Columbia Shoplifting Lawyer

Despite what some individuals may believe, shoplifting may result in significant legal penalties upon conviction. These types of penalties may include a permanent criminal record, expensive fines, and jail time. If you or a family member were arrested and charged with a retail theft offense, consider reaching out to a committed Columbia shoplifting lawyer. A knowledgeable theft attorney could review the factors surrounding the alleged incident and work to identify potential legal strategies that may be applicable. Call and arrange for an appointment to begin discussing ways of developing credible legal defenses.

Understanding a Shoplifting Offense

Shoplifting is different than larceny as those offenses typically involve taking possessions from a particular individual. In South Carolina, shoplifting is where a person in a store takes possession of an item in one area of a store, then moves it to another part, or they conceal that item with the intent to deprive the merchant or the retail establishment of that item for the possession, use or the benefit of that merchandise without paying the value. Those elements and the definition can be found in the South Carolina Code, Section 16-13-110. A person facing any type of shoplifting offense should speak with a skilled Columbia shoplifting lawyer to begin outlining a credible legal strategy.

Elements of a Shoplifting Charge

A person may be convicted for a shoplifting offense if they take possession or carry away an item with the intent to deprive the merchant or retail store the use or possession of that item’s full retail value. This also extends to changing the stickers which price the items. In most incidents, a person does not need to leave the store with the merchandise to be charged with shoplifting. If law enforcement and the prosecution believe a person intended to conceal an item and deprive the retailer of the item’s value, that individual could be charged with shoplifting. For example, if someone is in Walmart and they put a USB Bluetooth speaker in their pocketbook, and the police believed that the person put in it in their pocketbook with the intent not to pay for it and to steal it, that person could be arrested for shoplifting.

Potential Penalties

The penalty for an initial misdemeanor shoplifting offense typically carries up to 30 days in jail. However, a person with two prior shoplifting convictions could receive a felony charge and face up to 10 years of incarceration on their third arrest. This offense does not need to be shoplifting and may include any minor property related offense.

Consulting a Reliable Shoplifting Attorney in Columbia

An arrest for shoplifting can be embarrassing and lead to significant legal consequences. Someone who faces such charges is highly encouraged to contact a dedicated Columbia shoplifting lawyer. A seasoned theft attorney could examine the factors surrounding the allegation and identify possible legal solutions that may be effective for your case. While penalties for a first time shoplifting charge may seem minor, a conviction could result in difficulty obtaining future employment opportunities or even acceptance into institutions of higher education. If you or a family member is charged with a shoplifting offense, schedule an appointment with legal counsel who is well-versed in such cases immediately. Start building a credible defense today.