Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle

Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle in South Carolina

Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, SC. Today we’re taking about BEMV charges.

The Law on Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle

  • Breaking or attempting to break into
    • A motor vehicle; or
    • Its compartment
  • With the intent to steal
    • The motor vehicle; or
    • Anything of value from it, attached to it or
  • In the preparation of any criminal offense
  • 0-5 yrs. $1,000 fine (felony)

What Force is Required?

So, let’s talk about what breaking means.  Breaking is any act of physical force, however slight, where any obstruction to entering is forcibly removed.

So, if a car door is closed but not locked, opening that door does meet the requirements of a breaking under the statute.

But what about if you removed a part of the vehicle such as the drive shaft of the car.  That‘s not BEMV, it’s another crime (Tampering with a vehicle. (misdemeanor). The reasoning behind this is that the drive shaft does not close an opening to the vehicle therefore our courts have said that removing or attempting to remove it does not constitute breaking required under this law.

What about if you are driving a car that was stolen.  That’s typically not enough to support this charge, it can support being in possession of a stolen motor vehicle, especially if the ignition is smashed and you start the car with a screw driver but its usually not enough evidence to support a BEMV charge.

Charleston, SC Criminal Defense Attorney

If have been charged with BEMV and want to discuss your options, please call me at (843) 530-7813.  I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.

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