In today’s economy, many people find themselves on the wrong side of the law to make ends meet by stealing items from a business. However, shoplifting is a serious crime that carries harsh penalties. Theft crimes can significantly derail a person’s life, as they can face hefty fines and even possible jail time. Regardless of whether you weren’t thinking or felt you had no other options, it’s crucial to enlist the help of a proficient Chesterfield County Theft Lawyer who can defend your rights.
What is Shoplifting?
In South Carolina, shoplifting is considered a form of larceny. Therefore, an individual is guilty of shoplifting if they take or withhold another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of it permanently. However, you may be surprised to learn that shoplifting isn’t limited to the physical act of stealing an item from an establishment without payment. If an individual removes price stages to buy a product for less than its retail price, switches items purchased from other stores, or engages in any actions that intend to defraud a store owner, it is considered shoplifting.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in South Carolina?
Like in other states, the severity of shoplifting charges can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. This typically depends on the value of the stolen property, the type of property stolen, and whether there are any aggravating factors. Essentially, the greater the value of the stolen property, the more severe the penalties.
Similarly to other states, shoplifting charges can range from misdemeanor to felony offenses. This generally hinges upon the value of the stolen property, the type of item stolen, and whether there are any aggravating factors. Nevertheless, the greater the value of the stolen property, the greater the penalties.
If the stolen property is valued at $2,000 or less, it’s classified as petit larceny, a misdemeanor offense. Petit larceny is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a potential fine of up to $1,000. To be charged with grand larceny, the property stolen must be valued at $2,000 or more. If the total value of the goods or services stolen were valued at more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, it’s a class F felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison or a potential fine. Furthermore, if the property stolen was valued at more than $10,000, this felony offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and possible fines.
Will I Be Subject to Civil Penalties?
In addition to criminal charges, you can incur a civil penalty for shoplifting. This is often the case when the item stolen is not retrieved in a re-saleable condition. Therefore, South Carolina courts allow merchants to file civil lawsuits to recover damages of up to $1,500.
If you’ve been accused of shoplifting, please don’t hesitate to contact an adept Chesterfield County theft lawyer from the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C., who can help shield you from the harsh penalties of this offense.