In South Carolina, larceny is defined as the: “unlawful taking of property that belongs to another person, done with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property.” In other words, larceny is theft. Larceny is not the same as a robbery because robbery includes force or making a threat to use force to effectuate the taking. Larceny is stealing that does not involve threats or force.
The Two Kinds of Larceny in South Carolina
The state of South Carolina divides larceny into two distinct categories: petit theft and grand larceny. Which category the theft falls into depends upon the value of what was stolen.
Petit larceny, which is sometimes referred to as “petty theft”, involves the theft of goods or services that have a value of $2,000.00 or less. Petit larceny is a misdemeanor in South Carolina, and the charges will generally be heard in the Magistrate’s Court. If a person is found guilty of petit larceny, he could face up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.00.
Grand larceny involves the theft of goods or services that have a value of more than $2,000.00. Grand larceny is a felony in South Carolina and the charges will be heard in General Sessions court. If a person is found guilty of grand larceny, the amount of time he could spend in jail will depend upon the value of the goods or services that were stolen.
Penalties for Grand Larceny
In South Carolina, if the value of the items stolen was more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, a person convicted of grand larceny could spend up to 5 years in jail and/or pay a fine in an amount determined by the court. If the value of the items was $10,000.00 or more, a person can be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine in an amount determined by the court.
A person may also be required to pay restitution to the victim(s) of the crime.
Larceny by Trick
Larceny by trick is different from grand larceny in that it involves a person tricking the victim into consenting to give you something of value. South Carolina Code Section 16-13-240 defines larceny by trick as obtaining “by false pretense or representation . . . the signature of a person to a written instrument or . . . any chattel, money, valuable security, or other property, real or personal, with intent to cheat and defraud a person of that property.”
In other words, a person commits larceny by a trick if they make a victim give them property or something of value by misrepresenting a fact that person knew was untrue.
Penalties for Larceny by Trick
Generally, the penalties for larceny by trick are the same as grand larceny with one exception.
South Carolina Larceny FAQs
How is the Value of the Items Stolen Determined?
Because the value of the items that were stolen is used in determining the penalty a person could face, the value of the items is extremely important.
In addition to determining the potential penalty, a defendant may be required to pay restitution. A defendant or his South Carolina attorney can request a Restitution Hearing to challenge the value of the items that were stolen. The state can call witnesses to testify about the value of the items and the defendant’s lawyer can cross-examine them to test the truth of their testimony. A defendant could also try to prove that restitution is not appropriate because the victim was reimbursed for the value of the stolen items from other sources.
Can a Grand Larceny Charge be Expunged from a Person’s Record?
No. Because grand larceny is a felony in South Carolina, it normally cannot be expunged.
Will a Petit Larceny Charge Show Up on a Person’s Record?
Yes. However, because petit larceny is a misdemeanor it may be possible for a person’s South Carolina attorney to have the charge removed from that person’s record after a period of time.
If a Person is Charged With Larceny, Can He Be Charged With Other Offenses?
It’s possible. A person could be charged with “making, mending or possessing tools or other implements capable of being used in a crime.” South Carolina has an Offenses Against Property statute that deals with the use or possession of tools that were used or could have used to commit the crime.
Do I Need A South Carolina Attorney to Represent Me if I’m Charged With Larceny?
The Greenville, South Carolina attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. strongly urge anyone who is charged with larceny to retain the services of a qualified attorney to represent them in court. You will need someone who understands the larceny laws in South Carolina to fight for you in court and represent your interests.