Theft and Stolen Property Crimes

In South Carolina, there are a variety of property crimes with which someone can be charged. These range from misdemeanor property offenses such as a fraudulent check charge, which carries up to 30 days imprisonment, up to Burglary, 1st offense, a crime that carries up to life imprisonment in South Carolina.  A conviction of a property crime is considered a crime of moral turpitude in South Carolina and can affect much more than one’s own credibility. It can hurt someone’s ability to get- or keep- a job, affect someone’s ability to get into a higher learning institute, and can hurt someone’s reputation in general. Would you hire someone who had been found guilty of stealing money from their company on their way to deposit the money at a Founders Bank in Rock Hill or of taking a TV from the Lancaster Walmart without paying for it? Maybe, but you still may have a hard time trusting them- even if they were wrongly convicted.

Property crimes are enhancement crimes. This means the more you steal, lie, cheat, and are caught and found of guilty of it, the worse it gets.

York County Defense Lawyer for Theft and Stolen Property Crimes

South Carolina property crimes include the following:

  • Forgery
  • Larceny (Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny)
  • Shoplifting
  • Breaking into Motor Vehicles
  • Receiving Stolen Goods
  • Embezzlement
  • Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent
  • Burglary
  • Armed Robbery


It is illegal for a person to “falsely make, forge, counterfeit or assist in forging a writing or utter or publish as true any forged writing with the intent to deceive any person.” Confused? In layman’s terms, you can’t pretend to be somebody else to trick someone. This seems broad, but if you’ve been charged with forgery, chances are someone is claiming they are missing some money and that it’s your fault. The good news is that if you or a friend or family member has been charged with forgery, you have rights and potentially defenses. Forgery  is a felony in South Carolina and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison if the amount of the forgery is $10,000 or more. If the amount of the forgery is less than $5,000, the perpetrator still faces up to 5 years.

Breaking into Motor Vehicles

It is illegal for a person to break into a motor vehicle in South Carolina with the intent to steal anything of value from it. Just don’t break into cars, kids. This property crime is also a felony and carries up to 5 years in prison.

Receiving Stolen Goods

Being in receipt of stolen goods is a crime in South Carolina if the person knows OR has reason to know that the goods they have are stolen.  While a first offense charge for this is a misdemeanor, subsequent charges can be enhanced and can result in someone facing a felony and up to 10 years in jail.

Embezzlement (S.C. Code 16-13-210)

Embezzlement of any amount of public funds by someone considered an officer or a person charged with the safekeeping, transfer, or disbursement of those funds, is a felony in South Carolina and can carry up to 10 years in jail.

Breach of Trust with fraudulent intent (S.C. Code 16-13-230)

Breach of trust can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It can be a lesser included charge of embezzlement and is charged either in magistrate court or circuit court depending on certain circumstances.

Burglary 1st Degree

The Burglary statute in South Carolina is long and complicated and we highly recommend reaching out to an experienced attorney to help you or a loved one with a burglary charge. There is no level of burglary that does not carry prison time and Burglary in the First degree carries a minimum of 15 years in prison up a life sentence if convicted. It is a violent and serious crime and it is not something to be taken lightly. It is also not an enhancement crime per se – someone can be charged with this if they have no record whatsoever.

Burglary 2nd Degree

A person can be charged with Burglary 2nd degree as a violent or nonviolent crime, depending on the elements of the crime. While both of these charges are felonies, Burglary 2nd nonviolent carries up to 10 years in jail while Burglary 2nd violent carries up to 15 years. These charges depend on various elements including whether a weapon was used during the commission of the crime and the person’s record.

Burglary 3rd Degree

A first offense conviction for Burglary 3rd degree carries up to 5 years imprisonment while a second offense conviction for Burglary 3rd carries up to 10 years in prison. A burglary conviction of any type does not look good on someone’s record. Any burglary conviction is a felony charge and you could be facing being qualified as a “convicted felon” for the remainder of your life.

Armed Robbery (S.C. Code 16-11-330)

Armed robbery is a property crime but it is also considered a serious and violent crime in South Carolina. Someone can be charged with armed robbery if they commit robbery while armed with a deadly weapon or by suggesting that they are armed with a deadly weapon either through words or representation. Armed robbery carries a minimum of 10 years imprisonment if convicted. A lesser included offense of armed robbery is strong arm or common law robbery which only carries up to 15 years.

Petit Larceny

Petit larceny is a misdemeanor for a first offense. However, if you just can’t stop stealing things and you’ve got a couple property crime convictions floating around on your record, you might find yourself in Circuit Court rather than Magistrate Court in York County. A first offense for petit larceny carries up to 30 days imprisonment while an enhanced charge for petit larceny can carry up to 10 years in jail. Larceny is taking something that doesn’t belong to you. Petit larceny is taking something that doesn’t belong to you that costs less than $2,000.

As with any criminal charges, in order to be found guilty of petit larceny you have to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Is there video footage of you taking your neighbor’s lawnmower? Are your fingerprints on it? Does your grass look like it hasn’t been mowed in weeks?  Let an experienced defense lawyer review the evidence of your case.

Grand Larceny

Grand larceny is a felony under South Carolina law and is charged when someone commits the larceny of property that is valued over $2,000. The penalties for grand larceny increase with the amount of the property stolen. There are a number of defenses that an experienced criminal attorney can raise to a charge of grand larceny.  You might have been caught on camera stealing the car and driving it down Dave Lyle Boulevard in Rock Hill, but an experienced criminal attorney can still help lessen your charges or penalties.


A form of misdemeanor larceny is shoplifting. While a first offense shoplifting charge is a misdemeanor in magistrate’s court, subsequent shoplifting charges can also land someone in a courtroom in Moss Justice Center in York, Lancaster General Sessions Court, or any Circuit Court and looking at a possibility of facing 10 years in prison. Our attorneys can help you in whatever shoplifting quandary you may have found yourself.

Experienced Fort Mill Larceny Defense Lawyer

Were You Accused Of Stealing And Are Now Facing Larceny or Stolen Property Charges in York County, South Carolina?

If you are facing larceny charges in York County or you are the parent of a student charged with  shoplifting in Tega Cay, don’t take a chance on your future. Contact the Fort Mill criminal defense team at Nosal & Jeter, LLP today for a free consultation.