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VERIFY: Is it illegal to remove a political sign from someone's yard?

North Carolina's primary elections are just over a week away. You have probably seen some political signs around Charlotte, and there are rules to keep in mind.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina's primary elections are a little more than a week away, and there are political signs all over the Charlotte area. 

From Senate and House candidates to local city council and other municipal races, supporters are promoting their favorite candidates ahead of Election Day

And while you might be annoyed and who your neighbor is voting for, there are some rules to keep in mind for putting up those signs. 

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THE QUESTION

Is it a crime to remove a political sign from someone's yard?

OUR SOURCES

THE ANSWER 

Yes, it is a crime to remove a political sign from someone's yard.

   

This is true.

WHAT WE FOUND

There are different rules for different places when it comes to putting up political signs. 

"Keep in mind the city of Charlotte and the small municipalities, all the rest of them, they all have their sign ordinances," Dickerson said. "How big or small it can be, and where we can place it also. Keep in mind we have many state roads in Mecklenburg County."

According to NCDOT, primary political signs are allowed along roads until May 27, as long as they're properly placed. 

NCDOT has the authority to remove any signs that violate the rules, create a safety hazard for drivers or interfere with maintenance operations. 

While the state can remove signs, what about an individual? 

"That's considered their property," Aycock said. "Even though it's a temporary sign, that's still their property. They have donated to them or purchased it, and it's in their yard and it's illegal to remove the sign."

Aycock said it would be consisered a crime if you tamper with or take someone's sign from their lawn. CMPD had a similar response, issuing the following statement via email:

"Under North Carolina law: it is a Class 3 misdemeanor for a person to steal, deface, vandalize, or unlawfully remove a political sign that is lawfully placed."

"The best thing is to let the person do their thing and definitely don't mess with their sign," said Aycock. 

Under North Carolina law, a misdemeanor could get you jail time, community service or a fine, depending on the level of the offense. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
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