What Is the Offense of Larceny in South Carolina?

Property crimes are classified in various categories, depending on various factors, such as the use of threats, breaking and entering and the value of the stolen property. One of the lesser offenses defined by South Carolina legislators is larceny. However, do not ignore the potential penalties for this type of offense and contact an experienced Greenville criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

Let us explain what larceny is and what it is not and what are the sentences set by the law in our state.

Larceny: Is It the Same Thing as Burglary and Robbery?

As we have already stated, larceny is a lesser property crime offense compared to others, such as robbery and burglary. South Carolina Code 16-13-30 defines this offense as unlawful taking and carrying away the personal property of another, with the intent of permanently depriving them of these.

Unlike burglary, larceny does not involve unlawful entry into a building in order to take property. And unlike robbery, larceny does not involve the use of violence and threats.

A classic example of larceny is taking a purse placed on a bus stop seat while its owner is engaged in conversation with another person.

Instead, this offense is classified based on the value of the property into petit larceny and grand larceny.

What Is Petit Larceny?

The crime of petit larceny refers to the taking of property valued at $2,000 or less. This type of offense is usually a misdemeanor and is tried before the magistrates’ court or municipal court.

The penalties for this offense are:

  • Up to $1,000 fine or
  • Up to 30 days in jail

The conviction will also appear on your criminal record. However, after a period of time, you may apply to have it expunged.

larceny is a criminal offense in South Carolina

What Is Grand Larceny

You will be charged with grand larceny if the value of the property exceeds $2,000. This offense is classified as a felony and the sentencing depends on the value of the goods.

If the value of the property is less than $10,000 you may be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison. If the value exceeds $10,000 the sentence is up to 10 years in prison. The court may decide to impose a fine instead of imprisonment, at a value left to its discretion.

Also, the conviction of grand larceny will remain permanently on your criminal record (it cannot be expunged).

Irrespective of the value of the goods, if you are charged with any type of larceny, you should talk to a skilled Greenville criminal defense lawyer.

What You Need to Know about Larceny by Trick

South Carolina Code 16-13-240 defines the crime of larceny by trick as obtaining any property from its rightful owner “by false pretense or representation”. In other words, it involves tricking the owner into giving something of value by misrepresenting a fact that the perpetrator knows to be untrue.

For example, someone setting up a fake online charity website using a false story and collecting donations for their own purposes is guilty of larceny by trick.

The penalties for larceny by trick are the same as for grand larceny.

How Is the Value of the Goods Determined?

Since the property value makes the difference between petit and grand larceny, one of the first defenses an attorney will use is challenging the amount determined by the prosecution. To this end, the lawyer will request a Restitution Hearing, where expert witnesses on both sides will testify about the value of the items.

The results of this hearing are extremely important for your case, because in many situations the court will also demand you to pay restitution, representing the full value of the property.

Consult with an Experienced Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer!

While larceny carries less severe penalties compared to other property crimes, you still face time in jail, fines and restitution. You should not downplay the negative outcome of this charge.

Instead, contact Boatwright Legal and discuss your case with a skilled Greenville criminal defense lawyer. You will get a clear understanding of what you may expect and start fighting the charges with an experienced legal counsel by your side.

As a new client you benefit from a free case evaluation, so call us today at 864-263-1679!