Breach of trust in South Carolina – Crimes typically fall into categories such as property crimes, theft crime, sex crimes, or homicides. There are several crimes that fall under each category. This is one of the many reasons that criminal law can be confusing, and may require professional help.
Theft crimes are not only some of the most common crimes, they are also numerous. In this blog, we will talk about one particular theft crime in South Carolina. That crime is a breach of trust. Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What is a breach of trust?
Breach of trust is a larceny that is accomplished through a specific type of fraud. The elements of breach of trust are as follows:
- The accused carried away the personal property of another;
- The property had been placed in his or her possession in trust; and
- The intent of the accused in carrying away the property was to deprive the owner of its use, by fraud.
For someone to be found guilty of breach of trust, all those aforementioned elements must be proven by the state beyond a reasonable doubt.
Example of breach of trust
Many times, breach of trust occurs in what should have been a work-for-hire situation. An example is a contractor taking a deposit for work to be completed for a specific project. If that contractor fails to complete that project, the clients would be deprived of that money, and the contractor could be accused of breach of trust.
In this example, the state would have to show that the contractor did this purposely to defraud the client. Miscommunications, weather delays, or any other legal reasons why the contractor couldn’t complete the project would all serve as defenses for the accused contractor.
Punishment for conviction of breach of trust
The severity of the punishment for breach of trust depends on the value of the property that was fraudulently taken.
- If the amount was less than $2,000, the crime is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for no more than 30 days.
- If the amount is more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, the crime is a felony punishable by a fine at the discretion of the court or imprisonment for no more than 5 years.
- If the amount is $10,000 or more, the crime is a felony punishable by a fine in the discretion of the court and imprisonment for no more than 10 years.
If you have been charged with breach of trust or any other crime in South Carolina and you need an attorney, contact us.