What should if I am charged with the crime of larceny in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina?
A person is guilty of larceny if that person (1) takes (2) the property of another (3) without permission and (4) with the intent to deprive the owner of it permanently (5) while knowing that he or she is not entitled to it. InNorth Carolina, a person can be charged with shoplifting without ever leaving the store. This means that if you put something in your pocket or your purse, you can be charged with a shoplifting offense. Misdemeanor Larceny is a class 1 offense punishable by up to 120 days in jail. An experienced attorney may be able to demonstrate reasonable doubt and obtain a verdict of “Not Guilty”. In the alternative, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea arrangement that would protect your criminal record. Deferred Prosecution agreements are sometimes available for those who have no previous criminal convictions. For those who have previous criminal convictions, the analysis is more complicated. An effective attorney can almost always help you achieve a more favorable result.
A Word of Caution: Everyday I see people go into court and attempt to handle these types of criminal charges themselves. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it is a disaster. I want to grab those people, pull them to the side and say, "Go get a lawyer before this gets worse, please!" I am ethically forbidden from doing that. I get frequent calls for people or parents asking if I can undo one of these disasters. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I cannot. It is much safer to get an experienced criminal defense attorney from the beginning. If you cannot afford an attorney you may be able to qualify for an appointed attorney if you are poor. In either case, I recommend that you get a lawyer anytime you risk prison or conviction. (A conviction will show up on your criminal record forever).