Theft is a very old crime and is defined in the same capacity at both the local and state level. There are certain limitations on what a locality could enact in their municipal codes, and most tend to mirror the Virginia state criminal code almost exactly.
The only difference is that a locality has chosen to punish an offense either more or less severely than the state code does. A Prince William County theft lawyer may be able to explain the consequences of any charges. Reach out to a skilled defense attorney today that could help build your case.
The common law name of theft is called “larceny,” and Virginia has not chosen to statutorily modify the common law definition of larceny. It is defined as the wrongful or fraudulent taking of personal goods belonging to another without the owner’s consent, and with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property. This intention is often referred to as the “intent to steal.”
Larceny consists of:
Additional elements for specific types of larceny include other things such as the value of the property at the time it was taken, and whether the accused intended to subsequently distribute the property to someone else versus keeping it for himself.
In Virginia, theft charges could be either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the value and type of property that was stolen. There are also offenses other than larceny which could be commonly charged in theft situations involving fraud or deceit such as:
Prosecutors could also charge people for simply attempting to do any of these things in situations where no property is actually ever successfully taken away from the owner.
With theft defenses, there is a high risk that the defendant may have to pay back money directly to the plaintiff on top of any fine or court costs. Convictions for theft defenses are also more likely to result in a court order prohibiting the defendant from ever transacting with the plaintiff again.
Theft convictions are considered by law to establish bad moral character, which could jeopardize many other things in a person’s life such as job and military eligibility, immigration status, and more.
A Prince Wiliam County theft lawyer may want to establish the severity and type of theft charged, followed by getting a summary of the factual circumstances regarding how the defendant came to be charged with the offense. A seasoned Virginia theft lawyer could potentially help with this process. By contacting a skilled theft lawyer, you may be able to build a strong defense and defend your rights.
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