Vehicle Theft and Other Related Charges

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”


Vehicle theft is a crime that is becoming more common in recent years. Vehicle theft is a type of larceny and in some states it is often called grand theft auto because of the value of the stolen property. Charges of auto theft can be extremely serious and a conviction could result in a punishment that might include a jail sentence, fines, retribution, community service, and probation. Vehicle theft can be a complex charge and you may face additional or related charges, as well. A knowledgeable North Carolina criminal defense attorney will help protect your rights and vigorously defend these charges.


car-theft-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x225Felony Theft Charges


While many states have a charge that specifically deals with vehicle theft, North Carolina does not technically have a charge of “grand theft auto.” The charge that is most often used in vehicle theft cases is the general larceny charge. General larceny is covered under North Carolina General Statute 14-72. The value of the stolen property is what elevates the crime to a felony. Any property theft over $1,000 is considered a felony charge. Most, if not all, motor vehicles usually have a value of more than that, so it is typically a felony charge. Although not technically a separate charge, North Carolina typically uses the term “larceny of a motor vehicle.”


Other Vehicle-Related Charges


Vehicle theft charges are very often coupled with other charges depending on the circumstances of the crime. Some of these other vehicle-related charges are:


  • Possession of a Stolen Vehicle – General Statute 14-71.2 makes it a felony to be in possession of a stolen vehicle. Under this law, you can be charged with a crime if you are in possession of or receipt of a vehicle that you have reason to believe is stolen. You also may not transfer such a vehicle.
  • Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle – It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to use a motor vehicle without permission from the owner. This crime differs from vehicle larceny because the perpetrator does not intend to keep the vehicle. Instead, the person wants to use it to “joyride” and will not keep or sell it.
  • Theft of Motor Vehicle Parts – The theft of vehicle parts is a crime. If the value of the parts or repair to the vehicle is more than $1,000, the charge is a felony. For example, recent thefts of catalytic converters may be charged as a felony theft
  • Theft of Motor Fuel – Stealing gasoline is a crime which is generally a misdemeanor due to the value of the property. However, the penalties for a conviction of theft of motor fuel could include the revocation of driver’s license if this is not the first offense.


It is important to note that you could be charged with receipt of stolen property if you purchase a stolen automobile. This can occur if you purchase a vehicle at a price that is extremely low and when the seller does not produce a vehicle title.


If you are charged with vehicle theft or any other related charges, it can have a devastating impact on your life. You can defend these charges with help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today 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.





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