What Is Considered a Felony Theft in North Carolina?

Among the most common criminal offenses in North Carolina that involve property crimes is theft, which has an estimated 189,973 felony charges.

In North Carolina, the value of stolen property determines whether it qualifies as felony theft, sometimes referred to as larceny. The value of the stolen goods determines how the law classifies theft offenses. When facing this crime, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, but you have to keep in mind that you still have rights, one of which is to consult an experienced professional for legal assistance, as suggested by burglary attorney Joseph Gibbons.

In this article, we’ll talk about felony theft in more detail, how a theft offense can rise to a felony level, and more. Read on to find out how this could affect you or someone you know.

Definition of Felony Theft

Felony theft, also known as larceny, is the unlawful taking of someone else’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. In North Carolina, if the value of the stolen property exceeds a certain threshold, the offense can be considered a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

The value of the stolen property includes the total cumulative value of all items taken during a single theft incident. This means that even if each item stolen might not reach the felony threshold on its own, when combined, they could raise the offense to a felony level. 

Value Threshold for Felony Theft

To be charged with felony theft in North Carolina, it’s important to understand the value threshold that determines whether the offense is classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. 

  • Felony Theft: If the stolen property or services are valued at $1,000 or more,.
  • Misdemeanor: If the value falls below $1,000.

If you’re accused of theft in North Carolina, knowing whether the value of the stolen items exceeds $1,000 can impact the legal proceedings and potential penalties you may encounter.

Types of Felony Theft Charges

Common types of felony theft charges in the state are larceny, embezzlement, robbery, and obtaining property by false pretenses.

Larceny: The unlawful taking of someone else’s property without their consent with the intent to permanently deprive them of it. 

Embezzlement: When an individual who was entrusted with someone else’s property or money fraudulently appropriates it for their own use. 

Robbery: Taking someone else’s property through the use of force, threats, or intimidation. 

Obtaining Property by False Pretenses: Obtaining ownership or possession of someone else’s property through deceitful means.

Each of these types of felony theft charges carries its own set of elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Understanding the distinctions between these charges is important for someone facing theft allegations in North Carolina.

Penalties for Felony Theft

Penalties for felony theft in the state can vary depending on the value of the stolen property and the circumstances of the crime. If convicted, you may face significant repercussions, including imprisonment and fines.

  • Class H Felony: For theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, you could be charged with a Class H felony, punishable by up to 25 months in prison. 
  • Class G Felony: If the stolen property is valued at $10,000 or more but less than $50,000, you may face a Class G felony, carrying a possible prison sentence of up to 31 months. 
  • Class C Felony: If the stolen property exceeds $100,000 in value, the offense escalates to a Class C felony, with a potential prison term of up to 231 months.

Apart from imprisonment, you could also be ordered to pay fines, provide restitution to the victim, and participate in community service or rehabilitation programs as part of your sentence. You can seek legal counsel to handle the complexities of felony theft charges and potential penalties in North Carolina.

Legal Process for Felony Theft Cases

The first step usually involves an arraignment, where you’ll be formally informed of the charges against you and asked to enter a plea. Following this, there may be pre-trial conferences where your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution or explore options for a plea deal. If the case proceeds to trial, both sides will present evidence, and witnesses may be called to testify.

It’s important to have a skilled defense attorney who can challenge the prosecution’s evidence and can effectively make arguments for your case. After the trial, if you’re found guilty, there may be a sentencing hearing where the judge will determine the appropriate punishment. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to sign any plea without consulting your lawyer. 


If you steal property worth over $1,000 in North Carolina, you could be charged with felony theft. Different types of felony theft charges exist, each with its own penalties. If convicted, you could face fines, probation, or even jail time. It’s important to understand the legal process for felony theft cases and seek legal advice if you’re facing these charges.

Leave a Comment