If you are accused of any kind of theft in Columbia, South Carolina, you need to know what to expect. To begin with, the law defines theft charges as larceny. This includes any crime that involves stealing from an employer, a business, a neighbor, a friend, a family member, etc. Whether you are accused of shoplifting or stealing a car, you are facing larceny charges. Today, we’ll discuss the different types of larceny charges that you may be up against and how a Columbia, South Carolina, criminal defense attorney from the Michael Jeffcoat Firm can help you get the best possible outcome in your case.
What Kind of Larceny Charges Are You Facing in Columbia, South Carolina?
There are different types of theft or larceny charges that you may be facing in Columbia, South Carolina. The charges will be more severe for crimes that involve a high value theft and for crimes committed by those with a criminal history. You may be facing a misdemeanor charge for petty theft or petit larceny, or you may be facing felony charges for grand larceny. Grand larceny is further divided into two categories, based on the value of the stolen property, making things even more complicated. Following is a quick guide to understand which charges you or your loved one may be facing:
- Petty Theft / Petit Larceny: Petty theft or petit larceny is a misdemeanor crime in which the value of the stolen goods, services, or money is not greater than $2,000. Your consequences may include a jail sentence of up to thirty days and fines of no more than $1,000. This fine is a criminal consequence and does not include any civil consequences (lawsuits) that may also arise from the crime.
- Grand Larceny: Any theft of goods, money, or services that is greater than $2,000 will constitute a felony grand larceny charge. If the value is still less than $10,000, then the charge and consequences are not as serious as if the value is over $10,000. You may face up to ten years in prison and fines as high as the courts deem reasonable for the crime.
Different Types of Theft and the Potential for Misunderstandings Leading to Criminal Charges
Some forms of theft that could fall into either category include theft of personal property from someone’s home or vehicle, theft from your employer, and shoplifting. It all depends on the value of what was stolen in any case. Crimes that involve the theft of a vehicle, a boat, expensive jewelry, or another high cost item are likely to fall into one of the two categories of grand larceny.
There are many different types of theft, and in some cases, misunderstandings and mistakes lead to criminal charges. Depending on the situation, you could have your charges dropped or reduced. Some examples of different types of theft include the following:
- Vehicle theft
- Boat theft
- Jewelry theft
- Financial theft
This list is not all inclusive, and you could face criminal charges for larceny involving a wide variety of properties. In many cases, however, it can be successfully argued that the theft was actually a misunderstanding or mistake. For instance, you may have picked up a phone or wallet that looked like yours, that you thought was yours, by mistake. Or you may have simply driven your vehicle away from your friend’s house without realizing that they left their wallet in the car. In other cases, someone might have given you permission to borrow a vehicle that wasn’t theirs to lend. To illustrate, imagine that Person A is borrowing the vehicle from Person B. Person A loans the vehicle to you without Person B’s knowledge. You are completely unaware that the vehicle does not belong to the person who leant it to you. Yet, Person B presses charges, indicating that you stole the vehicle.
There are also many situations that arise from misunderstandings in shoplifting cases. Shoplifting includes any of the following actions:
- Intentionally leaving a store with an item you did not pay for.
- Changing or switching the price tag on an item to make it cost less.
- Hiding one item inside of another item to avoid paying.
- Consuming a perishable item while shopping and not paying for it.
As you can imagine, there are many ways that you could be caught shoplifting without ever having intended to do so. You might have accidentally missed an item in your cart. You might have not realized that someone else switched the prices on a product or hid a product inside of another product. If you purchase a backpack, for example, you may not know that another customer came before you and filled it with CDs or jewelry. You might only discover this as you walk out of the store and hear the alarms. This can be especially serious with high cost items, which could lead to a felony charge.
It can be difficult to argue that you didn’t know because this is naturally a common excuse that is used by those who knew very well what they were doing. It is important to have a skilled Columbia, South Carolina, criminal defense attorney on your side in such cases. Do not assume that your innocence means that you will not still face the consequences by being found guilty. Also, do not assume that you are going to be found guilty simply because you were arrested. Avoid making any assumptions and avoid making any statements to the police until you’ve spoken to an attorney.
Contact the Michael Jeffcoat Firm for a Skilled Columbia, South Carolina, Criminal Defense Attorney
The most important thing you can do when you are facing larceny charges in Columbia, South Carolina, is to seek a free case evaluation with a criminal defense attorney from the Michael Jeffcoat Firm. You want to either get your charges dropped or reduced or minimize the consequences that you’re going to face. If you are innocent, then you need a skilled criminal defense attorney in Columbia to defend your innocence. If you are guilty, then you need a skilled attorney to get the best possible outcome. Call today for a free case evaluation.
Mr. Jeffcoat, a native of the Columbia area, founded the law firm in 1999. Mr. Jeffcoat got his undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1994, majoring in Political Economy and Philosophy, and then went to the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1997. After working in two law firms following his graduation from law school, Jeffcoat ventured out on his own to launch The Jeffcoat Firm in March of 1999.