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Theft Charges: Legal Defense Against Theft Accusations

A conviction for misdemeanor or felony theft charges can haunt your future for years to come, not only affecting your social reputation, but also potential job opportunities and more. This is why it is critical to speak with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. At Williams Stone, PC, we defend individuals accused of theft crimes throughout northern Virginia. The sooner we speak, the sooner we can begin building a personalized case strategy to reduce or eliminate your charges. Call 540-643-9260 right away!

Common Theft Charges In Virginia

Shoplifting is the crime most people envision when they hear someone is facing a charge of theft. However, there are many different crimes that fall under the umbrella category of “theft charges” in Virginia. Our firm can help defend you against any and all forms of theft crimes, including:

  • Identity theft
  • Larceny of animals or poultry
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Robbery or burglary
  • Shoplifting
  • Stolen bank notes or checks
  • Theft of personal property using force
  • Theft or destruction of public records
  • Unauthorized use of an animal, vehicle, boat or aircraft
  • White collar crimes such as embezzlement

The potential penalties you could face will depend upon the specific circumstances of your case. For example, someone who falsely charges thousands of dollars to someone else’s credit card will face more severe penalties than someone who allegedly stole a $20 DVD. Our goal, regardless of your situation, is to secure the most favorable outcome. This helps to ensure that your criminal case will have as little impact on your future as possible.

An Overview Of Virginia’s Larceny Laws

In Virginia, larceny crimes are categorized into several groups based on the value of the stolen property, the manner of theft and the type of items taken. Two primary classifications are grand larceny and petit larceny. Grand larceny involves the theft of items worth $5 or more directly from a person, the theft of goods valued at $200 or more, or stealing any firearm regardless of its value. On the other hand, petit larceny refers to stealing items valued at less than $5 directly from a person or taking goods worth less than $200 from any location.

What Is The Difference Between Grand And Petit Larceny?

The legal consequences for larceny in Virginia vary significantly between grand and petit larceny. For grand larceny, the maximum punishment can be as severe as 20 years in prison. However, there is leeway for a lighter sentence, such as treating it as a misdemeanor, mainly when the stolen property’s value is marginally over $200 or the accused has no prior criminal record. In such misdemeanor cases, the offender may face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Petit larceny, classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, also carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. However, for those with a prior conviction, the jail time can range from 30 days to 12 months. Furthermore, with two previous convictions, the offense escalates to a Class 6 felony, with a stiffer penalty ranging from one to five years in prison or, at the court’s discretion, a 12-month jail term and/or a $2,500 fine.

  • Grand larceny involves theft of items worth $5 or more from a person, $200 or more in goods, or any firearm.
  • Petit larceny includes theft of items worth less than $5 from a person or less than $200 in goods from any location.
  • Grand larceny can result in up to 20 years in prison but may be treated as a misdemeanor in certain cases.
  • Petit larceny, a Class 1 misdemeanor, can lead to up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
  • Prior convictions for larceny can lead to increased penalties, with two prior convictions elevating the crime to a Class 6 felony.

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is essential for legal defense because they can provide critical guidance on the complexities of larceny charges and potential penalties in Virginia.

Can I Beat A Larceny Or Theft Charge?

The answer to this question lies around several factors. When one challenges a charge of larceny, the focus is often centered around your “intent.” If the prosecution cannot prove that you intended to steal something and that it was not accidental or an oversight on your part. In cases of receiving stolen property, the prosecution must be able to prove that you knew about the items being stolen.

It is also possible to challenge the overall value of the items stolen. If the property in question is determined to be less than $200, a misdemeanor charge is likely and your penalties are much less severe. Reducing a charge of grand larceny to petty larceny in other words.

Other Possible Punishment For Theft Convictions

At Williams Stone, PC, we always believe you need to be aware of potential consequences you may face. In the case of theft, our attorneys will work hard to mitigate any damage or fallout stemming from a theft conviction; however, the following may still apply if found guilty:

  • As mentioned above, grand larceny is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. You may face only up to 12 months in jail and/or pay a fine of $2,500 at the sole discretion of the judge and jury.
  • If convicted of petit larceny, you may be looking at 30 days to 12 months in jail or just a fine of $2,000 for a first petit larceny conviction. If you have a prior petit larceny conviction on your record, you face a Class 6 felony and could receive an extended prison term.
  • If convicted of larceny of certain animals where the value is more than $200, the same applies as mentioned with grand larceny above.
  • Carjacking may result in 15 years to life in prison.
  • If convicted of robbery, you may be sentenced to at least (5) years in prison.
  • Burglary in Virginia is a Class 3 felony, which brings five to 20 years in prison along with a hefty fine. If a deadly weapon was used during the burglary, you will likely face more severe consequences.

Contact Our Skilled, Aggressive Attorneys

Our attorneys are committed to providing their clients with exceptional service that is aimed at getting the results they need. We offer personalized service and will work directly with you from the beginning of your case to the end. Call 540-643-9260 or email us to schedule your FREE consultation today. Virtual consultations are also available.