Auto Theft in North Carolina

9Auto Theft in North Carolina

Auto theft is another term for stealing a car. Car theft is a serious crime, and it pertains to all types of motorized vehicles. Auto theft crimes in North Carolina fall under the general category of larceny. If you are convicted of an auto theft crime, you could face numerous penalties, and it could limit your ability to get a job, obtain a scholarship, get an apartment, seek a loan, and more. It is critical to vigorously defend auto theft charges with help from a qualified North Carolina criminal defense attorney.


What is Larceny?

North Carolina does not have a specific crime known as grand theft auto in other states. Instead, car theft falls under the crime of larceny. Larceny is the taking of someone else’s property without permission. Larceny may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the details of the case. The crime of larceny includes receiving stolen goods and possessing stolen property. You must have reasonable grounds to believe that the property is stolen to be guilty of possession of stolen property.


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Class H Felony

Larceny is a Class H felony in cases where the value of the stolen vehicle is above $1,000. A Class H felony charge also applies to those who are in possession of or sell a stolen vehicle. If convicted of a Class H felony, you could face penalties of between four months and 32 months in prison, along with potential fines, probation, and community service. Most vehicles have a value of more than $1,000. However, if the value of the vehicle is under $1,000, the larceny charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The sentence for Class 1 misdemeanor is up to 120 days in


Other Charges May Apply

There are additional charges that may apply to stolen vehicle charges. For example, if you stole a vehicle from a person, it may be considered carjacking. Carjacking, stealing a vehicle when someone is inside, is a Class G felony. If you are convicted of a Class G felony, you will face a sentence of from eight months to 31 months in prison. The charges will depend on the specific circumstances of the situation. You will want to vigorously defend larceny charges, whether they are considered misdemeanor or felony charges.


Defending Auto Theft Charges

If you are charged with auto theft (larceny), you will want to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. There are possible defenses to larceny charges. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to help get charges reduced so you will face lesser penalties. If you are found guilty of larceny, the judge may have some leeway in handing down your sentence. Your attorney will present factors to mitigate your sentence. Mitigating factors are those that may help you receive a reduced sentence. For example, if you do not have a criminal record, the judge may use this factor to give you a more lenient sentence.


Auto theft charges are serious, and you cannot take them lightly. If convicted of a felony, it could impact all aspects of your life for years to come. Do not wait to call an attorney. Contact us at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to schedule a consultation or find additional resources here.






The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.



G.S. 14-72 (

CARJACKING | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary


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