Olsinski Law Firm team


Shoplifting, which is also known as misdemeanor larceny, is a crime that involves taking goods from a retail store or concealing items while still in the store. Like other theft crimes, the penalties for shoplifting depend upon the value of the merchandise or goods involved. However, generally, shoplifting can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. In either case, a shoplifting conviction can have a significant impact on your future, including your educational and employment opportunities.

If you are facing shoplifting charges, the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, can help. With more than two decades of experience defending clients charged with all types of theft crimes, our attorneys understand how to successfully defend against even the toughest shoplifting cases. We also offer free consultations to all prospective clients.

Examples of Shoplifting Under North Carolina Law

Most people are familiar with the crime of shoplifting; however, North Carolina’s shoplifting law is quite broad and covers conduct that may come as a surprise. For example, the following are all examples of situations that may give rise to shoplifting charges:

Concealing Merchandise: In North Carolina, a person commits shoplifting if they conceal merchandise inside a store. For example, hiding a cosmetic product inside a purse while still inside the store and attempting to leave without paying for it is considered shoplifting.

Altering Price Tags: Changing the price tag of an item to pay less than the marked price is also considered shoplifting. An example is when a person swaps the price tag of an expensive piece of clothing with a cheaper one, attempting to purchase the clothing at a lower price.

Using a False Container: Shoplifting also includes using a false container to take merchandise. For instance, placing an item inside a different product's box with the intention of not paying for the item is a form of shoplifting. This could occur if someone puts a small, expensive item inside a larger, less expensive item’s box.

In each of these cases, the crime occurs either when the item is concealed or when the item is presented to the cashier, not when the buyer leaves the store. Thus, security officers are lawfully able to stop anyone they believe to be holding concealed merchandise.

Is Shoplifting in North Carolina a Misdemeanor or Felony?

In North Carolina, shoplifting can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and the value of the goods that were allegedly stolen.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting

Most shoplifting offenses are charged as misdemeanors. Shoplifting is a misdemeanor when the value of the stolen goods is under $1,000. Misdemeanor shoplifting is a Class 3 if it is your first offense. However, if you have one prior conviction within the past three years, you’ll face a Class 2 misdemeanor. Finally, the crime will be graded as a Class 1 misdemeanor if you have two prior convictions for shoplifting within the past three years.

Felony Shoplifting

Shoplifting can escalate to a felony charge under certain conditions, for example, if the value of the allegedly stolen goods exceeds $1,000. Felony charges can also apply in cases involving more sophisticated methods of theft, like organized retail theft or using fraud and deceit.

Additionally, other related charges, like possession of shoplifting tools, can influence whether the crime is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony. The determination of the charge level is ultimately at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney, based on the evidence and circumstances of the case.

Are You Looking for a Qualified Charlotte Shoplifting Lawyer?

The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, represents clients charged with all types of theft crimes and has extensive experience in defending individuals accused of shoplifting. We take every one of our clients’ cases personally, creating compelling defenses designed to reach the best possible result. We also make ourselves available to speak with you about your case, so you don’t have to worry about having unanswered questions or not being able to convey important information to your lawyer. To learn more about how we can help you defend against the allegations against you, give the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, a call at 704-405-2580 or fill out our secure online contact form.

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