While an accusation of theft may not seem like a serious criminal offense, it can have negative consequences for your life. In addition to any penalties that a court may impose, a criminal conviction will remain on your record.
This means that your conviction can be discovered by anyone who performs a background check on you, including employers, landlords, and your child’s school. Although it may seem like a minor offense, it is crime that many look unfavorably upon, especially when it comes to putting you in a position of trust.
If you are accused of any type of theft, you may want to get advice from a Culpeper County theft lawyer prior to making any admission of guilt in your case.
There are two levels of larceny under Virginia law: petit larceny and grand larceny. Petit larceny is the less serious of the two types of larceny and involves the theft of items with a value of less than $500, as well as the theft of items directly from another with a value of less than $5, pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-96. Since these values are extremely low, even the theft of relatively inexpensive items can be charged as grand larceny, which is the more serious level of classification for theft offenses.
Grand larceny, which is set forth at Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-95, involves the theft of items with a value of $500 or more and the theft of items directly from another with a value of more than $5. Additionally, the theft of a firearm of any value constitutes grand larceny. If individuals have two or more prior convictions for petit larceny, the charge also becomes the felony offense of grand larceny, regardless of the value of the items stolen.
Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-103 establishes the crime of concealment, which involves an intent to unlawfully remove merchandise from a store by concealing it, altering the price tag, or otherwise committing some sort of fraud. Concealment can occur even if the merchandise never leaves the store. As is the case with larceny, concealment constitutes misdemeanor petit larceny if the value of the goods is less than $500, and felony petit larceny if the value of the goods is $500 or more.
Petit larceny is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means that a conviction can result in up to 12 months of incarceration and payment of a fine of up to $2,500. Grand larceny is a felony offense, which can result in a potential sentence of incarceration upon conviction ranging from one to 20 years of incarceration, as well as a $2,500 fine.
Aside from the sentence of incarceration and fine, being convicted of grand larceny as a felony offense can result in an inability to carry a firearm or vote. There are civil penalties that potentially may stem from any larceny conviction in Virginia, as well. Individuals who shoplift merchandise from a store may be civilly liable to the store owner for $50 or two times the value of the shoplifted merchandise, whichever is greater.
However, the total liability may not exceed $350 if the store owner recovers the merchandise in a condition in which it can be resold. Store owners also can recover reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees in an amount up to $150 for bringing the civil action.
Both petit and grand larceny charges can result in a conviction with serious penalties and unfairly label you with a black mark on your criminal record. Aside from potential incarceration and high fines, you also may face civil liability, difficulties getting jobs, problems renting in certain areas, and an inability to exercise some rights.
If you are in this situation, consider contacting an experienced Culpeper County theft lawyer, who may be able to give you the counsel and advice that would be beneficial to you in this situation.