Overall, Greenville South Carolina is a relatively safe city. As reported by the FBI, only around 2000 violent crimes are reported each year in Greenville County, while around 1600 non-violent property crimes are reported each year, such as vehicle theft, petty theft, and larceny charges.
While this doesn't seem like a lot, most criminal researchers agree that somewhere around 50-60% of property crimes are never reported. Because these crimes can be as simple as stealing a pack of bubble gum from a gas station, or a robbery at gunpoint, it is impossible to tell how many actual property crimes and thefts are committed each year.
Because of the global pandemic that has taken over the world in the last year, many people have found themselves in hard times. Some of those people may have turned to theft to make ends meet, and survive, not realizing the severity of the criminal penalties you can face for theft of property or other theft crimes.
Whatever your situation, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. At the TF Law, our Greenville theft lawyers are dedicated to providing the people of Greenville County with experienced legal counsel for these charges and helping our clients put their past behind them, where it belongs.
What are the Different Types of Theft Charges in South Carolina?
There are two main criminal offense theft charges, petit larceny, and grand larceny. In South Carolina, these charges are decided by the value of the stolen items. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor charge that covers any theft of $2,000 or less and comes with up to 30 days of prison time, or $1,000 in fines. Grand larceny, which is a felony charge, covers any theft worth over $2,000. If the act of theft is valued between $2,000 and $10,000, the perpetrator can face up to 5 years in prison, and a fine decided by the judge. Anything worth over $10,000 is punishable with up to 10 years of prison time, and a fine.
While petit and grand larceny are the main theft charges in South Carolina, there is a slew of additional charges that can be added depending on the method of theft. Additional charges can include:
- Grand theft auto
- Identity theft
- Armed robbery
- Writing bad checks or bank fraud
- Fraud, including social security fraud
- Theft of services
All of these various, additional theft crime charges carry harsher penalties than larceny, and these additional penalties can add years onto your expected jail time, as well as thousands, up to millions, of dollars in fines and reparations.
Can I Fight a Theft Charge?
There are many options when it comes to fighting back against theft charges, whether you are facing a petty theft charge, or a grand larceny charge. For a criminal complaint of larceny, prosecutors must prove that the defendant stole something they knew didn't belong to them, they did not have permission to take that item, and they had no intention of returning the item(s). The job of a criminal defense team is to disprove at least one of these three claims.
The route your defense counsel takes is dependent on your charges and the circumstances of your criminal complaint. Your defense lawyer could argue that you had good reason to believe that the item(s) you took either belonged to you, or you had permission to take them. An experienced theft attorney may also argue that you were under duress while committing the crime and that you only committed the theft or crime under threat of bodily harm or blackmail.
The last common defense is entrapment. In these cases, your attorney will argue that you only committed the crime under the encouragement or pressure of law enforcement, who were trying to trick you into committing a crime. For this defense, it is imperative that you and your defense team are able to prove that you would not have committed the alleged crime without the pressure and encouragement from the law enforcement officer you are accusing of entrapment. In these cases, it is imperative that you do not have prior arrests, charges, or convictions for similar crimes.
Learn More: Greenville Juvenile Crime Attorney
We're Here to Help You Fight Your Charge
Theft conviction, or theft charges, may feel like the end of the world, but there is always hope for a positive outcome. If this is your first misdemeanor offense, or even just your first theft offense, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to talk the judge into a light sentence, which may not involve any days in jail or a lighter prison sentence, and could consist of only parole and fines, or a mixture of all three.
For those facing felony criminal charges, there are still options to get your life back on track after you serve your time, and no matter your crime you may be able to clear your criminal record after completing your sentence, through expungement.
Whatever your circumstances, there is nothing more important than getting legal advice, based on extensive experience, from a criminal defense attorney in Greenville. At the law offices of TF Law, our goal is the lightest sentences possible through a strong defense strategy.