A shoplifting charge in South Carolina can consist of removing merchandise from a store, switching the tags on merchandise to get a better price, or simply moving items from one area of a store to another, but in each case there must be an intent to steal the items. If a person innocently forgets to pay for an item, that person is not guilty of shoplifting. If a person is walking through the store and absent-mindedly places something into their bag but intends to pay for it before leaving, that is not shoplifting.
Shoplifting less then $2000.00 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail. Shoplifting greater than $2000.00 but less than $10,000.00 is a felony punishable by up to 5 years, and shoplifting greater than $10,000.00 is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Shoplifting third offense is punishable by up to 10 years under South Carolina's property crime enhancement law, regardless of the dollar amount. If you are convicted of stealing even something as small as a cd, a dvd, or a candy bar three times, you face a potential 10 year prison sentence.
Store owners and employees are trained to aggressively seek out shoplifters in order to protect the store's bottom line. Larger department store chains often hire loss-prevention staff whose sole job is to prevent shoplifting. If you have been charged with shoplifting, whether it is a first offense or third offense, call our Myrtle Beach office at 843-444-6122 or contact us online for a free initial consultation to discuss your options.