South Carolina Theft Lawyer

Although some people might think of it as a cut-and-dry offense, theft is often a complicated criminal offense.  Ownership may be mistaken, intentions may be misinterpreted, or items may simply be misplaced.  Whatever circumstances led to you facing theft charges, it is important that you take your case seriously, as the consequences for a conviction could permanently impact your future and freedom.

An experienced South Carolina theft lawyer could be an important ally in your fight against criminal prosecution based on accusations of theft.  After reviewing the case against you and hearing your perspective on what happened, a criminal defense attorney could work tirelessly and tenaciously on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome to your criminal trial.

Theft Charges Defined Under State Law

One of the primary reasons why theft cases can be so complicated in South Carolina is because there are so many different theft-related offenses defined under state law.  Most of these offenses have to do with the theft of a particular type of good or service, for example, South Carolina Code of Laws §16-13-60 covers the unlawful stealing of dogs, and South Carolina Code of Laws §16-13-80 criminalizes the larceny of bicycles.

In general, though, most theft charges fall under South Carolina Code of Laws §16-13-30, which differentiates between simple—or “petit”—larceny and grand larceny based on the total value of all goods and/or services allegedly taken. Simple larceny of $2,000 or less in total value is a misdemeanor that could result in a 30-day jail sentence and/or $2,000 fine upon conviction at most.

Grand larceny of more than $2,000, on the other hand, is punishable by a maximum of either five or 10 years in prison depending on whether the total value of goods or services taken exceeds $10,000.  Assistance from a seasoned South Carolina attorney could be critical to effectively contesting either type of theft charge.

Defending Against Larceny Allegations

When it comes to fighting against theft charges, two terms are crucial to understand: “knowledge” and “intent.” In order to convict someone of any theft charge, a South Carolina prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had knowledge that they were not the lawful owner or possessor of allegedly stolen property or services and intended to unlawfully deprive the rightful owner or possessor of that property or service.

Accordingly, experienced theft lawyers in the area often begin building defense strategies in these kinds of cases by determining whether the prosecution has enough admissible evidence to prove that the defendant actually stole something in the first place, that they knew they were stealing it, and that they intended to take it for their own gain and/or someone else’s loss. In rare situations, it may be possible to get theft charges dropped or a not guilty verdict by proving a viable defense at trial.

Seek Help from a South Carolina Theft Attorney

No matter whether your theft charges are considered misdemeanors or felonies, you should not attempt to take on your case without guidance from a professional attorney.

If you want to maximize your chances of a good case result, retaining an experienced South Carolina theft lawyer should be a top priority.  Get in touch to set up a private meeting and discuss the possibilities in your situation.