In Virginia, their are different tiers for similar criminal violations. Larceny, a form of theft in Virginia can be met with different penalties. “Grand larceny” would carry more serious penalties because Virginia statute defines it as a more serious offense. The focus of this article is to explain the difference between larceny and grand larceny in Virginia.
Taking a Look at Misdemeanor Larceny Versus Grand Larceny
The term “larceny” is defined as “wrongful taking of property.” Penal Law Section/Article 155.05 states that larceny occurs when the individual demonstrates conscious intent to deprive an owner of property. Larceny is punishable based on severity, which is assessed based on the value of property withheld or stolen. “Petit” larceny refers to a crime that bears a lower financial value. “Grand” larceny refers to a crime of substantial financial value. For more information on these specific topics, review our online resources:
Criminal Law Definitions of Petit Larceny and Grand Larceny
Stolen property valued at $1 million or more is automatically classified as Grand Larceny in the First Degree. Second Degree Grand Larceny occurs when the value of stolen property exceeds $50,000.00 but is less than $1 million. For theft of property valued in excess of $3,000 but less than $50,000.00, this is Third Degree Grand Larceny. Finally, if the property stolen is valued at more than $1,000.00 but less than $3,000.00, or if stolen property consists of credit cards, firearms, certain types of technology or public records, it is classified as Fourth Degree Grand Larceny.
Any crime classified as “Grand Larceny” is automatically also considered a felony charge. However, convicted felons face penalties that range from moderate to severe based on the severity of the crime. One unifying factor for all Grand Larceny felony convictions is mandatory jail time (six months or longer), which means all defendants in these cases are legally entitled to a trial by jury. Conversely, Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor charge. Defined by Penal Law Section/Article 155.25 as nothing more than “stealing property,” these lesser charges typically result in a trial by judge rather than a jury trial. For more information on felony and misdemeanor laws and penalties in Virginia, read:
Larceny Charges Defensible Under “Affirmative Defense”
Penal Law Section/Article 155.15 states that any defendant who affirms taking of property “under a claim of right in good faith” (aka the defendant had valid reasons to believe s/he was entitled to the property being taken), then this defense must be considered during trial. However, since this is a defense that falls under the classification of “affirmative defense,” it is one that must be established during trial by the defense rather than the prosecution. As such, this type of case differs from the traditional role of the prosecution to prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
When we go to trial, our firm’s experienced attorneys bring our considerable decades of expertise to bear to obtain your acquittal. You will receive the benefit of our masterful courtroom strategies, including the crafting of powerful arguments and compelling evidence for your defense, effective and convincing cross-examination of hostile witnesses for the prosecution, powerful counter-arguments through presentation of friendly witnesses for the defense and an unstoppable legal team with an extensive record of acquittals in high stakes trials.
Our Firm’s Defense is the Best Offense for You
If you are facing Petite Larceny or Grand Larceny charges, it is highly recommended that you consult with a licensed and qualified criminal defense lawyer. The criminal defense attorneys at The Brown Firm PLLC have decades of experience in litigation and will be able to craft a legal defense strategy so that you receive the best possible outcome for your case.
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