Motor vehicle theft is a significant crime in North Carolina. In addition to motor vehicle theft, other crimes can apply when someone uses, damages, or misappropriates a vehicle.
North Carolina does not have a law that punishes auto theft as a distinct crime. Instead, motor vehicle thefts in the state are prosecuted under North Carolina's general crime of larceny (theft).
Someone who takes another’s motor vehicle with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it commits the crime of larceny. Larceny also applies when a person receives or possesses a stolen car. (North Carolina General Statutes section 14-72)
The crime of larceny of a motor vehicle part occurs when a person steals a car part or piece that is valued at $1,000 or more. For the purposes of this law, the total cost of the part includes the replacement cost of the part plus any labor costs involved in having it re-attached or installed.
Larceny of a motor vehicle part is a Class I felony offense. (North Carolina General Statutes section 14-72.8)
In addition to motor vehicle theft, North Carolina law punishes other car-related crimes.
The availability of any legal defense will depend upon the circumstances of each case. However, there are some defenses that are more commonly used in motor vehicle theft charges.
The crime of motor vehicle theft is either a felony or misdemeanor offense, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you steal a car worth less than $1,000 the crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor, while theft of a vehicle worth more than $1,000 is a Class H felony.
A conviction for larceny can result in incarceration, probation, fines, and other penalties. For more information about felony and misdemeanor crimes and penalties, read North Carolina Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences, and North Carolina Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Whenever you’re facing a criminal charge, investigation, or merely have a question about criminal law, you need to talk to a lawyer in your area. Experienced criminal defense lawyers in your area are the only people who can give you advice about your situation. The potential punishments involved, and the availability of various legal defenses will all differ depending on your individual circumstances. You should always consult a lawyer before you make any decision about your motor vehicle theft case.