Greensboro Shoplifting Attorney

What is Shoplifting?

Being arrested for shoplifting can be a fairly traumatic experience. In North Carolina, shoplifting can be a misdemeanor or a felony offense depending upon the circumstances surrounding the case. The value of the items, whether the items made it out of the store, and your prior record for shoplifting and larceny all come into play when looking at the level of the charge for shoplifting. The shoplifting lawyers at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, understand the nuances of shoplifting charges and how best to help you and your loved ones if they were to be charged with shoplifting from a store in Guilford County, NC.

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How many types of Shoplifting are there in North Carolina?

North Carolina recognizes two different types of shoplifting. Shoplifting is considering larceny or the theft of goods.

Larceny is when someone takes the property of another person or company without that groups agreement or consent.

  • Shoplifting – Concealment of Goods – typically charged as shoplifting in North Carolina. This is charged when a person is caught inside of the store and has not passed the last point of sale. An example of this would be someone puts a video game in their jacket pocket while they’re in store. A loss prevention officer catches the person while they’re still inside of the store. This would be charged as shoplifting concealment of goods.
  • Larceny – the difference between shoplifting and larceny is with the larceny the person has already left the store or they’ve passed the last point of sale. Larceny is generally a higher-level misdemeanor charge than a shoplifting charge. An example of larceny would be the same person makes it outside of the store with the video game still inside their pocket and loss prevention catches them outside of the store with the item. This would be charged as a larceny.

What are the elements of Shoplifting in North Carolina?

For a shoplifting concealment of goods case, the state of North Carolina would need to prove the following elements:

  • A person willfully conceals
  • Goods or Merchandise from a store
  • Without Authority
  • Without having Purchased the Goods or Merchandise, and
  • While Still on the Premises of the Store.

This is found in North Carolina General Statute 14-72.1. Now our Greensboro shoplifting lawyers will go into detail on each element of shoplifting and what these elements actually mean for court purposes.

What is willful concealment for a shoplifting charge?

Concealing goods is considered willful when it’s done on purpose. Meaning that finding goods from a store in your pockets, is accepted as being enough to show it’s on purpose unless there’s evidence to the contrary. In the Guilford County court system we refer to this as Prima Facie evidence.

Do they need to prove I intended to leave the store with the items for shoplifting?

No, they don’t need to show you had the intent to take the items from the store for a shoplifting charge. All they need to show for shoplifting is that concealing the goods was on willful or done on purpose.

Does shoplifting apply to items concealed in people’s homes or just to stores?

Shoplifting only applies to goods or items that are property from a store. The State of North Carolina only recognizes shoplifting merchandise from a store. If you didn’t conceal anything at a store, it’s not shoplifting.

What does it mean to conceal an item without the authority to do so?

If someone at the store gave you permission to conceal the items, then you’d have the authority to do so and the crime of shoplifting has not been committed. For example, if you were speaking with a store clerk and they told you, you could go ahead and put a video game in your jacket pocket because you didn’t have a cart and then take it to the cashier. Before you get to the cashier you’re apprehended by a law enforcement officer. Because a person working at the store gave you the permission to conceal the merchandise then that would mean you had been authorized to conceal and you had not committed the crime of shoplifting. However, if the store clerk later denies that they ever said that, or the camera shows you never spoke with a store associate, the store may still have a shoplifting concealment of goods case against you.

I bought the goods at store, then put them in my jacket pocket, is this still shoplifting?

One of the key elements is that you had not purchased the goods. For example, you go to a store, you buy a stick of gum at the checkout kiosk and then you stick in in your pocket. You at that point had concealed the gum, but you had purchased that gum and therefore have not committed shoplifting.

I took items from the store and walked out of the store with the items in my hands, is this shoplifting?

In order for a shoplifting case to exist, you must conceal the items while in the store. If you don’t conceal the items until after you’ve left the store then you haven’t committed shoplifting. This would be an example of a larceny, whereby the items were taken without permission with the intent to deprive the business of the items while and you were off the premises when caught.

What level crime is shoplifting concealment of goods in North Carolina?

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Shoplifting is a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina if it’s your first offense. However, if you commit multiple shoplifting offenses and are convicted multiple times the level of the shoplifting case increases.

This is my 3rd time being caught shoplifting, what level crime is it?

Let’s work through this together. The first time you’re charged with shoplifting in North Carolina, it’s a Class 3 misdemeanor.

greensboro shoplifting lawyer

Our Guilford County shoplifting lawyers prepared the chart above to help you see exactly how it would work. Let’s say you’re caught again within 3 years, and you were convicted of your previous case. The next time your caught shoplifting would be a Class 2 misdemeanor. If you’re convicted of that shoplifting case, that would give you two shoplifting convictions in a 5 year period, and you’re charged again within that same 5 year period, the third time would be Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Some special sentencing rules applies to shoplifting cases in North Carolina. If convicted of shoplifting, the person must complete at least 24 hours community service in order for the person to receive probation. If it’s the second offense in 3 year, the person may receive probation only after completing at least 3 days in Jail or 3 days (72 Hours) of community service. If it’s the third offense, the term of imprisonment may be suspended only if the person serves at least 11 days in jail.

This is mandatory time, meaning good behavior while in jail will not reduce this sentence.

I served 24 Hours in Jail after I was arrested for theft, can I use that toward the sentences above?

In North Carolina, it’s a strange little caveat, but the first 24 hours of jail time may not be used as credit toward any of the shoplifting sentences above. If you spent two days in jail, you could use the second day, 24 of the 48 hours toward your sentence.

If you’re looking to see if someone is in jail in either the Greensboro jail or the High Point jail: Guilford County Inmate Locator

I was caught shoplifting using a lead or aluminum lined bag, what level crime is that?

This is a Class H felony. One thing about North Carolina law with reference to fraud being involved in a transaction, is when fraud is included or deception, the crime rises to the level of a felony. These aluminum and lead lined bags are typically used to prevent detection by anti-inventory items and because of this the level of the crime is increased to a felony.

I was caught Stealing by changing price tags, what level crime is that?

This is only a crime if those goods with changed price tag are presented for purchase. The tag you changed to would need a lower price than the goods they were placed on. But if you’re caught in the store and have not presented the goods for purchase meaning having gone to the cash register, then this would not fulfill the elements of changing the price tag



This is why you should contact our  – Guilford County & Randolph County – Greensboro, High Point & Asheboro Lawyers to help with your Theft, Larceny & Shoplifting Charges.

Call us at (336) 379-0539  to schedule a free, in-depth consultation with our experienced criminal defense lawyers.

Greensboro Shoplifting Lawyer Google Reviews:

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