Greenville Theft Lawyer

Theft is among the most common criminal allegations made against residents of Greenville, in large part because it can so easily stem from a misunderstanding about ownership of property or the right to use certain property. Whatever led to you facing criminal theft charges, though, you should know that this offense can be classified as a felony depending on what exactly you are accused of taking and what monetary value it has or represents.

Working with a Greenville theft lawyer is often crucial to minimizing your chances of serious criminal sanctions and effectively pursuing a positive case outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney could explain how local courts typically rule on these types of charges, what options you may have for defending yourself, and what specific consequences you could expect if your case ends with a conviction.

Petit Larceny Versus Grand Larceny

South Carolina Code of Laws §§16-13-30 through 16-13-100 define a number of different offenses involving unlawful larceny of something of value, with specific statutes addressing the theft of bonds, livestock, bicycles, and other unique goods and services. However, S.C. Code §16-13-30 in particular describes the non-specialized offenses of petit larceny and grand larceny, the former of which is a misdemeanor and the latter of which is a felony.

These two larceny charges—as well as the penalties that could come from a conviction—are differentiated by the value of goods and/or services allegedly taken by the defendant. Simple larceny of goods or services with a total value of $2,000 or less is petit larceny, a conviction for which could lead to maximum sanctions of $1,000 in fines and imprisonment for up to 30 days.

Larceny of any combination of goods or services valued at greater than $2,000 is grand larceny punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. If those goods or services are valued at $10,000 or more in total, the maximum penalty for this grand larceny offense increases to ten years in prison. Assistance from a Greenville theft attorney is often crucial to contesting these charges, as the valuation of certain goods and the admissibility of certain types of evidence can often be matters of some dispute.

Additional Civil Penalties for Shoplifting

South Carolina Code of Laws §§16-13-105 through 16-13-120 specifically address the criminal offense of shoplifting, which—like larceny—is either a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether the value of merchandise involved is less than or greater than $2,000. S.C. Code §16-13-110 in particular defines shoplifting as either physically transferring unpurchased merchandise out of a retail store, altering price tags or labels so as to obtain merchandise for less than it is really worth, or transferring merchandise from its original container so as to deprive a retailer of that merchandise’s value.

Notably, in addition to the criminal penalties that would come with a comparable conviction for larceny, individuals convicted of shoplifting offenses in South Carolina may also have to pay civil penalties to an impacted retailer of up to $2,000, depending on the circumstances. A theft lawyer in Greenville could go into greater detail about how these kinds of charges are handled during a private consultation if necessary.

Contact a Greenville Theft Attorney Today

Successfully contesting a theft charge can be tricky even under the best of circumstances, especially if an allegation involves thousands of dollars in goods or services. Given the severe consequences that a theft conviction could lead to, though, you should think twice before trying to argue your case without experienced legal representation by your side.

A qualified Greenville theft lawyer could work with you from start to finish of your criminal trial to protect your rights and look out for your best interests. To learn what an attorney could do for you, call today.