man breaking into someone's home

Mitigating Factors for Larceny in NC

By Joel Hancock

North Carolina defines theft, or “larceny,” as the wrongful taking and carrying away of another person’s property without their consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property.  There are many different types of larceny, including:

  • Receiving stolen goods – the act of knowingly buying or receiving a property that is stolen. 
  • Obtaining property by false pretenses – the theft of property by deceit or fraud. 
  • Shoplifting – the theft of goods or services from a store.
  • Embezzlement – the theft of property or money by someone who was entrusted with it. This most commonly occurs with employees of a business.  

Types of Larceny

There are two types of larceny under North Carolina state law: 1) misdemeanor larceny; and 2) felony larceny. Larceny is considered a misdemeanor when the property that has been taken has a value of less than $1,000. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor and can result in a punishment of up to 120 days in jail. Alternatively, felony larceny involves the taking of property that is valued at more than $1,000. Felony larceny is considered a Class H felony and is punishable by up to 25 months in prison. 

It should be noted that the specific penalties associated with theft in North Carolina will depend upon the particular facts and circumstances of the case. 

Mitigating Factors

Even in cases in which the theft of property is not contested, there may still be mitigating factors when it comes to the penalty. Common questions surrounding mitigation:

  • How old the defendant is and what their mental capacity is (e.g., a minor child who lacks decision-making abilities, who picked something up may be a mitigating factor).
  • Whether the defendant intended to steal the property (e.g., the defendant put their coat down and accidentally picked up someone else’s may be a mitigating factor).
  • Whether the defendant has a prior criminal record (if no, may be a mitigating factor)
  • Whether the value of the property was relatively low (e.g., stealing a toothbrush vs. stealing a diamond).
  • Whether the defendant was threatened or coerced into committing the theft.
  • Whether the defendant tried to return the stolen property or offered to pay for it (restitution).

Since the facts and circumstances of each case of theft vary, any of these mitigating factors could possibly result in a reduced sentence.

It is important to note that each case is unique, and the presence or absence of these mitigating factors may not always result in a reduced sentence, but how you present your case and these factors can make a big difference. That’s where an attorney can help. 

Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with Larceny

If you or a loved one has been charged with larceny, it can be a scary time. However, it’s essential to understand that you have rights. Your best bet for avoiding or mitigating punishment is with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who understands what you are up against and will fight on your behalf. 

At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight this charge. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Joel Hancock is a native of Carteret County, NC. He devotes 100% of his practice to defending those accused of traffic infractions, DWI, misdemeanors, and felonies in Carteret County, NC.