If you have been charged with a property crime in South Carolina, you may already know that SC law can be confusing and intimidating. Whether you are facing minor charges like shoplifting or serious charges like burglary or robbery in SC, you are going to need a criminal defense attorney on your side to help you gather evidence, get your case dismissed, or try it to a jury.
The best place to get answers to your questions is in your attorney’s office. But, in the meantime, below you will find answers to some of the most common questions that our clients ask us.
10 Common Questions About Property Crime in SC
1. What is a “property crime?”
“Property crime” is a general term that describes criminal acts involving the theft or destruction of another person’s property. The severity of some property crimes are determined by the dollar value of the property that was stolen or damaged. Other property crimes, like armed robbery, are considered violent crimes and carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.
2. What are the different types of property crimes?
Crimes against property range in severity from vandalism and petty theft to armed robbery and arson. Other examples of property crimes are:
- Breach of trust (embezzlement);
- Receiving or concealing stolen goods;
- Robbery; and
3. Is burglary a property crime?
Yes. Burglary is a property crime because it involves breaking and entering into a property that belongs to someone else. Burglary is the most serious property crime in SC – burglary first degree carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and up to life in prison.
4. What is breach of trust?
Breach of trust with fraudulent intent includes embezzlement. The defendant must have a fiduciary, or trust, relationship with the alleged victim, take property or money that was entrusted to them, and use it for their own benefit with a fraudulent intent.
5. Is receiving stolen property a felony?
Receiving stolen goods can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the value of the stolen property in a person’s possession. The higher the value, the more severe the property crime charges.
6. What is the punishment for property crimes in SC?
The penalties for most property crimes that are based on dollar value can range from a fine to as long as ten years in prison, and are determined by the dollar value of the property:
- Less than $2000 is a misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail;
- $2000 – $10,000 is a misdemeanor that carries up to 5 years in prison; and
- More than $10,000 is a felony that carries up to ten years in prison.
Obviously, there are exceptions like burglary or robbery charges that have more severe penalties.
7. What is the definition of “shoplifting?”
Shoplifting in South Carolina refers to one or more of the following:.
- Taking—or trying to take—products out of a store without paying for them.
- Changing an item’s price tag to try to get a non-approved discount
- Repackaging a product to get a reduced price
8. Can property crimes like shoplifting be dropped?
Property crimes are dismissed every day in SC for many different reasons including:
- Unavailability of witnesses;
- Insufficient evidence;
- Victims who choose not to prosecute; and
- Pre-trial diversion programs like PTI that result in dismissal and expungement of your arrest record.
Your criminal defense lawyer in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, or Columbia SC may find unexpected ways to get your case dismissed – it depends on the facts of your case, the results of your attorney’s independent investigation, and sometimes it depends on chance…
9. Can property crimes be enhanced?
In South Carolina, any property crime for which the punishment is determined by the dollar value can be enhanced to a 10-year felony if it is the third or greater offense. So, if you have a prior misdemeanor shoplifting conviction and a prior misdemeanor malicious injury to property conviction, and you are arrested for shoplifting a candy bar at the convenience store, the new charge could carry up to ten years in prison if you are convicted…
Charged with a Property Crime in SC?
The Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorneys at Coastal Law know what you are up against, and they will fight to get your case dismissed, find the best possible outcome, or try your case to a jury.
Contact us right now to schedule a free consultation. Call (843) 488-5000 or send us a note using our online form.