Every theft is considered a crime in Columbia and elsewhere in the state. However, the law takes special precautions in protecting the property of retailers, shops, and other businesses. Stealing from these businesses will be seen as shoplifting and will bring enhanced penalties to those who violate the state’s statutes.
Notably, a person could commit the offense of shoplifting even if they never remove items from a store. The law provides a list of actions that constitute an illegal step towards shoplifting that are sufficient to support a conviction at trial. If you are facing an allegation of shoplifting, even if you never removed a product from a store, reach out to a Columbia shoplifting lawyer. Assistance from a trustworthy theft attorney could help explain the state’s rules on this matter and develop a defense that meets your specific needs.
Shoplifting is just one of the many categories of theft that the state prohibits. However, it can come with enhanced penalties that might not apply in other situations. According to South Carolina Code § 16-13-110, shoplifting includes incidents of theft that affect stores and retailers. The seriousness of the case depends upon the value of the items involved in the alleged incident. The amounts and penalties apply as follows:
A Columbia shoplifting attorney could provide more details about the levels of punishment and help devise strategies to avoid convictions.
Most people imagine shoplifting as occurring when a person takes an item from a store without paying. While this is certainly a common example, it is far from the only behavior that violates state law. The shoplifting statute provides a collection of behaviors that constitute shoplifting that does not include removing items from the store. These include:
Furthermore, SC Code §16-13-120 allows courts and juries to infer that taking any of the above-listed steps constitutes an intent to steal those items. These concepts under the law make it possible for a court to convict a person of shoplifting without an item ever leaving a store. A shoplifting lawyer in Columbia could prepare a defendant for potential charges even if that person never took items outside of the boundary of the store.
Shoplifting has a reputation as being a criminal offense that affects children or youths who are trying to skirt the rules. However, even grown adults may face serious legal consequences if police make an arrest on a shoplifting charge. Every allegation has the potential to create a criminal record. More serious incidents are charged as felonies that can come with serious jail time.
A Columbia shoplifting lawyer wants to help you to avoid this outcome. They could explain the state’s shoplifting laws, identify realistic goals in your case, and fight to protect your legal rights during every court session. Contact one today to schedule a meeting.