Property Crimes and Enhanced Charges in South Carolina

The definition of a property crime in South Carolina is fairly straightforward. Referred to by state law as “crimes against property,” these offenses involve the theft or destruction of someone else’s property. Many property crimes are prosecuted in accordance with the dollar value of the stolen or destroyed property. In other words, the greater the monetary value of the property, the more severe the penalties will be. Common property crimes in South Carolina include: 

  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Larceny
  • Trespassing (after notice)
  • Identity theft
  • Arson

The property crimes subject to different penalties based on the property’s value include larceny, shoplifting (misdemeanor larceny), and possession of stolen goods. Property crimes that carry penalties contingent on the stolen or destroyed property are divided thusly: 

  • Property less than $2,000 corresponds to a jail sentence of 30 days or less
  • Crimes that involve property of more than $2,000 but less than $10,000 carry a prison sentence of up to $10,000
  • Property crimes involving more than $10,000 carry a possible prison sentence of 10 years

Again, not all property crimes are charged and prosecuted in connection with the dollar value of the property involved. If you have been charged in South Carolina with three or more property crimes contingent on the dollar value of the property involved, the charge will carry possible prison time of 10 years (Class E felony). This is independent of the amount of property involved in your third property crime conviction.

Making or Possessing Tools for Property Crimes

Besides the three-plus property crime conviction enhancement we just covered, another way that property crimes in South Carolina are enhanced is by possessing burglary tools. This crime is a felony and carries a possible prison sentence of five years.

The South Carolina Code of Laws lists more than a dozen implements that could result in these criminal charges. Simply making, mending, or possessing these tools, which include picklocks, false keys, nitroglycerine, and dynamite caps, is not a crime. Rather, the state must show that you used or intended to use these implements to carry out a property crime. 

A Burglary Conviction Likely Means Prison Time

Among the many property crimes in South Carolina, burglary is one of the most serious. Even a conviction for third-degree burglary, the least severe burglary charge, carries a possible prison sentence of up to five years. First-degree burglary charges, and sometimes second-degree burglary charges, are considered violent and carry a possible prison sentence of 15 years in South Carolina.

The state of South Carolina takes property crimes seriously, as evidenced by the penalties faced by those convicted of the crimes, but there are plenty of ways a good criminal defense attorney can poke holes in the prosecution’s case. The sooner you contact one, the better. Cate & Brough has years of experience defending against all types of felonies in South Carolina. Call us at (864) 585-4226 to see what we can do!

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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