Shoplifting Defense Lawyer Greenville, SC
South Carolina sets higher standards than most states when it comes to those charged with the crime of theft. In fact, depending on the value of the property taken (among other factors) you could be looking at a felony charge. Even having a misdemeanor shoplifting charge can affect your future and result in a criminal record. That is why it is important that you seek the legal help of an experienced South Carolina criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been charged with a shoplifting offense.
At the firm of AnneMarie Odom Law, we know what it takes to build a strong defense and work to potentially get your case dismissed or charges reduced. A shoplifting charge can lead to serious consequences, both criminal and personal. You could be facing fines, jail time, community service hours, and a permanent criminal record without proper legal representation. Protect your rights and your future with the help of a law firm with extensive knowledge of South Carolina criminal law. Request the help of Greenville criminal defense attorney AnneMarie Odom today.
What is Shoplifting?
Shoplifting occurs when a person steals a particular item or items from a place of business. The act of concealing or hiding goods among one’s belongings is also enough to be charged with shoplifting in South Carolina.
Say, for example, an individual is out shopping at a public retailer and decides to take an item from the company by placing it in their bag without paying. This is perhaps the most common of shoplifting crimes and may lead to a criminal charge. The same charge could apply to an individual who removes a pricing label and exchanges it for a lower price. For a conviction to take place, however, there must be present the intent to deprive the true owner of their property permanently. Proving a person’s intent is where having a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney could make a considerable difference in your case.
South Carolina Shoplifting Laws
Under South Carolina’s Code of Laws, Section 16-13-30, shoplifting is what is considered a type of “petit larceny.” According to the Code, the theft of any item or property valued at $2,000 or less is petit larceny, which is a misdemeanor.
South Carolina views shoplifting as a serious crime, and a majority of businesses operate with a no-tolerance shoplifting policy. The state takes deeper measures by explaining that not only is a person found guilty of shoplifting when removing an item from a business without payment, but also guilty if found altering material or removing pricing labels. Essentially, any effort intended to cheat the merchant or business by not paying an object’s full retail value is viewed as shoplifting or retail theft under South Carolina law.
Unfortunately, there are many scenarios where false accusations are formed against honest and innocent individuals. Every day, innocent people are accused, charged, and convicted of shoplifting without ever having the intention of committing a crime. If you are accused of shoplifting, you should contact a theft defense lawyer like those at AnneMarie Odom Law right away.
Petit Larceny vs. Grand Larceny
The main difference between petit larceny and grand larceny in South Carolina is the value of the items stolen. Petit (“petty”) larceny is a misdemeanor crime and occurs when the value of the stolen goods are less than $2,000, whereas grand larceny occurs when the property is valued in excess of $2,000 and is a felony offense.
Is Shoplifting a Crime of Moral Turpitude?
Moral turpitude can be defined as an act done foolishly, with wicked desires, one which could disturb the public. A crime committed based on moral turpitude most often involves a form of deceit, an act of fraud, or corruption.
The common denominator in most crimes involving moral turpitude is intent. Typically, the act itself cannot be due to an accident or by being ill-informed. When a crime is committed with intent or the knowledge that the act taking place is against the law, it can be considered a crime of moral turpitude. As such, South Carolina considers shoplifting to be an act of moral turpitude when intent can be proven, which is the basis for a shoplifting conviction.
How Long After Shoplifting Can You be Caught?
In South Carolina, you can be accused of shoplifting even before leaving a store if found with merchandise concealed in your belongings. The accused may not even have to pass the store cash register to be accused of a shoplifting offense. Possible penalties can vary depending on the full retail value of the stolen items.
On the other hand, you can also be caught shoplifting long after you leave the store. This could mean if you committed the act of shoplifting a month ago or longer but were not charged, you can still be charged at a later date. In fact, many stores choose not to press charges until a perpetrator steals a certain amount of property.
South Carolina Statute of Limitations for Theft
The statute of limitations, which is essentially a time limit for how long prosecutors can bring a case against a defendant, varies between states. Usually, the time frame begins on the date the criminal activity takes place.
However, South Carolina law offers no statute of limitations for criminal charges. This means that at any point, a person can be charged with a particular crime. That is why, as soon as you are accused or think you may be under suspicion of shoplifting, you should hire a defense attorney to get ahead of your case before charges are levied against you.
AnneMarie Odom has years of knowledgeable experience to fight the criminal charges against you. If you think you may face criminal charges of organized retail theft or have questions regarding the possible penalties, contact AnneMarie Odom Law as soon as possible.
Penalty for Shoplifting in South Carolina
Criminal penalties for theft crimes can be punishable by possible jail time, fines, and mandated classes. The penalty for shoplifting offenses in South Carolina depends on the full value of the item stolen and the prior criminal history of the defendant. The greater the value of the stolen goods, the more severe the punishment.
Misdemeanor Shoplifting Penalties
Individuals who receive a first-offense misdemeanor shoplifting charge (less than $2,000) can be penalized by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Felony Shoplifting Penalties
If the value of the items is over $2,000 while still less than $10,000, this would increase the charge to a felony and brings a penalty of up to five years behind bars and/or up to $1,000 in fines. When the shoplifting incident involves a value of $10,000 or more in stolen items, the defendant faces a felony charge and up to 10 years in prison and/or $1,000 in fines.
In addition to criminal court, a person who is caught committing a shoplifting crime could consequently face a civil case from the company or store owner, as well. This may result in restitution fees that total the amount of the merchandise stolen to be paid in full to the alleged victim by the person accused. The merchant or place of business can potentially sue the shoplifter according to the state laws of South Carolina.
In addition, a person with two previous property crime convictions (such as shoplifting or any other crime with a dollar value) within the past ten (10) years, will face charges of “property crime enhancement” on subsequent arrests on new property theft crimes. Regardless of the dollar amount value of the stolen items, this becomes a felony crime in South Carolina and calls for up to ten (10) years in prison, if convicted.
Can I Have my Shoplifting Charges Dismissed?
Having a skilled and experienced Greenville criminal defense lawyer is the best way to work towards having the charges against you dismissed. At AnneMarie Odom Law, we know that mistaken identity and false accusations can happen to anyone. Whether you are falsely accused and facing a misdemeanor or felony shoplifting charge, seeking legal advice and guidance from a qualified attorney could be the difference between a case dismissal and serving jail time.
Top Greenville Theft Defense Attorney for Shoplifting Charges
Having a law firm like AnneMarie Odom’s on your side is a necessity if you are facing a felony or a misdemeanor shoplifting offense in South Carolina. We understand the severity of the shoplifting charges against you, but we also know what it takes to keep this legal issue off your criminal record. If you have received felony or misdemeanor charges for shoplifting or a more serious crime, or you fear you have been wrongfully accused of criminal activity, the law office of AnneMarie Odom is here to help. Give us a call today at (864) 775-5833 for a free consultation.
At AnneMarie Odom Law, we are prepared to help you plan a successful shoplifting defense strategy. Call (864) 775-5833 today to schedule a free consultation to go over your legal options, or simply fill out our online intake form to get started.
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