Qualified legal experience in York, Lancaster, and Chester County
Time is of the essence when you've been charged with a crime. The longer you wait to obtain legal representation, the more time the police have to build their case against you. The right criminal defense attorney will be able to minimize the evidence police are able to collect from you and potentially limit what can be used in court to convict you.
In South Carolina, the severity of the theft crime you can be charged with varies based upon factors such as the value of the item and the circumstances under which it was stolen. The facts obtained by police will determine whether you will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony carrying serious time in prison. Whether you're in need of student representation for a shoplifting charge, or you're facing felony charges for stealing a car, former prosecutor Tom Holland is here to help you with all of your criminal defense needs. Contact Holland Law in Fort Mill or Rock Hill to schedule a consultation with an experienced theft charge lawyer.
What are theft crimes in South Carolina?
Theft is punishable as a felony or a misdemeanor in South Carolina, and there is a fairly vast difference between the two classifications when it comes to sentencing. The range can be anywhere from probation and a fine to a lengthy sentence in prison based on the outcome of your case. In other words, stealing a pack of cigarettes and stealing a car will lead to two very different conversations about your future, unless weapons charges are included.
Take a look at the various theft crimes and sentences under South Carolina law that you could be facing:
- Petit Larceny. Stealing money, goods, or personal property valued at $2,000 or less. This crime is a misdemeanor offense carrying a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Grand Larceny. Stealing money, goods, or personal property belonging to another. As a felony, the court has discretion in the fine levied, but prison sentencing will be severe:
- 5 years if the value of the property is between $2,000 and $10,000
- 10 years if the value of the property is over $10,000
Shoplifting. Taking merchandise from a store without paying for it, altering or removing a price tag to obtain the merchandise at a lower price, or even moving the item from one display to another in an attempt to deprive the store of its full value can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Concealing merchandise before paying for it may also be construed as shoplifting.
- As a misdemeanor you face a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail provided the value is $2,000 or less.
- As a felony you face a fine of $1,000 and/or 5 years in prison when the value is between $2,000 and $10,000. If the value exceeds $10,000 then you face 10 years in prison.
Livestock. Stealing of a horse, mule, cow, hog, or other livestock. This crime constitutes a felony for which the court will levy a fine and sentence you to time in prison depending upon the value of the animals.
- As a misdemeanor: a fine of $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail.
- As a felony, where the value of the livestock is $10,000 or more: a fine of $2,500 and/or face 10 years in prison.
- Dogs. Theft of someone's dog is a misdemeanor carrying a $500 fine and/or 6 months in prison.
Watercraft. Theft of watercraft under state law includes setting someone else's vessel adrift and taking of items from the landing or docked area that belong to the watercraft.
- Felony sentencing when the value exceeds $2,000 includes a fine set at the court's discretion and up to 10 years in prison.
- Misdemeanor sentencing when the value is $2,000 or less includes a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail.
Even when you are charged with a misdemeanor that feels simple enough to handle yourself, you still risk facing time in jail without an experienced defense attorney behind you. More often than not, having legal representation will result in a more favorable outcome for you in the long run than attempting to handle your case alone.
Your future could be in jeopardy
When you steal something, get caught, and are convicted, it's not over once your sentence has been completed. Charges and convictions can have collateral damages affecting job interviews, apartment applications, college admissions decisions, and even prevent you from keeping or obtaining a professional license. Certain offenses may provide an opportunity to have the charge expunged from your record, but it's typically only available for first time offenders under certain circumstances.
Once you have been convicted, your criminal record will be established by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Should you be charged with any future crimes, this record will be accessible by all law enforcement agencies, which may be used in determining future sentences. All information pertaining to your arrest and conviction will be accessible by employers, educational institutions, and any other entity conducting a background check on you.
Why Holland Law LLC is right for you
My time as a prosecutor placed me in the position of hearing many arguments from many defense attorneys over the years. I put that invaluable education to work learning which arguments were the most compelling when it came to charges being reduced or dropped. That experience also taught me how and when to look for signs that a more favorable deal could be negotiated on behalf of a client.
There are times the evidence won't necessarily support the charges against you. Other times it is more a question of the sentence I can negotiate on your behalf if the State insists on proceeding. For some offenses, you could receive an offer of attending pretrial intervention (PTI) and upon successful completion, the case may be dismissed or expunged. You could be sentenced to community service and payment of a fine. There may be various avenues to pursue in lieu of going to jail.
You need a highly experienced Fort Mill and Rock Hill defense attorney handling your case.
There are many forms of theft in South Carolina. If you have been charged with a theft crime of any kind, call me to discuss how I can help you. Don't risk your freedom by handling your case alone.
Defending theft charges to safeguard your future
When you've been arrested for serious charges, such as theft, that your future is at risk. My experience as a former prosecutor will provide you with the legal representation needed to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome. If you have been arrested for theft in York, Lancaster, or Chester County, schedule a consultation at Holland Law in my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue, by calling 803-836-8680, or reaching out to me through my contact page.