Misdemeanor Larceny charges form the core of what the justice system defines as Theft Crimes. Typically these charges happen at Stores such as Belk & JC Penny, or between neighbors, where one neighbor ‘Borrowed’ something and the other neighbor claims they never let them ‘borrow’ anything. For a Larceny charge to be a Misdemeanor the value of item taken has to be less than $1,000. If greater than $1,000, this would make the Misdemeanor Larceny a Felony Larceny. To be convicted of Misdemeanor Larceny the state must prove the larceny elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Take Personal Property of Another 3. Carry It Away 5. Knowing that it was Not Theirs To Take
- With Intent to Permanently Deprive 4. Without Consent
When it comes to Defending Larceny charges there are a number of Possible Defenses:BELIEF OF OWNERSHIP – we’ve represented a number of clients who have been charged with Misdemeanor Larceny where they sincerely believed the item(s) in question were theirs, even though they may not have been. For example, someone goes into the grocery store and pays for items but the crate of waters at the bottom of their cart doesn’t get scanned but the cart-pusher thinks it’s been scanned and paid for. The cart-pusher gets outside and is approached by store representatives accusing them of Misdemeanor Larceny. Because the Cart-Pusher had a GOOD-FAITH BELIEF that they had paid for the property and they owned it, they cannot be guilty of Misdemeanor Larceny. This is true even if the GOOD-FAITH BELIEF was FALSE or UNREASONABLE. The Accused has the Burden of Proof when it comes to their Good-Faith Belief, and this is typically difficult to backup with evidence outside of general assertions. CONSENT – the Third Element of Misdemeanor Larceny is this concept of NOT HAVING CONSENT to take the item. This being said, if the owner of property Consents to you having the property, then this is NOT A LARCENY. For instance, a Neighbor 1 gives a Lawn Mower to Neighbor 2, for use to mow their yard. Neighbor 2 is out mowing their yard when the police came out and state that they received a phone call from Neighbor 1 that someone had stolen their Lawn Mower. Because Neighbor 2 had CONSENT to have the Lawn Mower, he is NOT GUILTY of Misdemeanor Larceny. DURESS – Duress is a common Defense to Crimes, which is where someone else forced our client to do something against their wishes. For Misdemeanor Larceny, this could involve threats, blackmail or assaultive behavior to force someone to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. For instance, Two Guys are walking down the street and one of them is holding a knife. The Knife-holder tells the other guy that he wants a new mailbox, and the one in the yard in front of them would be perfect. The Knife-Holder tells the other guy that if he doesn’t get the Mailbox for him, he’s going to stab him. If the man took the mailbox, he would be committing a Misdemeanor Larceny, however because he was under the DURESS, or the threat of being Stabbed, he should not be Convicted of Misdemeanor Larceny.
ENTRAPMENT – Entrapment is where someone induces, or causes someone to commit a crime they ordinarily would not commit. Typically this is seen when Law Enforcement have someone do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. This is a fairly rare defense, because for it to be used, we would have to show that our client had no prior intent or thought process of committing the crime prior to committing it, even if the police were involved.
What is the Punishment for a Misdemeanor Larceny?
Misdemeanor Larceny is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, it’s Maximum Possble Punishment is 120 Days in Jail. Please contact our Lawyers for your Misdemeanor Larceny Case. Call us today at (336) 379-0539 or contact us to schedule a free, in-depth consultation.
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