. With this defense, the defendant bears the burden of proof to back up their claims.
Consent is another potential defense against larceny charges. For example, if the owner asked the defendant to hold the property so they could file a fraudulent insurance claim, this defense might work if there’s sufficient proof.
You should never take larceny charges lightly. Even if you are not convicted, these charges carry serious consequences.