Theft is a broad term that encompasses various types of criminal offenses, all of which involve the intentional and unlawful taking of property. Although theft sometimes does not involve violence or bodily harm to others, a conviction nonetheless may have harsh consequences for your future. If you have been accused of stealing, you should seek the services of a McLean theft lawyer who could determine the most effective defense strategy in your case.
Offenses involving theft or larceny can range from shoplifting to carjacking. Additionally, depending on the value of the items stolen and an individual’s criminal background, law enforcement may categorize these acts of misconduct as wither a misdemeanor or a felony. Regardless of the charge, a seasoned criminal defense attorney could be vital in protecting your rights and reaching a positive outcome in your case.
Theft consists of petit or grand larceny, depending on the value of the goods or property stolen. Virginia Code §18.2-96 defines petit larceny as stealing property valued at less than $500 or goods worth less than $5 if they are directly taken off of another person.
Under Va. Code §18.2-95, however, grand larceny involves stealing property worth $500 or more. This statute also includes instances where an individual takes property worth more than $5 directly from another person or an individual attempts to steal another person’s firearm. A theft lawyer in McLean could advise a defendant if they are facing charges for either petit or grand larceny.
Va. Code §18.2-103 establishes shoplifting as a separate stealing offense with similar penalties to those for larceny. The only additional sanction is the possibility of civil liability under Va. Code §8.01-44.4, which means that business owners who are the alleged victims of shoplifting have the right to sue alleged shoplifters in civil court.
If business or store owners are unable to recover the stolen goods in a saleable condition, then they can recover either $50 or a sum that is twice the value of the stolen property. If business owners recover the property in a condition in which they can resell it, their maximum civil liability is $350. Additionally, business owners may seek payment of reasonable court costs in addition to attorney fees of no more than $150.
Petit larceny carries the potential for a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of $2,500. Grand larceny generally results in more severe penalties, including one to 20 years in prison. A judge or jury sentencing a defendant on a grand larceny conviction, however, has the option to reduce their punishment to less than 12 months in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both.
A second conviction for either petit or grand larceny requires a minimum 30-day jail sentence, and a third larceny offense is a Class 6 felony, which could result in a prison sentence ranging from one to five years. An individual facing larceny penalties should speak with an accomplished lawyer as soon as possible.
Various other stealing offenses exist under state law. For example, conspiracy to commit larceny under Va. Code §18.2-23 occurs when two or more people agree to commit theft or help others steal goods worth $500 or more. Stealing with the intent to sell or distribute also are separate offenses. Other forms of larceny or theft may include:
Because some of these offenses involve substantial financial harm or bodily injuries to others, the consequences can be significant. A McLean lawyer with experience in theft cases could explain the various potential penalties for these and other offenses.
Because every theft case is different, the exact nature of a potential defense strategy depends on the facts surrounding your situation. A McLean theft lawyer could identify options to build a defense and establish the best course of action. For help building your case, schedule a consultation.
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