It is not uncommon for college students to get into mischief in South Carolina. It might be due to not thinking about what they are doing, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or because of encouragement from other students.
While it is often assumed that college crimes are alcohol-related with drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking or get into a physical altercation while drunk, there are other circumstances under which charges can be filed and have a negative impact on the future. One is shoplifting. The crime itself does not sound serious, but it could have extended negative consequences. Knowing the laws regarding shoplifting and how to defend against charges is essential.
Key aspects of shoplifting charges in South Carolina
Shoplifting is, of course, taking an item from a retail establishment without paying for it. But it also includes other violations. Taking an item and changing its price before purchasing it is also categorized as shoplifting. Putting it in a different container so the cost is less than it would be had it been left in its original container is also considered shoplifting.
The value of the item is how the scope of the charges will be determined. It is a misdemeanor if the value is $2,000 or less. The penalties can be a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 30 days’ incarceration. It will be a felony if the value is more than $2,000 and less than $10,000 with a fine of up to $1,000, five years in prison or both. For felonies in which the value is at least $10,000, there can be as much as 10 years in prison.
When accused of shoplifting, it is important to combat the charges
College students might be somewhat aware of their rights when they are accused of criminal acts and are facing the prospect of arrest. For example, everyone has heard the term “the right to remain silent” from entertainment programs and popular culture. However, in that moment, they might believe that it may be to their advantage if they cooperate. Other factors could be relevant such as an illegal search or unwarranted traffic stop.
Shoplifting might seem relatively innocent if the person takes items that are not of significant value, but the law can be tough on college crimes. A conviction can result in fines, jail time and cause problems with the school. It can also hinder a person if they are trying to get certain jobs.
To craft a viable defense, they should examine the case carefully and try to find flaws with how it was handled. The person who was arrested could even be completely innocent. Calling qualified, experienced professionals who know the area and are familiar with college student crimes may be able to help the person get acquitted, seek a plea bargain or find another positive outcome.