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December 28, 2018

Charged With Shoplifting in South Carolina? Here’s what you need to know

Shoplifting in any state may be considered a serious crime, but in South Carolina, it is a crime that comes with some serious penalties, including possible jail time and hefty fines. In addition to any criminal charges that a shoplifter may be faced with, the merchant where the products were shoplifted from may also be able to file a lawsuit in civil court to recover any damages they sustained.

Shoplifting Laws in South Carolina

Shoplifting has a very broad definition in South Carolina. It is a crime that may be committed by doing such activities as taking items from a store, removing or altering price tags, or even transferring merchandise from one container to another if the act was meant to deprive the merchant of the product and without paying the full price of the item. In South Carolina, anyone who conceals merchandise that hasn’t been purchased may be presumed to be shoplifting.

Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting

As mentioned above, shoplifters may face penalties that include fines and jail time, as well as civil lawsuits by the merchants that have been victimized. These penalties may include the following:

  • Shoplifting merchandise with a value less than $2,000 is considered a misdemeanor crime and may be punished with up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
  • Shoplifting merchandise that is valued at more than $2,000 but less than $10,000 is considered a felony crime and is punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Shoplifting merchandise that is valued at over $10,000 is also a felony crime and is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and possible fines.

Civil Penalties for Shoplifting

Emancipated minors and adult shoplifters, as well as the guardians or custodial parents of emancipated shoplifters in some situations, may be sued by the merchant in civil court. The merchant may be able to obtain the retail price of the item that was stolen plus a penalty equaling at least $150 or the greater of three times the retail price up to $500.

Pretrial Intervention and Plea Bargaining

Diversion programs and pretrial intervention may allow some individuals accused of low-level or crimes or first-time offenders a way to avoid prosecution in South Carolina. If you have committed shoplifting and are able to complete the requirements of the program, the charges may be dismissed. These requirements may include restitution and performing community services.

Those individuals that aren’t eligible for diversion programs and pretrial intervention may be able to work out a plea bargain that typically involves a guilty plea in exchange for a lesser sentencing or lesser charges.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing shoplifting charges in South Carolina, you need the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Although shoplifting may seem like a minor crime, it can come with significant jail time and hefty fines, as well as civil penalties. Attorney Lauren Taylor can use her experience to help minimize these consequences and you explore alternative options for your defense. Contact the office of Lauren Taylor Law today to schedule a consultation.