If you have been charged with a theft offense, not only are you likely facing very serious legal consequences, but your professional and personal life may suffer if you have a conviction for this offense on your criminal record. With this in mind, if you are accused of theft, an experienced Alexandria theft lawyer might be able to help you avoid many, or all, of the tragedies associated with a conviction.
Misdemeanor theft of any kind is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Felony theft punishments can bring prison sentences that also begin at a year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500. The maximum theft penalties can be as severe as 20 years or more in prison, depending on the circumstances, if any underlying felonies are filed along with the theft, and if there are a large number of victims (or offenses charged at the same time), all making it important that an experienced a criminal lawyer in Alexandria is contacted as soon as possible.
The dividing line between all misdemeanor and felony theft charges of any kind is the value of goods or services stolen. If more than $500 is appropriated, it’s a felony (grand larceny). Less is a misdemeanor (petit larceny). Suspects could face jail time and fines if charged with misdemeanors or felonies surrounding any of the crimes listed below.
The following violations of Commonwealth statutes are considered white collar theft crimes and could instead be charged as federal violations, thereby making it important a theft attorney in Alexandria is contacted.
Depending on what type of theft charge an individual is specifically charged with, the prosecutor will need to prove a variety of elements. The prosecutor needs to prove there was theft, specifically that money or an object was actually taken. Most of the theft offenses in Virginia will require proof that something was taken of value and there was an intent to deprive the owner of it permanently.
If money was taken, the prosecutor will have to show the amount of money and prove there was that money existing was physically taken and not recovered. Otherwise, if an item was taken, prosecutors would question if it was worth more or less than $500.
If the value of the item was under $500, then it is a misdemeanor. If the value was over $500 it could be a felony offense and the prosecutor is going to have to prove that it was more than $500 in order to be able to charge as a felony.
Robbery is a crime involving both theft and violence (or the threat of violence). In order to be convicted of a robbery, any (and possibly all) of the following are involved if the suspect uses:
Robbery can be charged as several different felonies, depending on the harm done to the victim when the crime is committed. Punishments can range from one to five years, to even life in prison if other serious felonies are filed against the accused in conjunction with the robbery.
Armed robbery sentences begin at five years. However, if one is convicted of aggravated armed robbery where the victim was harmed, an Alexandria theft lawyer should be contacted as suspects can receive up to a life prison sentence.
Burglary is viewed as only a crime of property (where no person is confronted during the commission of the theft. Breaking and entering a locked home or business for the purposes of burglary is a felony. The penalties for being convicted of burglary, a class 3 felony, are five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
However, if the building or residence is not secured (locked), and less than $500 is stolen, it can be charged as a statutory burglary, which could be a misdemeanor if no evidence of other offenses is present. Either burglary with intent to destroy property, or to rape, even if the subsequent crime is not committed, can be charged as serious felonies.
If a burglar was armed with a deadly weapon, it’s the same as armed robbery, a class 2 felony that results in 20 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to $100,00. Any previous larceny conviction, even a misdemeanor, adds at least 30 days to any subsequent misdemeanor theft jail sentence, and at least a year to any subsequent felony theft or burglary prison or jail term. The “lookback period” in which previous convictions can factor into future sentences is 15 years. Regardless of the theft charge, whether it’s a first offense or not, an experienced Alexandria theft lawyer who deals with local prosecutors and judges on a daily basis is capable of mounting a capable defense.
When working with a client charged with theft, the defense lawyer is working not only to help get the client a not guilty verdict or to have the charge dismissed, but the lawyer is also trying to help mitigate the effect that the charge will have on that person’s future, especially somebody with their first ever criminal charge, as this type of offense on their record could be consequential when it comes to employment opportunities and future career opportunities.
In that scenario, a theft attorney in Alexandria is looking at the big picture beyond this case to see what kind of outcome will be most suitable for their client given their circumstances and given their career goals and life goals.
An experienced lawyer can provide different types of support to somebody facing theft charges. an Alexandria theft lawyer can help preemptively keep the client from speaking with law enforcement officers or loss prevention officers and admitting to anything that can be used against them during a trial or during the criminal process. An attorney can also help with somebody facing charges by coordinating a meeting between that person and the police officers to help explain what happened but without admitting anything and an attorney would be helpful in facilitating that type of interaction in order to help the client in making the best statements for their case.
A defense attorney will be able to help you as soon as the criminal process itself has started. If you have been arrested, an Alexandria theft attorney will be able to help you get out on bond, so you will not have to be held until the court date. If you are being brought in for a hearing or going through the trial process, the attorney will be able to help advocate for you in order to achieve the most positive result.