Summerville Theft Lawyer

Allegations of theft can result in serious criminal penalties, including jail time, high fines, and a criminal record. Under state law, theft crimes are all lumped under the term “larceny” to represent the taking of any item of value. Prosecutors take theft crimes seriously, whether the property taken was of little value or incredibly expensive. If you face theft charges, you need a strong defense crafted by a skilled attorney. Reach out to an experienced Summerville theft lawyer to get started on your case.

Defining Theft Under State Law

South Carolina does not define “theft” under its criminal statutes. Instead, it refers to all of these offenses as “larceny.”  Any item of value that is stolen from its rightful owner falls under one of the larceny categories as defined by state law.

Generally speaking, theft is considered an unlawful taking of any property that belongs to another individual and the taking is done to deprive them of that property permanently. The state sets out several unique larceny statutes for certain types of items, such as dogs, livestock, motor vehicles, and more.

Petit Larceny

This low-level offense is also known as petty theft under state law. This offense occurs when the theft of property or services is valued at $2,000 or less. While this offense is much less serious than other theft crimes, it still carries a potential criminal sentence and the risk of a criminal record.

If convicted of petty theft, a criminal defendant could face a jail sentence of up to thirty days or a fine up to $1,000. A strong defense may be able to avoid this type of punishment, or reduce it to a less severe level.

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny, also known as grand theft, is a felony offense. This offense is divided into two categories, based upon the value of the items or services that were taken by the defendant.

Grand larceny of services or property valued at more than $2,000 but less than $10,000 is punishable by a term in prison of up to 5 years, and a fine depending on the decision of the court.

Grand larceny of services or property valued at more than $10,000 is punishable by up to ten years in prison, and a fine depending on the decision of the court.


Another specific form of theft crimes under state law is for shoplifting. To constitute shoplifting the defendant must have intent to deprive the owner of the store the retail value of the merchandise. Shoplifting can occur in many ways, such as:

  • Removing any products from the store without paying its full value
  • Moving or transferring merchandise to different containers without paying the merchandise’s full value
  • Switching, removing, or altering price tags in an attempt to pay less than full value for the item

While shoplifting is set under a different code section than larceny, the penalties are the same. The punishments are based upon the value of the items stolen, just as described in the section above. Additionally, shoplifting is a property crime. Individuals with three or more property crimes can face enhanced penalties, which include up to 10 years in prison.

Speak with a Theft Attorney in Summerville Today

A theft conviction can result in severe criminal penalties, even when the value of the items taken are small. It is critical that you defend your case against the allegations of the state.

A Summerville theft lawyer can defend your case as well as your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.