Shoplifting can be charged in one of two ways in North Carolina, either as a misdemeanor larceny case (especially where the value is under $1,000) or as a felony larceny case (where the value exceeds $1,000 or where the person has removed the security device from the item).
In certain cases, a person charged with shoplifting may be eligible for either a misdemeanor or felony first offenders or diversion program. These programs permit the person to reimburse the store, admit guilt, and perform community service. In the case of the misdemeanor, the person will generally be required to complete 75 hours of community service. In the case of the felony, the person will generally be required to complete 225 hours of community service.
It is always advisable to hire alawyer to handle these matters. That’s because the exact terms of the diversion program are sometimes negotiable. In addition, a criminal lawyer in Wake County may be able to negotiate a shorter probationary period during which the community service must be completed, which will reduce the chances of violating the deferral program’s conditions.
In addition, a skilled will be able to defend the person if the person is not eligible for a first offenders or diversion program.
Hiring a lawyer can also be important if the defendant is in the United States on a green card or temporary work visa, or other immigration status. That’s because larceny is a crime of moral turpitude, and may be subject to immediate removal or deportation from the United States. Consequently, if a defendant agrees to a first offender program and writes out a statement of guilt, that statement of guilt may be used against them in deportation proceedings, even if the underlying charge is dismissed.
Hiring a lawyer can be well worth the expense, whether you are an American citizen or a foreigner here in the United States on a visa or permanent resident status.