What is the Difference Between Misdemeanor Larceny and Shoplifting in North Carolina?

north carolina larcenyMisdemeanor larceny and shoplifting are not the same crime in North Carolina, but are very similar.

Misdemeanor larceny is Class 1 misdemeanor; shoplifting is a Class 3 misdemeanor. This means the punishment for misdemeanor larceny is higher than the punishment for misdemeanor shoplifting. 

Larceny is the act of taking personal property in the possession of another and carrying it away without the consent of the possessor and with the intent to deprive the possessor of its use permanently knowing that he or she was not entitled to it. 

The State does not have to prove as much for a shoplifting conviction. Shoplifting occurs when a person willfully conceals goods or merchandise of a store without authority and without having purchased the goods or merchandise, and while still on the premises of the store. 

Essentially, misdemeanor larceny occurs when a person takes something away, regardless of whether or not it is from a store. Shoplifting must be from a store, but the goods do not have to be carried away from the store. 

What is you accidentally drop merchandise in your bag? You can be charged for that, and many loss prevention officers do not care if it was an accident. The State would have the burden to prove you willfully concealed the merchandise in order for a judge to convict you of shoplifting. 

Will you be arrested if a store security guard accuses you of stealing? Maybe. The security guard will call local police, and often the officer will simply write you a citation indicating what you have been charged with and when to appear in court. However, you may be arrested if the officer deems it necessary based on certain circumstances. If you are arrested, remember not to answer any questions, with the exception of basic biographical information, without the presence of an attorney. Do not admit to any wrongdoing. 

If you have been charged with misdemeanor larceny or shoplifting in Raleigh or Durham, contact the experienced attorneys at Guirguis Law at (919) 832-0500 for  a free consultation. You may be able to have your charged reduced or dismissed. We are also available by email at info@guirguislaw.com.