A Greensboro criminal defense attorney explains how the State proves misdemeanor larceny.
At law, crimes are said to be made up of elements, parts of the crime, without which there is no crime. In other words, in order to convict a person of a given crime, the State is required to prove all of the elements, or parts, of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Misdemeanor larceny is a statutory crime defined at N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-72(a). The elements are:
(2) The personal property of another
(3) Carrying it away
(4) Without the consent of the lawful possessor
(5) With the intent to permanently deprive the possessor of use.
Element 1 is satisfied by the defendant having the property, even if only for an instant. Element 2, personal property, is “moneys, goods, chattels,” etc. N.C. Gen. Stat. §12-3(6). Element 3 can be satisfied by moving the property less than a yard: in one case, a defendant removed an air conditioner from a window and moved it 4 to 6 inches, and this was sufficient to meet this element. State v. Carswell, 296 N.. 101 (1978). Element 4 just means that the defendant took the property without permission. And, finally, element 5 means that the defendant took it with the intent of keeping it away from the lawful owner for ever; this element is often an issue in joy ride cases: where a person takes a car, rides around in it for a while and then returns it – that’s not a larceny, that’s unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.