Property Crime Attorney - South CarolinaServing Aiken, Newberry, Lexington, Columbia SC
A property crime attorney needs to be very familiar with the South Carolina Code of Laws and SC case law. There are a number of different property crimes in South Carolina and each one has an “intent” and “knowledge” requirement. There is also more than one way to get charged with each crime. With this many moving parts, a property crime lawyer needs to have experience dealing with these types of charges. A good property crime lawyer will be able to analyze the facts and pick out the inconsistencies that may exist in the prosecutor’s case.
Kent Collins has over 7 years of experience dealing with criminal cases, including property crimes. He is also a former prosecutor, which means he knows how to analyze a case from the opposing side. This can be helpful in anticipating how the prosecutor handling your case will act.
What are “Property Crimes?”
Property crimes are also called “Crimes Against Property.” Generally, property crimes involve theft, dishonesty, embezzlement, or deceit. They can also involve the destruction of property. These crimes are not treated as a slap on the wrist – they bring some serious consequences. And what is even more alarming is if you are convicted of three or more property offenses, you are facing 10 years in prison! This is what is known as the “stacking effect” of property crimes.
What Property Crime Looks Like:
When you hear “property crime” you may think of vandalism, or destruction of property. While both of those examples are considered property crimes in South Carolina, there are many more than are completely different!
Here are a few real world examples of property crime:
- Intentionally burning down your neighbor’s garage
- Shoplifting from Target
- Breaking into your friend’s house to take money he owes you
- Robbing someone on the street by pretending to have a gun in your pocket
- Holding onto a box as a favor for your friend when you know there is stolen property inside
Types of Property Crime in SC
There are a great number of criminal offenses that fall under the category of “property crimes.” Some of the most common include:
- Receiving Stolen Goods
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Definition: Burglary is the breaking and entering of a building or dwelling without permission and with intent to commit a crime within.
Penalty: There are 3 degrees of burglary. The penalties for each of these degrees are different and range from no jail time up to life in prison, depending upon which degree you are charged with.
Definition: Robbery is taking the property of another person by using force or intimidation
Penalty: There are 2 types of robbery, strong-arm robbery and armed robbery. The penalty for strong-arm robbery is jail time, ranging anywhere between 0-15 years. The penalty for armed robbery is 10-30 years in prison.
Definition: Larceny is also known as “theft.” Generally, it is the taking of property belonging to another person.
Penalty: The 2 types of larceny are petty larceny and grand larceny. Petty larceny can get you up to 30 days in jail or up to a $1,000 fine. Grand larceny is more serious, and can get you up to 10 years in prison or a fine in the discretion of the court.
Definition: Shoplifting can be committed in many ways. Basically, it involves taking an item from a retail store without paying the full retail value with the intention of shoplifting the item.
Penalty: The penalties are broken down by the value of merchandise shoplifted. You could be facing up to a $1,000 fine or up to 10 years in jail depending on the value.
Receiving Stolen Goods
Definition: taking possession of an item that you know has been stolen
Penalty: This charge is broken down into 3 groups, depending upon the value of the stolen goods. You could be sentenced to a $500 to $2,000 fine and imprisoned for up to 10 years.
Common Questions About Property Crime in South Carolina
I answer questions about property crime charges very frequently. Here are some of the questions I hear and the answers to them.
1. Is burglary a property crime?
Burglary is a property crime. The 3 degrees of burglary are: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burglary. Burglary is a serious crime and is handled severely. You could get sentenced to life in prison if convicted!
2. Is property damage a crime?
Yes! In South Carolina property damage is actually called “malicious injury.” The most important requirement here is that the damage must have been willful, meaning not an accident. These charges are broken into 3 categories, accordingly to the value of the damage caused. The penalty for a conviction ranges from 0-10 years in prison.
3. What is intellectual property crime?
Intellectual property refers to ideas and inventions. Intellectual property crimes can include theft of trade secrets, infringement, illegal sale of music, and much more.
4. What does property crime enhancement mean?
In terms of criminal charges, enhancement refers to an “upcharge.” It means that the prosecutor bumps your charge up to a more serious degree or charge due to certain factors, like prior criminal history or the use of a deadly weapon to commit the crime.
5. Is property crime a felony?
Many property crimes are felonies, including but not limited to robbery, forgery, arson, burglary, and grand larceny.
6. Is robbery a property crime?
Robbery is a property crime. South Carolina recognizes 2 kinds of robbery, strong-arm robbery and armed robbery.
7. Is vagrancy a property crime?
No, vagrancy is not a property crime. South Carolina does not have a charge for vagrancy. Vagrancy is closely related to loitering. Many cities across SC have local loitering ordinances, including Columbia and Charleston.
8. Is forgery a property crime?
Yes, forgery can be a property crime. Forgery involves the use of deceit to obtain property belonging to another person. It is very common for forgery cases to involve more than one count, and you can face serious prison time for each one.
9. Is arson a property crime?
Arson is a property crime. Arson is the intentional burning of someone’s building, dwelling, or structure. There are 3 degrees of arson, all of which are felonies.
10. Is larceny a property crime?
Yes, larceny is considered a property crime. Larceny is also commonly known as theft. There are 2 types of larceny in SC, petty larceny and grand larceny.
What to do next.
If you have been charged with a property crime described above in the Aiken, Newberry, Lexington, or Columbia, SC area call us today. Weekend and after-hours consultations are available too!
Contact our office today by calling 803-808-0905 or use this online form to send us an email. South Carolina property crime attorney Kent Collins offers consultations to discuss the facts and circumstances surrounding your case and learn how he can help you protect your rights.