Theft Charges and Penalties in South Carolina

Being charged with theft can result in prison sentences and heavy fines. Some penalties are extremely severe if your crime is classified as a felony. The best chance you have to fight theft charges is to hire an experienced Anderson criminal defense lawyer.

Let us discuss the various types of theft charges in our state and the potential penalties you may face if you are convicted.

1. Petit Theft or Petty Theft

South Carolina legislators classify theft offenses based on the value of the stolen property. Petit or petty theft is the offense of illegally taking items with a value of $2,000 or less.

This offense is classified as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000.

2. Grand Larceny

If the value of the stolen goods exceeds $2,000, the charge is grand larceny. The legal classification and potential penalties are further divided based on the total value of the property.


  • Less than $10,000 – class F felony, carrying a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a fine at the court’s discretion
  • More than $10,000 – class E felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine at the court’s discretion

3. Shoplifting

You may be charged with shoplifting in South Carolina for any of the following actions:

  • Taking, moving or hiding products without paying their price
  • Changing or removing price tags from items
  • Switching the packaging or container of an item with another item
  • Failing to scan a product in the self checkout lane

theft is classified depending on the amount taken

The classification and potential penalties for shoplifting are similar to the ones for the previously discussed theft charges, based on the value of the goods:

  • Up to $2,000 – misdemeanor
  • Between $2,000 and $10,000 – class F felony
  • Over $10,000 – class E felony

Beside the criminal charges, you are also likely to face civil charges, as the retailer may sue you to recover the value of the stolen goods.

4. Obtaining Property under False Pretenses

In our state, it is against the law to obtain any item through misrepresentation or lies. For example, someone setting up a false crowdfunding campaign to collect donations for a fictitious cause will be charged with this crime.

In some cases, you may be charged due to a misunderstanding. Even though you believe you can resolve it, you should still discuss it with an Anderson criminal defense lawyer.

Once the charges are filed, the prosecution may not agree to drop the case, even if the person accusing you of theft says that the matter was cleared up. As for the penalties, they follow the same value-based pattern explained here.

5. Embezzlement

Embezzlement is one of the many so-called white collar crimes, which refer to financial fraud. In this particular instance, embezzlement means stealing or misappropriating funds from an employer.

It can take many forms such as:

  • Transferring work checks into a personal account
  • Taking money out of the cash register
  • Stealing business property (office equipment, merchandise, etc.)
  • Increasing product prices to keep the excess money
  • Modifying employee time cards or pay sheets
  • Creating a nonexistent employee file on the payroll

This type of offense is classified as a felony irrespective of the value of the stolen property.

Consult with an Experienced Anderson Criminal Defense Lawyer!

All theft charges are severe, irrespective of the potential penalties. The conviction will appear on your criminal record and will have a negative impact on your life for a long time.

Do not try to fight these charges on your own. Instead, talk to an experienced Anderson criminal defense lawyer and let them find the best tactic to fight the charges.

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