False Pretenses: Obtaining Goods by Fraud
What is Obtaining Goods under False Pretenses?
Sometimes called just “False Pretenses,” this charge belongs to the theft category. Two qualities of a criminal theft determine this charge.
First, the property in question must have been taken from an owner with the intent to totally remove it from that owner. This means that something rightly borrowed and then forgotten would not have been taken with intent to steal.
Second, the property must have been obtained through fraudulent behavior that falsely represents reality. For example, a fraudulent behavior would be lying to the property owner about past or current facts in an attempt to gain the property.
What is the penalty for False Pretenses?
Someone convicted of committing this crime faces three penalty levels, which depends on the value of the goods stolen.
Misdemeanor Conviction of False Pretenses
Someone who steals goods valued at $2000 or less is guilty of a misdemeanor. This person would be tried in municipal or magistrate court. Possible penalties for misdemeanor false pretenses include up to 30 days of jail time or no more than $1000 in fines.
Felony Conviction of False Pretenses
A felony conviction of false pretenses occurs when the value of the stolen goods is more than $2000. However, if the value is less than $10000, the court may not sentence the convicted for more than five years. The court can also impose a fine at their discretion.
For false pretenses cases involving goods and property valued over $10000, the court must issue a penalty of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $500.
In summary, if you lie to someone in order to take their property, you can be charged with Obtaining Goods under False Pretenses. If that property is worth more than $10000, you can be convicted of a felony and face up to ten years jail time and up to a $500 fine. Items valued less than that will merit less jail time, smaller fines, or even a misdemeanor, but the outcome depends on your defense.
Example of False Pretenses
Let’s simplify this charge into an easy example of False Pretenses. Pretend that your mom has asked you to clean your room. If you do as she says, she will give you a cookie, which is “the goods.” Instead of cleaning your room, you lie and say that you already cleaned it. You’ve just misrepresented reality, or provided false pretenses. If she gives you the cookie, you’ve just obtained the goods by false pretenses.
Charged with False Pretenses: What do I do?
If you’ve been charged with Obtaining Goods under False Pretenses, you need to engage the services of a lawyer immediately. This accusation varies in severity, and can have drastic consequences on the quality of your life.
However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you face false pretenses charges. If you’re in the Lexington, South Carolina area looking for a criminal defense lawyer with experience defending clients against False Pretenses, call the offices of Saluda Law. Judah VanSyckel is a Lexington criminal defense attorney who can help you as you face these charges.