Shoplifting is a particularly serious offense to be charged with in Manassas. Shoplifting is considered larceny under Virginia law, so someone convicted of it can be sentenced to jail. In addition to that, they may face long-term consequences such as the loss of employment or difficulty getting a job in the future. Because it is considered to be a serious crime, it is important for someone charged with shoplifting in Manassas to work with an experienced criminal theft lawyer. An experienced Manassas shoplifting attorney can assist in building a defense and ensuring that those charged know what to expect throughout the legal process.
What is commonly referred to as “shoplifting” in Virginia is defined under §18.2-103 of the Virginia Code. The Code describes the offense as the deliberate taking of goods or merchandise belonging to another person without paying the full price.
This definition includes the elements which would be necessary for the prosecution to prove a shoplifting charge and get a conviction. These are also the elements which a Manassas shoplifting lawyer can defend against.
Regardless of the type of shoplifting that someone is charged with, there is always the possibility of a jail sentence as well as a significant fine being imposed. Someone charged with shoplifting in Manassas, should consult with a Manassas shoplifting lawyer so as to defend against these potential penalties, as well as the far-reaching consequences that this kind of conviction might have on a person’s career.
A misdemeanor shoplifting charge is classified as a class one misdemeanor under Virginia law. This means that a person charged with this crime could face up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. Whether a person will receive such a harsh punishment or whether it will be much less significant will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case as well as what the person’s previous record is.
Shoplifting is considered a felony if the items which are concealed or removed from the store are worth $200 or more.
Consequences for a second time offender in a shoplifting charge are almost certain to be different. Most courts believe in the idea that punishment should be graduated. In other words, the more offenses that are committed, the more severe the punishment should be. If someone has a previous conviction for shoplifting, they are almost certain to be facing more jail time and a larger fine than they did on the first conviction. A third shoplifting offense is considered to be a felony, even if the value of the goods in question is less than the $200 felony threshold. Anyone facing a repeat shoplifting charge should consider consulting with a shoplifting attorney in Manassas, as these charges carry even more significant consequences, making a strong defense imperative.
Shoplifting is different from other theft-related offenses because it relates specifically to concealing the goods of a store or shopkeeper while still inside the store. Theft and larceny can take place virtually anywhere but shoplifting relates specifically to larcenies that take place inside of a commercial establishment that sell goods to the public.
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