Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
A person may be charged with theft if they take control of property that is not theirs. These charges could be issued when taking property off another’s land, attempting to steal items from a store, or something as simple as a dine and dash.
If you are facing this criminal charge, you might benefit from contacting a Fredericksburg theft lawyer. A seasoned criminal defense attorney could gather any evidence that may help your case and make arguments in court to protect your freedom.
Theft is a multi-level offense, meaning the punishments depend on a variety of circumstances. One circumstance involves the value of the items taken. According to Virginia Code §18.2-96, it is a misdemeanor level offense to steal any item with a value of less than $500. This offense is called petit larceny.
More serious cases of theft are treated as felonies. Under VA Code §18.2-95, a person commits grand larceny when the value of the item is more than $500, or if the item taken off a person’s body has a value of more than $5. It is also a felony to steal any firearm. These offenses carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years. A Fredericksburg attorney could help people to understand the extent of the theft charges they are facing.
A key aspect of a case is how a police officer obtained probable cause to make an arrest. It is rare for a police officer to witness a theft personally, and many cases rely on search warrants to gather evidence. A theft attorney in Fredericksburg could help to challenge the legality of these charges and accusations.
Another prominent part of many larceny cases is whether a defendant intended to deprive the owner of a property of that property’s use. For example, a theft charge may arise out of a misunderstanding about the loaning of an item. A defendant may be able to argue that there was a genuine dispute as to the ownership of the property and that they never intended to deprive the owner of its use. A lawyer could investigate the motivations of the people involved in the case to determine if a prosecutor can prove that a defendant had the necessary state of mind to commit a theft.
Any charge of theft is a serious matter. Even if a court classifies the offense as a misdemeanor, a conviction will create a criminal record and can require you to serve time in jail.
A powerful defense against allegations of theft is crucial. An attorney could argue that you did not intend to deprive the owner of the use of the item, or that the way that police gathered evidence violated your Constitutional rights.
A Fredericksburg theft lawyer could help you to present these defenses in court. Contact a lawyer today to discuss your case.