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Arrested For Theft in SC?
If so, you may be feeling the pressure right now. Will you be convicted? Are you going to prison? Will you lose your job? There is now a public record that you have been accused of stealing – what can you do to fight these charges and keep this off your record?
It’s not hopeless – you may have defenses to your charges, like consent, intent to return the items, mistaken identity, or other defenses based on the facts of your specific case.
You may also have other options such as pretrial diversion or dismissal with the payment of restitution, or your case could be dismissed based on your attorney’s investigation or the prosecutor’s inability to go forward due to insufficient evidence.
Regardless of your situation, the criminal defense lawyers at Templeton Mims & Ward will investigate the accusations, gather evidence and witnesses to build your defense, work hard to get your case dismissed before trial, negotiate on your behalf to get your case dismissed or your charges reduced, and try your case to a jury when necessary.
The Theft Lawyers at Templeton Mims & Ward Can Help.
While theft charges are a serious offense, there’s hope. Depending on the facts of your case and your goals in your case, there are several ways we can obtain a favorable outcome in your SC theft case.
Let’s Take a Look at Potential Options.
Solicitor/Prosecutor Drops the Case
For starters, the solicitor/prosecutor could decide to drop the case for a number of reasons. The prosecutor may have insufficient evidence to prosecute the case, we may uncover evidence or witnesses that support your innocence, or, in some cases, it may be in the interest of justice for the prosecutor to dismiss your charges, possibly after restitution has been paid.
Victim Decides Not to Participate
It’s also possible for the victim to submit a form requesting that the charges be dropped. While the victim can’t drop the charges themselves, if the victim does not want to participate in prosecuting the case, the State may face difficult challenges proving the case and therefore decide to drop the charges.
Plea Bargain With the Solicitor
In some cases you may be able to plead to a lesser charge or have your charge reduced. If you’re charged with more than one offense, it may be possible to plead to one charge in exchange for another being dismissed, or the prosecutor may agree to a negotiated sentence such as probation in exchange for a guilty plea
Some cases just cannot be resolved without a jury trial. If the prosecutor refuses to dismiss or to make a plea offer that you are willing to accept, the only option left may be trial. Depending on the evidence that is presented at trial, you may be found guilty, you may be acquitted, or the jury could find you guilty of a lesser-included offense that carries a significantly lower penalty.
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Why Fight Your Theft Charges?
If you are convicted of theft charges in SC, you could be sentenced to probation or you could be sent to prison for as long as 10 years (or longer, if the court gives you consecutive sentences for multiple charges). Either way, you will have a public criminal record that brands you as a thief, that may prevent you from finding meaningful employment, and that may follow you for the rest of your life.
Depending on the facts of your case, hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer could mean the difference between a dismissal, pretrial intervention, a fine, probation, or prison time.
Here’s What We’ll Do:
- Representation at your bond hearing after the arrest
- Investigating your case to find the evidence and witnesses you may need to fight your charges
- Negotiating on your behalf for a dismissal, pretrial diversion, or a reduced charge
- Preparing your case for trial
- Trying your case to a jury when necessary
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Theft a Felony?
Theft in SC may be a felony offense, or it may be a misdemeanor. For example, petit larceny where the dollar value of the property is $2,000 or less is a misdemeanor offense, but grand larceny charges where the dollar value of the property is greater than $2,000 is a felony.
Is Theft Considered a Violent Crime?
Violent crimes in SC are defined by SC Code Section 16-1-60, and larceny, or theft, is not on the list. Armed robbery, or theft by use of force using a deadly weapon, is considered a violent crime in SC.
Can I Get Pretrial Diversion for Theft Charges in SC?
Theft charges may be eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI), but the prosecutor and alleged victim must consent. Restitution would have to be paid in full, and a defendant may not be eligible at all if they have a significant prior criminal record.
Can Theft Charges Be Expunged in SC?
A conviction for petit larceny or other theft-related charges in the magistrate or municipal court may be eligible for expungement three years after the conviction (or completion of the sentence) if there are no other convictions on your record.
A conviction for theft, or even for strong armed robbery, under the Youthful Offender Act (YOA) may also be eligible for expungement five years after completion of the sentence.
Can Theft Charges Be Dropped?
The prosecutor can dismiss theft charges, or any type of charges, due to a lack of evidence, as part of plea negotiations, or in the interest of justice. It may help your case if restitution is paid to the alleged victim, but you should never attempt to contact the alleged victim in your case – this is something that must be resolved by your attorney and the prosecutor.
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