You probably know what theft is on its face: The act of taking something that does not belong to you. However, there are other elements of theft that you may not know or understand.
To face a conviction of theft, or larceny, the crime must meet certain conditions.
Theft of property
There are three separate types of theft as defined for legal purposes.
- Knowingly taking or controlling another’s property.
- Knowingly taking or controlling stolen property law enforcement has recovered.
- Knowingly taking someone else’s property by deceit or deception.
To prove theft, the prosecution must show there was intent to take the property and keep it.
Theft of services
Taking services without any plan, resource or intention of paying for them is also considered theft under the law. Diverting services from one source to another also falls under this definition. An example of this is stealing cable or satellite services.
South Carolina larceny laws
If you steal something in South Carolina, your charge may depend on a couple of factors. The first is the value of the property or service you took. The second factor is what your prior criminal record reveals.
The least serious form of theft, petty larceny, involves the theft of services or goods valued at less than $2,000. It is a misdemeanor.
The most severe charge is grand larceny or theft. It is a felony that is divided into two categories:
- If the good or service’s value falls between $2,000 and $10,000 a conviction may result in up to five years in jail.
- If the good or service’s value is over $10,000, a conviction may land you in jail for up to 10 years. Aside from felony charges and fines, you may also face civil fines if convicted of theft.
Many factors may influence the sentence for a theft conviction. Your prior record, what you stole and what it is worth all play a part in the fine or punishment you receive.