There are many degrees of severity when it comes to theft charges in Prince William County. Depending on the value of the item allegedly taken, theft penalties can vary from a small fine to possible years of incarceration. The penalties accrued for a theft charge in Prince William County can often be overwhelming, and require the assistance of an experienced attorney. The proper lawyer can aid in reducing any consequences that resulted from your particular theft charge.
Theft penalties in Prince William County vary depending on the severity of the charge. Misdemeanor theft charges, since they fall into the misdemeanor category of Virginia criminal offenses, are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine if found guilty. This would be in addition to what’s called restitution, that an individual might have to pay to make up for the amount that they stole, or for the value of the item that they stole. If somebody is facing their third petty larceny offense, it is considered a felony by the court. Therefore, the consequences are much more serious.
For a felony theft offense to be brought up in court, property over $500 must be stolen, or property worth over $5 must be directly taken from somebody. Therefore, going after somebody and taking money, or taking any type of gun or firearm, would be considered a felony, or grand larceny, in Virginia.
In these cases, a guide called the Virginia Sentencing Guideline will be used to determine the correct sentencing procedure. Individuals who have multiple past convictions will be facing a larger sentencing guideline range than those who have no criminal record. A Prince William county attorney can assist in lessening any potential penalties associated with a theft charge.
Grand larceny could carry with it a sentence of anywhere from one year to twenty years in prison. A Prince William County judge may also institute a theft penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine. Depending on the case, there can certainly be more or less jail time involved, as well as more or less restitution owed to the establishment or person the items were taken from. If somebody is convicted of theft and it rises to the felony level, an individual can face up to twenty years in a state prison here in Prince William County. They can additionally have a fine imposed upon them, and the restitution owed would be significant for that type of case.
If somebody is charged with any crime, their criminal history and background would cause the prosecution to treat the case differently. For example, if somebody’s first offense is petty larceny, they may have the opportunity to be eligible for some kind of deferred disposition or a diversionary program that would allow them to complete community service in order to have their charges either dismissed or reduced. The penalties for theft in Prince William County depend heavily on what a person has been involved with in the past.
Somebody who has a criminal conviction would not be eligible for that type of program. These programs are also dependent on the county in which the charge originated, as different counties run different programs. In general, if an individual has any criminal convictions, they are not going to be eligible for any lenient treatment. If an individual is facing a felony theft offense and has past convictions, then their sentence will be negatively affected.
In Alexandria, there is a program known as the Stop Shop Program. It is a shoplifting course that those who are first-time defendants in shoplifting cases are eligible to take and have their sentence – or have their charge dismissed – after they complete a certain amount of community service, classes, and probation. This type of diversionary program is only available to first offenders in certain counties in Virginia.
A person charged with theft should contact an experienced theft lawyer in Prince William County. They should ask to speak to a lawyer as soon as they are stopped whether it would be by somebody who works at a store or by the police officer themselves. The sooner they speak to a lawyer the better, especially when it comes to talking to law enforcement officers or loss prevention officers, somebody should not do that without speaking with their attorneys first.
If you are facing theft charges in Prince William County, the sooner you get the help of a skilled theft lawyer, the more help they can be and the more they will be able to help control the damage of your charges and the potential penalties.