In Prince William County just as in all of Virginia, theft and larceny are generally defined as taking the property of another without the intent to return the property.
With theft, when a person takes something it is not directly from the person of somebody else, so the owner was not physically in immediate possession of the property, and if they were, its value has to remain under $5 to continue to be classified as theft. So theft can either be played out in a very low-value pickpocket situation, or as an act of nonviolent stealing.
Virginia interchangeably uses both theft and larceny as terminology to describe theft, and in discussing both, what is being addressed is the taking of another’s property without their consent and with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property.
If you are facing theft charges in Prince William County, an experienced criminal attorney can help build your defense against such charges and work toward obtaining your best possible outcome.
In Prince William County just as in the rest of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the general category of theft could include anything that has to do with the taking of property, including charges such as shoplifting, credit card fraud, identity theft, petty larceny, or grand larceny.
Petty larceny is a misdemeanor that involves the taking of anything that is valued below $500, while taking anything that is worth $500 or more is classified as grand larceny. Some of the more serious theft charges include embezzlement or false pretenses, burglary, robbery, or even automobile theft.
A conviction of any theft offense means that a person will have a criminal conviction on their record for the rest of their life. If the amount an individual is accused of taking is valued at less than $500, they are looking at a misdemeanor offense, which can lead to up to $2,500 in fines and up to 12 months in jail depending on the circumstances of the case. If the theft was of property worth more than $500, the accused will be facing a felony sentence, which could include time in prison and a much steeper fine, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal record.
Not only would the court sentence have an immediate impact on a person’s life, but the stigma attached to being convicted of a theft offense follows someone such that it often prevents people from being able to obtain employment. Family and friends discovering that a loved one has been convicted of theft, or coworkers discovering that a colleague has been convicted of theft, can quickly change a person’s image and how people think of them. There is a significant social stigma attached to theft, as well as a very realistic employment problem that would arise with the potential hiring of a person who has been convicted of theft, even if the conviction was for the most minor misdemeanor. Protection from future difficulties with obtaining employment is a significant reason to retain the services of a locally experienced theft lawyer.
If a person calls a criminal lawyer to discuss their theft charges, they can expect that the lawyer will sit down with them and ask them many specific questions about the facts of their case in order to make sure that they were properly charged with the correct type of theft.
In Virginia, the difference between larceny and theft is not really defined, they are used interchangeably. Theft is basically just any type of stealing or taking of another person’s money or property without their permission. Depending on how the law enforcement agency is alleging that an individual took this money and how much they are accused of taking, that is what makes the difference between the different types of charges in Virginia.
You can expect a Prince William County theft attorney to ask you about all the little details in order to figure out exactly what they are charging you with and what you should be charged with under the law.