What’s the Difference Between Petty and Grand Larceny?

When someone steals an item of value, how much the item is worth dictates how a prosecutor would charge the alleged thief. The defendant will be charged with either petty or grand larceny, depending on how much the item costs.

Larceny can cover everything from retail theft to cars, jewelry, animals, and firearms. How much the item costs and the conditions in which the item was stolen will affect if you’re charged with petty or grand larceny.

What Is Petty Larceny?

North Carolina deems petty larceny as the theft of an item under $1,000. Larceny is when you take someone’s property without their permission, knowing the property doesn’t belong to you.

Petty larceny is considered a misdemeanor under North Carolina law.

The penalties for petty larceny depend on the cost of the item, where it’s stolen from, and past criminal record.

For first-offense shoplifting charges, North Carolina deems this a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Class 3 misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. Prosecutors would upgrade a second offense within three years to a Class 2 misdemeanor. This can carry a sentence of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If the thief is convicted of misdemeanor larceny, it is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 120 days in jail, and a judge will determine the fine based on the crime.

What Is Grand Larceny?

Grand larceny is when someone steals an item valued at more than $1,000.

Grand larceny charges may also be considered a felony if specific criteria are met.

In order for a prosecutor to upgrade larceny to a felony charge, the act must have included a robbery of a person, burglary, or the theft of an explosive device or firearm.

Larceny can also include:

  • Receiving stolen goods that you knew were stolen
  • Possessing stolen goods
  • Removal of a shopping cart from shopping premises
  • Larceny of gasoline
  • Larceny of goods from a construction site
  • Chop shop activity
  • Larceny of motor vehicle parts

If convicted of grand larceny or a Class H felony, offenders will be sentenced to 4-24 months in prison. However, the typical sentence is 5-6 months in jail.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With Larceny?

Call The Knox Law Center immediately if you’ve been charged with petty or grand larceny. We offer complimentary criminal consultations to help you build a robust case.

Misdemeanors and felonies can derail your entire life, so the best case is to avoid conviction, which starts with quality legal representation.

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