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What Should I Expect From a Larceny Case in Virginia?

Having to go to court to face charges of larceny can be a frightening experience. Many people are unaware of what to do, what to say, how to look, or even where to go. An experienced Virginia larceny lawyer can help walk you through the process and defend you during this trying time.

Virginia larceny attorney Karin Riley Porter answers questions about what a person can expect from their first day in court for a larceny case, and from the Virginia criminal process in general.

What To Expect On the First Day of Court

Someone’s experience on the first day of court really depends on the court and depends on the type of larceny. If someone does not have a criminal record and they are charged with stealing a candy bar from 7-Eleven then probably they are not going to be facing a jail sentence. But this varies from jurisdictions.

And it depends on what they stole, it depends on whether restitution is paid or whether the goods were returned, it depends whether the person has a repeated pattern.  It also depends if the theft was from a store or from somebody’s house or was it from a car.

Some courts do impose a jail sentence for a first offense petty larceny, but that’s not necessarily what their major concern should be.  The concern should be having a conviction on the record because once you have a theft conviction on your record then it makes  finding employment extremely difficult because larceny is categorized as a crime involving moral turpitude so lying, cheating and stealing.

Those types of crimes are a red flag to potential employers.  And so if you’re convicted of larceny even though it’s just a candy bar from 7-Eleven in Virginia it’s going to stay on your record forever. So even though it’s a minor offense it will have pretty significant consequence for the future even if you don’t serve a jail sentence.

The first day in court will also depend on where you are.  A person should hire an experienced attorney who practices in the jurisdiction in which they’re charged because some jurisdictions do have specific programs that can be very beneficial.  So it is important to hire an larceny attorney that practices in the jurisdiction in which an individual is charged so that they know the local rules and the expectations for each separate jurisdiction.

How Does Virginia Treat Larceny Cases?

Generally you are going to see less jail and prison time with larceny cases just because larceny is not a crime of violence.  And also the sentencing guidelines for felony property crimes are going to be a lot lower than they are for violent crimes. But that doesn’t mean that the prosecution doesn’t take the cases seriously especially if they are dealing with somebody who makes a habit of it.

In those cases, they have to increase the penalties.  By statute, a third offense of misdemeanor larceny is a felony offense.  Whether or not a larceny offense is a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the value of the item stolen and where it’s stolen from. A theft from Target is treated differently than a theft of an automobile or a theft from somebody’s home.

Also, how the state treats larceny cases depends on what the victim wants. That should make a difference in the prosecution’s opinion on how to handle a case although sometimes it does matter to a prosecutor.

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