Fairfax County Theft Lawyer

Most theft offenses fall under the category of larceny under Virginia law. Depending on the facts of the case and the value of the items stolen, charges and penalties may vary, but they can be harsh in some cases. If you are facing theft charges, it may be in your best interest to contact a Fairfax County theft lawyer at your earliest convenience.

Theft is inherently a crime of dishonesty, which can leave a black mark on your background that prospective employers, landlords, and lenders are likely to see. The collateral consequences that you may experience for a felony theft conviction can be even more significant. You may be able to avoid the ramifications of some theft convictions if you get the advice that you need from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer.

Petit and Grand Larceny in Fairfax County

Larceny or theft in Virginia generally falls into one of two classifications: petit larceny or grand larceny. Petit larceny according to Va. Code § 18.2-96 involves the theft of property worth $500 or less, as well as the theft of property worth less than five dollars that individuals took directly from the person of another individual. Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a potential penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, as well as restitution for the property stolen being barred from returning to a particular location in the future.

Va. Code § 18.2-95 defines grand larceny, which is a felony offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Persons commit grand larceny when they steal property worth $500 or more, or property worth five dollars or more directly from the person of another individual. However, there are some exceptions for some types of property, the theft of which automatically qualifies as grand larceny regardless of the value of the property (e.g., live animals and firearms).

Other Theft Offenses

There are various other theft offenses aside from petit and grand larceny for which there are separate code sections. For example, Va. Code § 18.2-103 defines shoplifting as a separate offense, but the charges and penalties are mostly the same as those for larceny. Shoplifting goods valued at less than $500 is a misdemeanor, and shoplifting goods valued at more than $500 is a felony.
Burglary also involves an element of theft. This offense occurs when individuals break into private buildings with the intent to steal money or goods. As a theft lawyer in Fairfax County may advise, burglary is always a felony offense with serious ranges of imprisonment.

Another type of theft offense is robbery. To commit a robbery, individuals must take money or goods directly from a person by using some force or threat of force or violence. Robbery also is a felony that carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison but can range up to life in prison.

Restitution for Shoplifting and Employee Theft

As a separate consequence for those convicted of shoplifting or employee theft, Va. Code § 8.01-44.4 makes individuals who commit larceny from businesses or who steal from their employees to have civil liability for the money or goods taken. More specifically, these individuals are liable to the store or employer for $50 or twice the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater.

Nonetheless, if the business owner can recover possession of the property in a condition that allows it to be resold, then the liability of the accused is limited to $250, in addition to reasonable court costs and attorney fees not more than $150. As the combination of criminal penalties and civil liability can be harsh, individuals may benefit from reaching out to a Fairfax theft attorney. An experienced lawyer could build a strong defense for an accused individual.

Talk to a Fairfax County Theft Attorney Today

Although facing theft charges is not a pleasant experience, there are legal and mitigation defenses available in some cases involving allegations of theft. Questions regarding your intent to commit theft and your belief in ownership of certain property can result in strong defenses to the charges against you, depending on the circumstances.

A Fairfax County theft lawyer may be able to assist you in determining what defenses to theft charges may be available to you.