West Columbia Theft Lawyer

If you face theft charges, you face an allegation of a very serious crime. It does not matter whether the value of the items allegedly taken is low or very high. You need a strong criminal defense in every case. Theft and larceny charges can result in long prison sentences, high fines, and even the loss of certain constitutional rights.

An experienced West Columbia theft lawyer knows how to prepare a defense on your behalf. Your rights deserve protection against these charges, so call today to begin preparing your defense strategy.

Theft Crimes in South Carolina

Under state law, all theft crimes are actually referred to as “larceny” offenses. A larceny or theft occurs when a defendant takes an item of value from its proper owner. It does not matter what the value of the item is in order to qualify as larceny. What does matter is that the taking was unlawful, and the defendant had the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the property.

Although any item of any value may be considered larceny, the type of item or its value can matter in determining which specific statute the crime is charged under. This can greatly impact the potential penalties associated with the offense, including whether the offense is a misdemeanor or a felony. Understanding the risks of the defendant’s specific charges is best done with the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney in West Columbia.

Different Degrees of Theft Charges

Larceny and theft offenses come in different levels. These levels depend mostly on the value of the item or services allegedly taken by the defendant.

Petit Larceny (Petty Theft)

This level of the offense occurs when the theft of an item or services is valued at $2,000 or less. This offense is a misdemeanor, but is still a serious offense with significant penalties attached. If convicted of petit larceny, the defendant will face up to thirty days in jail and up to a maximum of $1,000 in fines.

Grand Larceny (Grand Theft)

This level of the offense can occur in two different ways. The first occurs when the services or property allegedly taken have a value of over $2,000 but are less than $10,000. When this occurs, the offense can result in up to five years in prison and an additional fine at the discretion of the judge.

If the property or services allegedly taken are valued at over $10,000 the offense carries a potential ten-year prison sentence and an additional fine at the discretion of the judge.

Shoplifting Charges

Shoplifting is an offense whose penalties mirror that of larceny offenses, as they are based on the total value of the property taken. Shoplifting more specifically occurs when one of the following types of conduct occur:

  • Removing items from a store without paying full retail value
  • Transferring items to a different container in order to avoid paying full value
  • Removal, alteration, or switching of price tags

While shoplifting charges fit into their own statutory category, they are still serious offenses just like theft. A strong legal defense is necessary to protect a defendant’s rights.

Talk to a Theft Attorney in West Columbia Today

If you face charges of shoplifting or theft you need to contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible. It is critically important that you fight back against these charges with everything at your disposal.

An experienced West Columbia theft lawyer has the knowledge and skill necessary to build you a customized defense. Schedule a consultation today.