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TO AMEND SECTION 16-13-420, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE UNLAWFUL FAILURE TO RETURN CERTAIN RENTAL PROPERTY OR THE FRAUDULENT APPROPRIATION OF SUCH PROPERTY, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE VALUE OF THE LOSS OF REVENUE CAUSED BY THE UNLAWFUL WITHHOLDING OR FRAUDULENT APPROPRIATION OF RENTAL PROPERTY MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR THE PURPOSES OF COMPUTING THE APPLICABLE PENALTY, TO PROVIDE THAT A CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE OR MAGISTRATE MAY ORDER RESTITUTION IN AMOUNT BASED ON THE VALUE OF THE LOSS OF REVENUE OR DAMAGE TO THE RENTED ITEM; AND TO AMEND SECTION 22-3-550, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO MAGISTRATES' AUTHORITY TO ORDER RESTITUTION, SO AS TO REMOVE THE LIMITATION THAT SUCH RESTITUTION BE IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 16-13-420 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 409 of 2000, is further amended to read:
"Section 16-13-420. (A) A person having any motor vehicle, trailer, appliance, equipment, tool, clothing, or formal wear in his possession or under his control by virtue of a lease or rental agreement is guilty of larceny if he:
(1) wilfully and fraudulently fails to return the motor vehicle, trailer, appliance, equipment, tool, clothing, or formal wear within seventy-two hours after the lease or rental agreement has expired;
(2) fraudulently secretes or appropriates the property to any use or purpose not within the due and lawful execution of his lease or rental agreement.
The provisions of this section do not apply to lease-purchase agreements or conditional sales type contracts.
(B) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a:
(1) felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, if the value of the loss of revenue or the rented or leased item is five thousand dollars or more;
(2) felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, if the value of the loss of revenue or the rented or leased item is more than one thousand dollars but less than five thousand dollars;
(3) misdemeanor triable in magistrate's court if the value of the loss of revenue or the rented or leased item is one thousand dollars or less. Upon conviction, the person must be fined or imprisoned not more than is permitted by law without presentment or indictment by the grand jury.
(C) In order for a person to be charged with a violation of this section, he must have been sent notice by certified letter to the address on the contract and thereafter sent a second notice by regular mail to the address on the contract.
(D) Pursuant to a violation of this section, the circuit court judge or magistrate may order restitution in an appropriate amount based on the value of the loss of revenue or damage to the rented or leased item. In addition, a late fee of no more than ten percent each day may be assessed."
SECTION 2. Section 22-3-550(A) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 78 of 1999, is further amended to read:
"(A) Magistrates have jurisdiction of all offenses which may be subject to the penalties of a fine or forfeiture not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, or both. In addition, a magistrate may order restitution
in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars. In determining the amount of restitution, the judge shall determine and itemize the actual amount of damage or loss in the order. In addition, the judge may set an appropriate payment schedule.
A magistrate may hold a party in contempt for failure to pay the restitution ordered if the judge finds the party has the ability to pay."
SECTION 3. The repeal or amendment by this act of any law, whether temporary or permanent or civil or criminal, does not affect pending actions, rights, duties, or liabilities founded thereon, or alter, discharge, release, or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under the repealed or amended law, unless the repealed or amended provision shall so expressly provide. After the effective date of this act, all laws repealed or amended by this act must be taken and treated as remaining in full force and effect for the purpose of sustaining any pending or vested right, civil action, special proceeding, criminal prosecution, or appeal existing as of the effective date of this act, and for the enforcement of rights, duties, penalties, forfeitures, and liabilities as they stood under the repealed or amended laws.
SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 9:37 A.M.