Those accused of stealing at work face felony charges

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

In most cases, the theft of small amounts of money, under $1,000, results in a misdemeanor charge in North Carolina.

While misdemeanor theft charges can be serious, a conviction usually comes with fewer consequences than a felony conviction for theft or a related crime.

But there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, because of North Carolina’s embezzlement law, the theft of any amount of money or property from one’s employer is grounds for a felony charge.

This is true even if it is a person’s first encounter with the criminal justice system. If a person happens to work for a state or local government agency, the possible penalties are steeper.

In North Carolina, all felony charges come with the possibility of a prison term and hefty fines. In addition to criminal penalties, an embezzlement conviction can also make it very hard for a person to find work. This is especially true if the person’s skills involve handling money or being in a position of trust.

Technically, North Carolina’s laws apply even if an employee steals a pen or takes $1 from a cash register.

North Carolina’s embezzlement laws also have a broad reach in other respects. They apply not only to outright physical theft but also to other white-collar offenses, such as misappropriating or misusing an employer’s property.

Those accused of stealing from their employers have legal options

Most employers and government agencies in and around Hillsborough will audit their finances on occasion. It is surprisingly easy for a loyal employee to get accused of financial misconduct as a result of a routine audit or an employer’s investigation into missing funds or property.

Too often, employers and the authorities confuse simple carelessness with criminal behavior. In other cases, an employee may have made a mistake. However, this does not mean that it is right for the justice system to throw the book at the employee.

Whether wrongly accused or not, North Carolina employees who face embezzlement charges or even the threat of such charges should make sure they understand their legal rights and options.