Charleston Shoplifting Attorney
Shoplifting may not seem like a serious crime, but make no mistake, the offense carries harsh penalties. Shoplifting is a type of theft. In South Caroline, it is a crime that includes fines and jail time if convicted. Aside from a criminal conviction, shoplifters can also be sued in civil court by merchants for restitution.
Shoplifting can include the following:
- Taking merchandise from a store without paying
- Transferring merchandise to a different container to deceive and avoid paying full price
- Altering price tags
- Removing price tags
- Concealing unpurchased merchandise with the intent to shoplift
Under South Carolina law, any action that is meant to defraud a merchant or business by not paying for the item in question is considered shoplifting. As a result, the penalties for shoplifting are stringent and meant to demonstrate that breaking the law no matter how insignificant it may seem, will not be tolerated. If you have been caught and charged with shoplifting, it is vital to seek the legal assistance of a knowledgeable shoplifting attorney in Charleston, SC right away. Your shoplifting attorney in Charleston, SC can help determine the best course of action for your case.
Penalties of Shoplifting
Many people do not think that the ramifications for shoplifting are serious; a person charged with shoplifting can face both civil and criminal penalties. In South Caroline, a person who shoplifted can be sued by a business or merchant in civil court. At civil court, the merchant can sue for recovery, damages, or restitution of the stolen items or merchandise. In addition to restitution, the court can impose fines as well. The amount of restitution to be paid in civil court will depend on the value of the stolen merchandise.
When a person is being charged for shoplifting in criminal court, the offense carries steeper penalties. A Criminal conviction can include fines, jail time, and mandatory courses. In order to determine the penalty, the value of the stolen merchandise is considered. Therefore, the greater the value, the harsher the punishment.
In South Carolina, if the total amount of stolen merchandise or goods has a value of less than $2,000, the offense is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000, and a jail sentence of up to 30 days. If the value is between $2,000 to $10,000, the shoplifting offense becomes a felony. The fine for this felony offense will not exceed $1,000, but the jail time increases if a person is convicted. A person can serve up to five years in prison under this shoplifting felony offense. If the value of the stolen goods is greater than $10,000, the offense is still a felony with a higher jail sentence. A person can serve up to ten years in prison if they are convicted. The fine for this category will remain at up to $1,000.
If you are charged with shoplifting, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced shoplifting attorney in Charleston, SC. Your shoplifting attorney in Charleston, SC will know how to best handle your case. Without the assistance of a professional attorney, you will be left to fend off the savvy arguments of the prosecution on your own. Doing so and could land you a much harsher punishment than if you had enlisted a skilled shoplifting attorney in Charleston, SC to fight for you.