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South Carolina Theft Crime and Shoplifting Attorneys

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Felonies and Misdemeanors

Most crimes are divided into two main categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Generally:

  • Felonies: Crimes punishable by more than one year in prison and usually are the more serious of the two.
  • Misdemeanors: Crimes where the person faces less than one year in prison and are usually less serious crimes.

Federal vs. State Prosecution – The rules change depending on whether the crime is charged in State or Federal Court. Most criminal matters are dealt with in state courts unless:

  • The crime occurred on federal property
  • A Federal employee committed the crime
  • The criminal activity affects interstate commerce, such as drug trafficking

Theft Laws in South Carolina

Petty Theft and Larceny Laws

South Carolina law refers to all theft offenses as “larceny” – the theft of goods, bank bills, or any other item of value. For the most part, theft in South Carolina can generally be defined as the unlawful taking of property that belongs to another person, done with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property. South Carolina criminal statutes outline several specific theft or larceny offenses. The state also specifically outlines the actions that constitute shoplifting under the law.

South Carolina Shoplifting Laws

Shoplifting can be committed by engaging in actions including taking merchandise from a store, altering or removing price tags, or transferring merchandise to a different container, with the intention of depriving the merchant and without paying full retail value. Under South Carolina law, a person who conceals unpurchased merchandise can be presumed to intend to shoplift the merchandise. Shoplifting in South Carolina is a crime with serious penalties, including potential fines and jail time. In addition to facing criminal penalties, shoplifters can be sued by merchants in civil court to recover damages.

South Carolina Embezzlement Laws

Embezzlement is a kind of property theft and can occur in a variety of circumstances. It occurs when a defendant, who was entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property, steals all or part of that money or property for the defendant’s personal gain. The key is that the defendant had legal access to another’s money or property, but not legal ownership of it. Taking the money or property for the defendant’s own gain is stealing; when combined with the fact that this stealing was also a violation of a special position of trust, you have the unique crime of embezzlement. Get Answers. Get Help. If you have been charged with a property theft or embezzlement-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of property theft charges are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how strong the case against you appears to be, and how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

Gun Laws

South Carolina protects the right to bear arms under Article I, Section 20 of the state constitution, but this does not mean that everyone may carry a gun, or that you may always carry a gun wherever you like. In South Carolina, adults can purchase a handgun without a license. However, you must obtain a concealable handgun license to carry an open or concealed gun in your car or on (or near) your body; unless you are in your own home, on your own property, or at your place of business.

To obtain a concealable handgun license, you must apply at the sheriff’s office in the county where you reside. To qualify, you must pay a $50 application fee and be at least 21 years old; be a resident of South Carolina or a qualified non-resident (someone who owns real property in South Carolina, but is not a legal resident of the state); not be prohibited by state law from possessing a weapon; provide proof of gun safety training; and provide proof of actual or corrected vision of at least 20/40, or provide a valid driver’s license.

South Carolina recognizes concealed handgun carry permits issued by states with which South Carolina has entered into reciprocity agreements, as long as the reciprocal state: requires permit applicants to pass a criminal background check, and requires permit applicants to complete a firearms safety training course.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s website provides a list of states with reciprocity agreements.

Penalties for Gun Carry Violations: It is illegal to carry a handgun in South Carolina without a concealed carry license (unless you are in your own home, on your own property, or at your fixed place of business; or fall into other limited exceptions). Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to ten years in prison, or both. Penalties for carrying a firearm on school premises, in law enforcement offices or facilities, in court facilities, at polling places on election days, in churches or other religious sanctuaries, or in hospitals or medical facilities include a fine of at least $1,000, up to one year in jail, or both.

To discuss your legal options, please contact us or call our office today at (843) 667.0400.