Grand larceny—a serious-sounding charge with serious consequences in South Carolina.
If you’ve been charged with grand larceny in the state of South Carolina, you’re facing a range of fines or jail time. But depending on the specifics of your case, judges have leeway when sentencing for a grand larceny conviction.
That means it’s critical you understand what you’re up against in the coming months and how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight a grand larceny charge, working toward the best outcome possible.
Understanding Grand Larceny Charges
In South Carolina, larceny (or stealing) refers to theft without the use of force. If you use force to steal something, you’ll most likely be charged with robbery, not larceny.
Grand larceny charges apply to the stealing of particular types of personal property; in short, moveable assets with a value of over $2,000.
Grand larceny doesn’t apply to real property, such as land or real estate, which is not moveable.
What counts as moveable personal property?
The SC statute identifies moveable personal property as chattels, goods, instruments and personality. In simpler terms, moveable personal property includes any personal property that isn’t land, money or investments and which isn’t permanently attached to land.
A few examples of personalty include:
However, property like trees and houses are considered real property due to their permanent attachment to land.
Special Larceny Charges
South Carolina law differentiates special larceny charges for particular items, including:
- Crude turpentine
- Water vessels
Penalties for crimes that fall under special larceny range from 30 days to 10 years in jail or fines of $500 up to $2,500, depending on the stolen item and its value, as outlined in South Carolina law.
Penalties for Grand Larceny
Grand larceny is a felony charge, and a grand larceny conviction leads to potentially life-changing punishments.
In addition to the immediate fine-or-jail punishment, you’ll have to endure life as a felon even after you complete your sentence. You might lose your right to vote. You might have a hard time finding a place to live and work. Landlords and potential employers may discriminate against you because of your criminal past.
But first, you’ll either have to pay a substantial fine or spend considerable time in jail. Penalties for grand larceny are based on the value of the stolen items as follows:
|Charge||Classification||Value of Stolen Goods||Fine||Jail Time|
|Grand larceny||Felony||$2,000 to $10,000||Amount decided by the court||Up to 5 years|
|Grand larceny||Felony||$10,000+||Amount decided by the court||Up to 10 years|
Judicial Discretion May Determine Your Future
In grand larceny cases, the law gives judges a lot of leeway regarding sentencing. This leeway, referred to as judicial discretion, means the judge hearing your case gets to decide your sentence, including:
- How much of a fine you will pay
- The length of your jail sentence
If you’re convicted, the judge determines your sentence based on his or her interpretation of the facts of your case, as well as his or her impression of you as an individual. The judge in your trial can take the following factors into account when deciding your sentence:
- Prior offenses on your criminal record
- School records like grades, attendance and disciplinary issues
- Past and current behavior, possibly based on character witnesses
Because the judge hearing your case has so much leeway when choosing your sentence, you need all the help you can get to plead your case effectively and fight the charges against you.
Get the help you need: Consider hiring a lawyer.
You need an ally who has the know-how to fight grand larceny charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help shine light on all of the positive things about you, such as community service and volunteer work, a clean criminal record or good reports from school.
The positive aspects of your life can work in your favor, potentially resulting in a shorter jail sentence or lower fine amount. Your lawyer’s argument in mitigation—before sentencing—can influence the judge’s final opinion on your sentence.
Let us fight in your corner.
Are you facing grand larceny charges?
The team at Kent Collins Law knows what you’re up against. We can work with you to build a strong case to get the best possible outcome.
To talk to an attorney about your case, call our office at 803-808-0905 or fill out this form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.