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Grand Larceny SC & Petit Larceny SC: Legal Definitions
By: James Hardy Price IV and E. Powers Price, Criminal Lawyers Near Me in Greenville SC and Serving Other Surrounding Upstate South Carolina Counties
What’s Larceny? To begin, the word “larceny,” is the same as the word theft. This article answers the common question, “is larceny a felony or misdemeanor?” In either instance, theft crimes in SC are legal trouble that you need to fight.
Is Petit Larceny a felony? No, it is not. However, a repeat petit larceny charge will bring fines and days to be served in jail, for repeat offenders. Plus, read below about the potential for facing a special “property crime enhancement” felony statute, when you have had two or more petit misdemeanor convictions in SC within the past 10 years.
Wikipedia tells us: Larceny “was an offence under the common law of England and became an offence in jurisdictions which incorporated the common law of England into their own law (such as the State of South Carolina). This web page clears up the types of larceny in SC.
What is Petty Larceny? First, the petty larceny meaning is the “unlawful taking of property that belongs to another person, done with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property.”
Shoplifting charges in South Carolina are our law firm’s most common theft cases to defend. The penalties for shoplifting are tied to the cumulative value of the items being pilfered when caught.
Petit larceny vs Grand larceny under SC Shoplifting Laws. Shoplifting is one of the more common theft crimes that our criminal defense attorneys defend in upstate South Carolina. When the dollar value of the items pilfered is $2000 or under, this is petit larceny (petty larceny).
Larceny vs Theft vs Robbery. Larceny is different from the criminal offense called “robbery,” since that crime entails using force or the threat of force. A person can commit larceny by use of a trick or device, but (when the crime is lacking the use of force or threat of doing that, the SC criminal law violation is larceny.
What is larceny theft? To get a full picture of the many, diverse ways that the state of SC prohibits theft and pilfering from others, go to this list of SC larceny and related stealing crimes.
Grand larceny vs Petit larceny. Grand larceny charges will be accused against any offender who has stolen property valued at $2000 or more. As can be learned below, felonies cannot later be expunged.
In addition, a person with two previous property crime convictions (such as shoplifting) within the past ten (10) years, will face charges of “property crime enhancement” on subsequent arrests on new property theft crimes. Regardless of dollar amount value of the stolen items, this becomes a felony crime in South Carolina and calls for up to ten (10) years in prison, if convicted.
In addition, the crimes discussed here are not related to real estate. An entirely different set of laws for those criminal offenses against property can be found at this link: REAL ESTATE THEFT CRIMES LINK.
Larceny Crimes in South Carolina: Petty and Grand
Grand Larceny definition. South Carolina laws separate larceny crimes into two separate categories: petit theft or larceny and grand larceny. The word “grand” only means the higher dollar value of what was pilfered or stolen. So, the value of the item or items stolen determines how the Solicitor will accuse the offense.
“Petit” is a French word that was utilized in Great Britain to mean “small.” A petty larceny charge is a misdemeanor crime in SC. In 2021, in our nation’s vernacular, this French term has been “Americanized” to the word “petty.”
Is Petit Larceny a Misdemeanor or Felony?
Where the items or services stolen have a value of $2,000.00 or less, the appropriate criminal charge is for petit larceny. This dollar amount used to be much lower, but the devaluation of our currency has led to this higher “threshold” amount being used today. Larger dollar amounts will be indicted or accused as grand larceny cases.
One of our legal team’s key focuses (in some cases) is on valuation of the items stolen. Keeping petty larceny 1st offense charges at misdemeanor-level values means that any conviction may possibly be restricted later in an expungement action. Thus, at pre-trial hearings, our defense lawyers may cross-examine witnesses on valuation issues.
Often, these misdemeanor theft charges are handled at a Magistrate’s Court within the County where the offense occurred. Those who plead guilty or are adjudicated (at trial) to be guilty of petit larceny will face up to thirty (30) days of jail time plus can be assessed a fine as high as one-thousand dollars ($1,000.00).
Grand Larceny South Carolina is a Felony in the Palmetto State
What does Grand Larceny mean? 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 convicted of grand larceny, the amount of time he or she could spend in jail will depend upon the value of the goods or services that were stolen. In addition, from the standpoint of later seeking expungement, current SC laws will not permit that felony offense to be expunged, as it might for some misdemeanor theft crimes.
Penalty Chart for SC Petit Larceny and SC Grand Larceny
If convicted, the Court sentencing may include an order that the thief pay restitution to any victims of the larceny crime he or she committed. A conviction for a petit larceny 1st offense may later be expunged, but not felony theft crimes.
Larceny by Trick Can Be Felony or Misdemeanor
Larceny by trick under the SC Code of Laws, Section 16-13-240, can be either a felony or misdemeanor crime. This criminal law statute is committed by a person tricking a victim into consenting to give the accused thief something of value. This is the wording of that theft law code section:
“A person who by false pretense or representation obtains the signature of a person to a written instrument or obtains from another person any chattel, money, valuable security, or other property, real or personal, with intent to cheat and defraud a person of that property is guilty of a:
(1) felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars and imprisoned not more than ten years if the value of the property is ten thousand dollars or more;
(2) felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than five years if the value of the property is more than two thousand dollars but less than ten thousand dollars;
(3) misdemeanor triable in magistrates court or municipal court, notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 22-3-540, 22-3-545, 22-3-550, and 14-25-65, if the value of the property is two thousand dollars or less. Upon conviction, the person must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days.”
In other words, a person commits larceny by a trick if the accused (the defendant) is proven to have made a victim give them property or something of value by misrepresenting a fact that the defendant knew was untruthful.
Retaining a Price and Price Law Group Criminal Attorney Near Me
Due to the aura of “moral turpitude” associated with stealing in America, obtaining the SC legal services of an experienced criminal justice attorney at a local law firm is a wise move. Since 1906, the James Price family has had a criminal law attorney residing and practicing law in Greenville SC.
Call us today to speak with one of our attorneys near me in Upstate SC, and receive your free initial consultation lawyer phone call, virtual meeting or in person consult with our South Carolina lawyers. Contact us at (864) 271-3535.