In simple terms, under South Carolina law, there are three levels of stealing: larceny, common law robbery and armed robbery. This article deals with robbery and armed robbery
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: What is Robbery?
As noted, “larceny” is the technical legal term for what most people call “stealing.” Shoplifting is an example of larceny. Larceny is the taking and carrying away of the goods of another against the owner’s will or without his/her/their consent.
Under South Carolina law, the crime of “robbery” is an aggravated form of larceny. Essentially, “robbery” is larceny done with force, violence or the threat of violence. Robbery in South Carolina is defined by common law. This is reflected in the Criminal Code which states simply that “[t]he common law offense of robbery is a felony. Upon conviction, a person must be imprisoned not more than fifteen years.” See S. Car. Code, § 16-11-325.
Under the common law, robbery “.. is defined as the felonious or unlawful taking of money, goods, or other personal property of any value from the person of another or in his presence by violence or by putting such person in fear.” State v. Parker, 351 S.C. 567, 571 S.E.2d 288 (S. Car. Supreme Court 2002). As such, the elements of robbery include:
- The taking of property from another without justification; and
- With use of force, violence or intimidation.
Whether the accused acted with intimidation is a question for the jury to decide. The standard is whether an ordinary, reasonable person in the victim’s position would feel a threat of bodily harm from the perpetrator’s acts.
As noted above, robbery is a Class D felony under South Carolina law and 15 years imprisonment is the maximum sentence.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense: What is Armed Robbery?
As the name implies, “armed robbery” is a robbery committed while either armed with a deadly weapon or claiming to be armed with a deadly weapon. S. Car. Code § 16-11-330. Moreover, according to recent cases, any use of a weapon during the process of stealing another’s property will be considered armed robbery. Thus, for example, in the case of State v. Moore, 649 S.E.2d 84 (S. Car. Court of Appeals 2007), the defendant shoplifted about $450 worth of merchandise from a Wal-Mart. That would have been petit larceny which is a misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of no more than 30 days. S. Car. Code § 16-13-30(A).
However, when Wal-Mart security confronted the defendant outside the store, he pulled a .22 caliber pistol from his pocket. That converted his minor shoplifting into felony armed robbery. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Armed robbery is considered a Class A felony — the most severe. If convicted, the mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years in prison with a maximum of 30 years. Imprisonment is mandatory — so no probation or given a suspended sentence.
The definition of “armed” is very broad. Essentially, anything that might be used as a weapon. The statute defines “armed” as use of “a pistol, dirk, slingshot, metal knuckles, razor, or other deadly weapon.” Thus, a sharp stick might well constitute a “deadly weapon” under some circumstances.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense Attorneys: Call David R. Price, Jr., P.A.
If you have been charged with larceny, robbery or armed robbery, call the proven and dedicated Greenville SC criminal defense lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. Contact our office today via email or by calling. We know South Carolina law and will do everything possible to defend your rights and prevent your conviction.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.