Under Virginia law, there are many crimes that are defined as theft offenses. These range widely from stealing small amounts of cash to holding someone up at gunpoint. Because there is such a vast range and variety of offenses, there is also a large range of potential consequences of a theft conviction. There are misdemeanors that have penalties of fines only or less than one year in jail, and there are crimes that would count toward the three strikes rule in the state of Virginia and could contribute to a requirement to serve a life sentence.
There are also thefts that are considered to be violent crimes and can result in an individual being labeled as a violent criminal. This can have grave effects, including compromising of your abilities to rent apartments, get jobs, achieve security clearances, or even to maintain custody of your children. Charges of theft are not to be taken lightly. If you are in this situation, you should work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, who will be able to pinpoint the best possible defenses and minimize your charges and penalties as much as possible.
Petit or “Petty” Larceny
Petit larceny, according to Virginia Code §18.2-96, is the theft of something that is valued at less than $5.00 from a person in a direct manner (such as grabbing it from the person) or taking money or property that is valued at less than $200 in an indirect manner (such as taking it from a purse or wallet that is not being watched). Petit larceny is a misdemeanor in the State of Virginia, and the consequences include fines and/or jail time. To read more on petty larceny, read:
Shoplifting is taking items from a store without paying the full price. This could involve switching price stickers so that you pay less than the item costs or hiding merchandise on your body and absconding with it. Under Virginia Code §18.2-103, swapping boxes so that you can pay less is also considered shoplifting. Depending on how much the items are worth (less than or more than $200), shoplifting can either be a petit larceny (misdemeanor) or grand larceny (felony). For more information on shoplifting, review:
Major Theft Crimes
Typically, the state of Virginia uses the monetary value of things that are stolen to distinguish between major and minor theft. Additionally, if violence is used or even threatened, an offense will be more likely to be considered a major theft crime which will be categorized as a felony offense in Virginia. To read more about major theft crimes in Virginia, review our informational page on:
Robbery, a felony under Virginia Code §18.2-58, is any type of theft that involves the threat or use of violence. An offense will be considered armed robbery if a weapon is used. An incidence of robbery will count toward the three strikes rule in Virginia, which means a potential life sentence after three convictions.
Burglary and Breaking and Entering
Essentially, burglary, which is a felony in Virginia, is the use of force to enter a building without permission and with the intent of committing a felony. Breaking and entering are entailed within this definition, which is described in Virginia Code §18.2-89 to §18.2-92; this involves creating an entrance to a building and then entering the building. Burglary is considered a violent crime and can cause the individual to be labeled as a violent offender.
Grand larceny is a felony and counts toward Virginia’s three strikes rule; according to Virginia Code §18.2-95, it involves the direct theft of something worth $5.00 or more or the indirect theft of something worth $200 or more. Essentially, it is similar to petit larceny, but it involves higher value items/money.
We Are Ready to Represent You!
If you have been charged with any theft crime in Virginia, it is highly recommended that you work with a legal professional to mitigate your penalties. The Brown Firm PLLC has extensive experience defending individuals in Virginia trial proceedings. Our criminal defense lawyers are prepared to protect your rights while working with the court and the prosecution to either lessen or dismiss your charges. Call our firm or contact us online to discuss your case and legal options.