Virginia Theft Lawyer

Theft or larceny refers to stealing things of value belonging to others without their consent and with the intent to permanently withhold it from the owner of the property. Larceny may occur in the context of stealing from a person, a private home, or a business. As the resulting penalties from a larceny conviction may be severe, you may wish to consult a Virginia theft lawyer if you are facing larceny charges.

When you accumulate prior larceny convictions, or some other circumstances exist, you may be at risk of enhanced penalties for larceny. You are likely to face a mandatory term of incarceration in these cases. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer may be able to analyze your situation and determine the most effective defense strategy for your case. To get started on building a defense, be sure to schedule a consultation today.

Petit Larceny in Virginia

Va. Code § 18.2-96 sets forth the offense of petit larceny. This criminal offense occurs when individuals steal money or something else with a value of less than five dollars from the person of another, or goods valued at less than $500.

Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia law. A Class 1 misdemeanor conviction can result in up to 12 months in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine. A theft lawyer in Virginia may help minimize the penalties that individuals may face for a petit larceny conviction.

Grand Larceny in Virginia

Grand larceny is a felony offense that occurs under Va. Code § 18.2-95 when individuals:

  • Commit simple larceny from the person of another of money or anything valued at more than five dollars
  • Steal goods valued at $500 or more
  • Steal a firearm

Under state law, a conviction for grand larceny has the potential to result in harsher penalties than for a petit larceny conviction. Individuals can face a prison sentence ranging from one to 20 years if convicted. However, a sentencing judge or jury has the discretion to reduce the possible penalty for a grand larceny conviction to less than 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both.

Second and subsequent larceny convictions, whether for petit larceny or grand larceny, carry the potential for more severe punishments. A second conviction for theft has a mandatory minimum 30-day jail sentence and could result in up to one year in jail. However, a third felony conviction is a Class 6 felony offense, which can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to five years. An individual facing these penalties should seek the services of a Virginia theft attorney right away.

Virginia Shoplifting Laws

Although the penalties are the same, Va. Code § 18.2-103 establishes shoplifting as a criminal offense separate from petit or grand larceny. Therefore, if the goods are worth $500 or more, the crime is punishable for grand larceny. If the products are worth less than $500, the offense is punishable for petit larceny.

The significant difference between shoplifting and regular larceny is that individuals accused of shoplifting also can face civil liability under Va. Code § 8.01-44.4. If business owners recover the stolen undamaged goods that they can resell, the maximum amount of civil liability for the accused is $350, plus reasonable court costs and a maximum of $150 of attorneys’ fees. If the store owners cannot recover the stolen goods or they are damaged, they can recover $50 or a sum twice the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater.

Enhancements to Theft Offenses

Individuals may face more severe penalties in some cases, such as when they commit grand larceny with the intention to sell or distribute the stolen property. Under Va. Code § 18.2-108.01, theft of more than one of the same item constitutes evidence that the individuals intended to sell or distribute the items. This crime is a felony that can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years.

Likewise, any individuals who sell, intend to sell or possess with intent to sell, property valued at $500 or more, and they know or reasonably should have known that it was stolen, violate this code section. This offense is a Class 5 felony under Virginia law. For more information, consult with a dedicated lawyer.

A Virginia Theft Attorney May Be Able to Help

Although theft may seem like a minor offense, you can serve up to a year in jail for stealing property worth less than $500. Due to the potential severity of these penalties, individuals may wish to contact a Virginia theft lawyer for guidance.

A felony conviction for grand larceny can have a significant impact on various aspects of your life. You will lose some civil rights, such as the right to own firearms and be disqualified from some jobs and careers. You also may have difficulties finding employment and housing. Schedule a consultation today to start building a convincing defense.