There are several important distinctions when it comes to shoplifting crimes in North Carolina, all of which come with serious consequences.

When people in North Carolina think of shoplifting, they may picture someone stealthily taking a small item from a merchant, like a teenager lifting a candy bar from a convenience store. However, these incidents actually can be costly and much more damaging.

Take, for example, this recent case: Last year, a North Carolina man went to Sam’s Club with his ex-wife. According to WNCN, the pair took more than $3,000 in merchandise, including a surround sound system and a laptop computer. He faced and pleaded guilty to multiple charges stemming from the shoplifting incident, including felony larceny. He was sentenced to 142 months in prison.

State law outlines how crimes related to shoplifting may be assessed and prosecuted. The penalties can be severe.

Concealment of goods

There is an important distinction when it comes to the crime of shoplifting, and that is whether or not the person ever leaves the establishment with the goods. When someone simply conceals the item in the store and does not leave, he or she may be charged with a misdemeanor. The merchant can detain the person for a reasonable amount of time and, if the person is a minor, call his or her parents.

If the merchant chooses to press charges under these circumstances, the charge is a misdemeanor, the degree of which depends on how many prior offenses the person has. For first of second offenses, the associated imprisonment may be substituted with community service.

Larceny of goods

Someone who shoplifts an item, or leaves a merchant with the item, could be charged with larceny of property. The degree of these charges is based on how much the stolen goods are worth. If the value is less than $1,000, the person would likely face a misdemeanor. However, the law states that certain circumstances, such as stealing a firearm or an incendiary device, will automatically warrant a felony charge.

When someone shoplifts property worth more than $1,000, the resulting charge would be a Class H felony. Under the law, a Class H felony is punishable by as much as 39 months in prison.

Civil repercussions

It should also be noted that people who have been charged with crimes related to shoplifting could face a lawsuit from a merchant. Merchants are allowed to recover damages when it comes to the cost of any goods that were stolen or consequential losses, such as property damage.

Shoplifting, like any other crime, can jeopardize someone’s future and freedom. It can create a permanent criminal record and prevent someone from obtaining gainful employment. Anyone who has questions about this issue should speak with a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina.

State v. B.S.: Not Guilty Verdict in First Degree Murder Case.

In this case, our client was charged with First Degree Murder in connection with a “drive-by” shooting that occurred in Charlotte, NC. The State’s evidence included GPS ankle monitoring data linking our client was at the scene of the crime and evidence that our client confessed to an inmate while in jail. Nonetheless, we convinced a jury to unanimously find our client Not Guilty. He was released from jail the same day.

State v. S.G.: First Degree Murder Charge Dismissed.

Our client was charged with First Degree for the shooting death related to alleged breaking and entering. The State’s evidence included a co-defendant alleging that our client was the shooter. After conducting a thorough investigation with the use of a private investigator, we persuaded the State to dismiss entirely the case against our client.

State v. B.D.: First Degree Murder Charged Dismissed.

After conducting an investigation and communicating with the prosecutor about the facts and circumstances indicating that our client acted in self-defense, the case was dismissed and deemed a justifiable homicide.

State v. I.R.: Reduction from First Degree Murder to Involuntary Manslaughter and Concealment of Death.

Our client was charged with the First Degree Murder of a young lady by drug overdose. After investigating the decedent’s background and hiring a preeminent expert toxicologist to fight the State’s theory of death, we were able to negotiate this case down from Life in prison to 5 years in prison, with credit for time served.

State v. J.G.:

Our client was charged with First Degree Murder related to a “drug deal gone bad.” After engaging the services of a private investigator and noting issues with the State’s case, we were able to negotiate a plea for our client that avoided a Life sentence and required him to serve only 12 years.