What is Injury to Property in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, Injury to Property falls under the broader Article 23 – Trespass to Personal Property. This section of the North Carolina General Statutes covers the following:

  • Willful and wanton injury to personal property
  • Alteration, destruction, or removal of permanent identification marks from personal property
  • Alteration, destruction, or removal of serial number from firearm: possession of firearm with serial number removed
  • Removing boats
  • Poisoning livestock
  • Assaulting a law enforcement agency animal, an assistance animal, or a search and rescue animal

Injury to personal property can occur in many different ways. Simply put, it’s when one person intentionally damages something belonging to another or makes a specific decision that results in the damage to someone else’s property. For example, if two people get in an argument and one person grabs another’s cell phone and smashes it against the wall, this would qualify as injury to property. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor unless the damage exceeds $200, in which case it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Alteration, destruction, or removal of permanent identification marks from personal property refers to the alteration, destruction, or removal of an identification mark of distinguishing number to conceal or misrepresent the identity of the item. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The alteration, destruction or removal of a serial number from a firearm or possession of a firearm whose serial number has been removed refers to the alteration of any sort of a gun’s serial number, manufacturer’s identification plate or other attempt to disguise the identity of a firearm. It is Class H felony to violate this statute or to be in possession or try to sell a firearm whose identity is concealed in some way.

The removing of boats is a Class 2 misdemeanor in which a person either unties or un-docks a boat, canoe, raft or other marine vessel from wherever that vessel is secured.

The crime of poisoning livestock in North Carolina is a Class I felony and and refers to the willful poisoning of any horse, mule, hog, sheep or other livestock that is the property of another person.

Last is the assault of a law enforcement animal, assistance animal or search and rescue animal. This crime relates to when a person who knows or should reasonably know that an animal is a law enforcement or assistance animal, harms that animal. In this case, harm is defined as any injury, illness, or other physiological impairment; or any behavioral impairment that impedes or interferes with duties performed by that animal. These crimes can range from a Class 2 misdemeanor up to a Class H felony.

Based on the above, it is clear that North Carolina takes very seriously the intentional or willful injury of another’s property. If you are being investigated for this crime or have already been charged, contact a Raleigh criminal attorney for experienced representation.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.