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NoVa Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting may not seem like a substantial charge compared to other types of theft charges, but it is treated equivalently to larceny under Virginia law. This means that a conviction could allow for significant penalties, even for someone who has no history of other criminal charges.

If you or your child are dealing with allegations of unlawfully taking or altering goods from a retail store, you may want to reach out to a NoVa shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible. Store owners and law enforcement authorities take this offense seriously in many situations, and you may have slim chances of securing a positive case resolution without a qualified theft attorney’s support.

What is Considered Shoplifting in NoVa?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-103 establishes that anyone who commits any of the following acts with the intent of defrauding a store owner of the impacted goods’ value or taking those goods without paying for them has engaged in a form of larceny:

  • Willfully concealing unpurchased merchandise on their person while inside a store
  • Altering an item’s price tag
  • Transferring goods from one container to another
  • Helping someone else commit any of the aforementioned acts

A person who commits any of these actions does not have to successfully remove merchandise from the premises of the store in order to be charged with, and convicted of, a criminal offense. The act of concealing the merchandise or doing anything to change its value qualifies as evidence of intent to commit larceny.

There are circumstances in which store employees or law enforcement officers misinterpret the actions of customers and accuse them of theft when they had no intention of stealing anything. Representation from a shoplifting attorney in NoVa could be essential to resolving this kind of situation as efficiently as possible and defend your rights.

Shoplifting Conviction Penalties

Since shoplifting is treated the same way as larceny, the penalties for a conviction are the same as those associated with petit and grand larceny as defined by VA Code § 18.2-95 and 18.2-96. Theft of items worth less than $1,000 is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by a one-year jail sentence plus a maximum of $2,500 in fines.

Stealing more than $1,000 of merchandise is a felony that a court could punish at their discretion with a prison sentence of one to 20 years, or the same penalties as those associated with Class 1 misdemeanors. Convicted shoplifters may also be civilly liable to the owner of the store that they stole from for the value of the items they took. A committed NoVa shoplifting defense lawyer could help determine the value of the goods shoplifted and attempt to reduce penalties for the accused party.

Get in Touch with a NoVa Attorney Today

Regardless of your criminal record or lack thereof one, a single conviction for shoplifting could dramatically alter your future. In addition to sanctions handed down by a criminal court, a conviction may negatively alter employment and academic opportunities, impact your ability to serve in the military, and even put your immigration status at risk if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Help is available from a tenacious NoVa shoplifting lawyer who could work on your behalf to protect your rights and interests. Seek the services of our dedicated attorneys today.

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