If you are facing criminal charges for property crimes in Greenville County South Carolina, you don't need to move forward alone. While days in jail, permanent marks on your criminal record, and the looming threat of criminal conviction can be daunting, moving forward with experienced criminal defense lawyers can help relieve the stress of facing criminal offenses, and help bring your case to a better conclusion.
At Touma Law Group, we have daily experience in the criminal courts of South Carolina, defending citizens accused of all types of crimes from violent crimes to drug crimes, to property crimes. We use this experience every day to defend our clients before juries and judges. Whatever your charge, our Greenville property crimes lawyers have seen it before and are ready to help.
What is a Property Crime?
Property crimes, or crimes involving public or personal property, are crimes that normally involve the destruction or theft of property that does not belong to you. These crimes range from misdemeanors to felony charges. This section of the law is extremely broad as it does cover many different crimes. These crimes include:
- Arson, of a vehicle, home, or any other private property or business
- Theft or burglary, to include shoplifting charges, grand and petty larceny charges, and armed bank robbery
- Grand theft auto
- Identity theft
While these are the most common examples of property crime, anything that is related to property can be charged as a property crime. You may also be charged with additional crimes on top of your property crime, such as possession of burglary tools or assault and battery. If you are being charged with additional crimes, you need to inform your criminal defense team as soon as possible.
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How Long do Defendants Normally Spend in Prison?
Because property crime is a very broad spectrum, it can be hard to nail down an exact number for time behind bars and fees to be paid. For misdemeanor property crimes, which include property damage of less than $2000, this is normally 30 days in prison maximum sentence in South Carolina. For misdemeanor or felony property crimes involving between $2000 to $10,000 in damages, you can expect to spend between 31 days to 10 years in prison, and felony property crimes with more than $10,000 in damages carry sentences greater than 10 years.
These sentences vary greatly because the sentencing is entirely dependent on the circumstances of the case. For example, arson normally carries a first-time sentence of 15 years in jail in Greenville County, but if someone was injured or killed as a result of the arsonist's fire, that can raise to life in jail, or even the death penalty depending on the physical harm caused.
Because of this, it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney so that you can understand, prior to your court dates, exactly the charges you are facing and the possible sentencing you may be subject to.
Can You Receive a Plea Deal for Property Crimes?
While you can be offered a plea deal for any and every charge under the sun, property crimes normally do not warrant the need for a plea deal, unless the prosecutor has reason to believe that you were not the main person committing these crimes. For example, in extortion cases, prosecutors may offer plea deals in order to convince defendants to give up information on their bosses, as many extortionists have ties to organized crime but are not the "head of the serpent", so to say. This can also be used in cases of armed robbery, as sometimes defendants are forced by others or working for others when committing these crimes.
If you believe that you have information the prosecution may be interested in, you should discuss this with your criminal defense attorney. Your defense counsel will be able to gauge whether or not the information you have is worth a conversation with the prosecution, and be able to begin discussing possible plea deals from there.
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Should I Hire an Attorney?
As a general rule of thumb, you should always hire an attorney if you are facing anything more than 30-days of jail time, and sometimes even if you are facing less. When you hire a Greenville criminal defense attorney, you are more likely to be offered fair plea deals, more likely to have your charges lowered or dropped, and more likely to win if your case goes to trial. While hiring an attorney isn't foolproof, it does increase your chances of a much better outcome and is often suggested.
Criminal defense attorneys in South Carolina normally charge hourly rates to their clients, as well as an upfront retainer to being your case. Hourly charges range from $150 to $500 an hour and can add up quickly for complicated or long-lasting cases. The hourly rate you pay will depend on the experience of the attorney you hire, the more expensive the more prestigious, experienced, and respected your attorney is. Respected criminal defense lawyers are able to charge extreme rates because they have personal connections within the courthouse and with most prosecutors, and are able to secure deals that many other attorneys cannot.
Call a Greenville Property Crimes Lawyer Today
At Touma Law Group we have the in-person experience and education needed to build the perfect legal strategy for your case. If you have been charged with any property crimes in Greenville South Carolina, we're waiting for your call.
During a free initial consultation, we'll go through all of the criminal activity you have been charged with, give you the realistic potential outcomes and positive outcomes that can be achieved through the criminal justice system, discuss any additional penalties you are facing, and review your criminal history before we begin to build your defense. We take our job as legal representation and our attorney-client relationship extremely seriously and are here to help you in every way that we can.