Fairfax Theft Attorney
When people think of theft, they often think of physically stealing an item from a person or place, such as shoplifting or pickpocketing. However, Virginia law sets out a wide variety of theft offenses that involve many different types of actions. The potential charges and penalties for theft crimes also vary widely, depending on the particular circumstances of each individual case.
Each theft crime also has different elements that a prosecutor must prove in order to convict you of that particular crime. For this reason, if you are facing any type of theft crime charges, it is important that you have an experienced Fairfax theft lawyer who is familiar with the different types of theft under Virginia law. Learn about other criminal charges in Fairfax here.
The Advantages of a Fairfax Theft Lawyer
Theft crimes can vary from relatively minor to extremely serious. However, even if you are facing petty larceny charges, you always want to avoid having any criminal convictions on your record. Criminal convictions may have many adverse effects on your life, including more severe penalties if you ever get charged with another crime in the future.
For this reason, you want to avoid wrongful conviction at all costs, and an experienced theft defense attorney can help you do so.
Additionally, even if you decided to plead guilty to a theft offense, an experienced Fairfax theft lawyer will know how to negotiate with prosecutors and refute evidence in order to get you the most lenient sentence possible in your case.
People who try to represent themselves most often receive a much harsher sentence than they would have had they hired a quality defense attorney. For these reasons, it is always imperative that you call an experienced Fairfax theft lawyer for a free consultation.
Examples of Theft Crimes
Theft crimes in Virginia fall under the category of “larceny,” which generally means the unauthorized taking of money or property without the owner’s permission. An experienced Fairfax theft attorney will be able to elaborate on theft laws in Virginia, and help you to better understand the charges you are facing. The following are a few examples of different types of theft crimes in Fairfax:
You may be charged with petit (or petty) larceny if you do one of the following things:
- Take property directly from another’s person that is worth less than $5.00;
- Take property or services (not from another’s person) worth less than $200.00;
- Shoplift merchandise from a commercial establishment worth less than $200.
Petit larceny is generally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, meaning you could face up to a year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
You may be charged with grand larceny if you do one of the following:
- Take property directly from another’s person that is worth $5.00 or more;
- Take property or services (not from another’s person) worth $200.00;
- Shoplift merchandise from a commercial establishment worth $200 or more; or
- Taking a firearm of any value.
In most cases, grand larceny is charged as a felony and the degree of felony can depend on the value of the property stolen. Sentences for felony charges may range from one to 20 years in prison.
Robbery is one of the most serious theft crimes because it involves the threat or use of force in order to take the money or property. You may face robbery charges if you:
- Use violence against a victim;
- Put a victim in fear of serious bodily harm;
- Use or threaten to use a firearm or other deadly weapon.
Robbery is a serious felony and most robbery convictions mean mandatory and significant prison time.
White Collar Theft Crimes
There are a number of theft crimes that fall under the category of “white collar crime,” which means a non-violent act meant for financial gain. These offenses use deceptive techniques or breach of fiduciary duty instead of simply physically taking items or money. Such offenses include the following:
- Money laundering
- Credit card fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, and other types of fraud
- Identity theft
There are many different ways that people may scheme in order to steal money or property from companies or other individuals. Some of these white collar crimes involve a one-time act and a small amount of money, while other schemes may go on for years and involve millions and millions of dollars, leaving victims in financial ruin. The penalties you may face for white collar theft crimes depend on the type of act and the amount of money or property that was taken.
Sometimes, you may be implicated in a white collar crime when you did not even know any wrongful act was occurring. This occurs when you are the accountant or bookkeeper in a company in which fraud is taking place. Authorities may assume that you were involved in the conspiracy. It is always important to have the assistance of an experienced Fairfax theft lawyer if you are suspected of white collar crime.