Larceny Charge: Shoplifting & Theft Crimes in Virginia
What is a Larceny Charge?
Clients often describe being charged with shoplifting, theft or stealing. Things such as shoplifting, auto theft and/or any other crime where something is stolen from the owner without direct contact with the owner, or without entry into the owner’s home falls into the category of larceny. In Virginia, larceny is defined as a taking, not directly from a person, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item. In Virginia, there are two potential larceny charges, grand larceny and petit larceny (sometimes indicated as petty larceny). Virginia Code §18.2-95 and §18.2-96 defines whether the act will qualify as grand larceny or petit larceny. Among several other criteria, the main distinction between the two is the value of the item taken.
Under Virginia Law – Grand Larceny and Petit Larceny
Under Virginia law, grand larceny is larceny of an item with a value of $200 or greater, while larceny of an item with a value of less than $200 is petit larceny (petty larceny). Grand larceny also includes theft from a person of money or a thing with a value of $5 or more or larceny of a firearm not from the person. Petit larceny includes theft from a person of money or thing with a value less than $5.
Another significant distinction between the two larceny charges (grand larceny and petit larceny) lies in the level of punishment. Petty larceny charges are Class 1 Misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2500 fine. Grand larceny charges, on the other hand, are felonies with a potential punishment of up to 20 years in jail.
Naturally, there are times when people are wrongly accused, or when legitimate defenses to the charges exist (including Constitutional issues arising from the actions of law enforcement). Further, some jurisdictions offer first offender dispositions that can result in no conviction.
For these reasons, the importance of an experienced theft crimes lawyer is obvious. The Northern Virginia Lawfirm Petrovich & Walsh PLC provide quality and experienced representation in all shoplifting, grand larceny in VA and theft crimes matters in Virginia to include: Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Prince William County, Arlington County, Alexandria City, Loudoun County in Virginia.