Justia Lawyer Rating
Best Lawyer
Super Lawyer - Top 100
Super Lawyer - Top 100
Best Lawyers
Avvo Rating 10.0
AV Preeminent
The National Trial Lawyers
The Best Lawyers in America
Advocates for Justice
Business North Carolina Legal Elite - 2023
DUI Defense
*For additional information regarding the criterion for inclusion or membership for lawyer associations, awards, & certifications click image for link.

South Carolina Code § 16-13-110: Shoplifting

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Shoplifting Under South Carolina Code § 16-13-110, shoplifting is criminal charge where the defendant is accused of trying to defraud a business or merchant not paying the retail price for their items.

Depending on the value of the items taken criminal offense during the “shoplifting,” the Defendant may face either a felony or misdemeanor in South Carolina.

Being charged with (accused of) a criminal offense does not mean you are automatically convicted (or guilty). There are instances of mistake of fact, false accusations, and wrongful arrest.

In order to be convicted of a criminal offense, the State (the prosecutor is often referred to as the “solicitor”) must establish the necessary elements to prove a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt.

The “essential elements” for shoplifting in South Carolina generally include allegations that the accused:

  1. Removed items from a store (merchant’s place of business) without paying full retail price
  2. Removed or altered a price tag, attempting to buy (purchase) the item at the altered price OR
  3. Willfully conceals an item (merchant property) with the intent to avoid paying full retail price for it

Shoplifting is a specific intent crime, meaning that the prosecutor must prove that the Defendant meant to deprive the store or merchant of receiving full value for the item(s).

As such, not only must the “act” itself be proven, but also that the Defendant had the “guilty mind” known as mens rea to commit the crime. Defense lawyers in South Carolina may also refer to mens rea as the “evil” or “guilty” mind.

Intent can be inferred (surmised, gathered, deduced) from the Defendant’s actions (i.e. willfully and/or intentionally concealing the items).

It is important to note that simply attempting to conceal an item or merchandise in a store may also be considered an attempt to shoplift and potentially result in allegations of shoplifting and the resulting criminal charges.

2. Examples of Shoplifting

The Defendant enters into a department store in Lancaster, SC. The Defendant takes a brand new pair of shoes, puts them in a bag, and leaves the store without paying. The shoes are priced at $120. The Defendant may be charged with Shoplifting in South Carolina. Such an offense likely would be considered a Misdemeanor offense because the item taken was valued less than $2,000.

The Defendant enters a discount store in Rock Hill, SC. The Defendant takes a clearance sticker ($9.99 “clearance”) off of a t-shirt and places it on a new blouse that is not on sale. The Defendant then tries to use the self-checkout and pay the clearance price for the new blouse. The price of the new blouse is $34.99. The Defendant may be accused of misdemeanor shoplifting in York County.

The Defendant is at an electronics store and notices that the cabinet holding new cell phones is unlocked. The Defendant takes two boxes, each containing the ten of the phones, puts them inside his jacket, and leaves the store. The value of the items exceeds more than $10,000. The Defendant may be detained and arrested for Felony Shoplifting in South Carolina. The maximum punishment for such an offense could be up to ten years in prison.

The Defendant takes a flatbed cart into TV specialty store in Fort Mill, South Carolina and loads a 75-inch flat screen, “hi-def” television onto it. The Defendant then rolls the television out of the store while the in-store security employee is distracted checking another customer’s receipt. The television is valued at $3,900. The Defendant may also be arrested and prosecuted for Felony Shoplifting. The maximum prison term for such a felony criminal charge in South Carolina is up to 5 years in prison.

3. Related Offenses

Other related crimes offenses include:

  1. South Carolina Code Ann. 16-13-110: Shoplifting
  2. South Carolina Code Annotated 16-13-30: Petit Larceny; Grand Larceny (Misdemeanor; Felony)
  3. South Carolina Code Annotated 16-11-311: First Degree Burglary
  4. South Carolina Code Annotated 16-11-330: Robbery and Attempted Robbery While Armed with a Deadly Weapon (Felony)
  5. South Carolina Code Annotated 16-17-530: Public Disorderly Conduct (Misdemeanor)
  6. South Carolina Criminal Lawyers and Information
4. Defenses to Shoplifting

Shoplifting It is possible to challenge the elements for Shoplifting, most commonly the specific intent element. However, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case to determine the most appropriate defense(s) based on your circumstances, especially if you have been falsely accused of criminal charges.

5. Penalties for Shoplifting

Shoplifting can be a misdemeanor or felony offense in South Carolina depending on the value of the merchandise. The following chart breaks down the penalties for each:

Merchandise ValueOffense LevelFineImprisonment
Less than $2,000MisdemeanorMaximum $1,000Up to 30 days
$2,000 - $10,000FelonyMaximum $1,000Maximum of 5 years in prison
$10,000 or moreFelonyMaximum $1,000Maximum of 10 years in prison

Other potential penalties for shoplifting charges can also include being banned from the store where the charges arose, civil lawsuits for monetary reimbursement, possible permanent criminal record, etc.

6. Criminal Defense for Shoplifting

If you are facing criminal charges for Shoplifting in South Carolina, you should contact a criminal lawyer in York County SC immediately. It is important to remain silent, not provide a statement, or admit guilt.

Take the fifth. Exercise your Constitutional Rights. Ask to speak with a lawyer.

Attorney Chris Beddow is solely responsible for South Carolina cases at Powers Law Firm PA. He is also responsible for all legal materials and law content regarding South Carolina on the website, blog, etc.

Call today to schedule a free consultation for your criminal charges. It doesn’t matter if it’s a felony or misdemeanor charge.

Call NOW: 877-462-3841

Client Reviews
I am so fortunate to have had Bill Powers on my case. Upon our first meeting, Bill insisted that through the emotions of anger, sadness, confusion, and betrayal that I remain resilient. He was available to answer questions with researched, logical, truthful answers throughout our two year stretch together. I went to any lengths for my case because he won my trust almost immediately... J.R.
My daughter had a second DUI and when it all seemed hopeless, Bill was able to get the charges dropped. This is a man who is extremely knowledgeable, yet still keeps his integrity which was impressive to me. He handles himself with dignity. If you hire him, you will have the best of the best, along with his expansive intellect and wisdom about the law. Lisa
Bill Powers’ staff has handled several traffic citations for me over the years, and they exceeded my expectations each and every time. Would highly recommend anyone faced with a traffic citation or court case contact his office and they will handle it from there. M.C.
Bill and his staff are flat out great. I (unfortunately) was a repeat customer after a string of tickets. These guys not only took care of the initial ticket for me, but went the extra mile and reduced my problems from 3 to just 1 (very minor one) on the same day I called back! I would recommend them to anyone. A.R.