Virginia Theft Lawyer

A Virginia theft lawyer can help if you have been accused of stealing property, money, or services. Under Virginia law, a variety of crimes fall under the broad category of theft, including shoplifting, robbery, and burglary. The consequences if convicted of a theft offense vary depending upon the specific criminal act prosecutors charge you with. You need an attorney in Virginia to develop a strategic approach to resolving your criminal charges.

Being accused of theft is frightening, but not every accusation leads to a conviction. The job of a Virginia theft lawyer is to help you understand your legal options as you navigate the criminal justice system. Your attorney can negotiate a plea bargain, fight to get charges dropped, or help introduce doubt at trial. The right approach depends upon the specifics of your case, so it is important to involve an attorney in your legal defense as soon as possible after you have been charged with theft.

How a Virginia Theft Lawyer Can Help

The penalties for theft crimes are serious and you need to vigorously defend yourself when facing charges. A Virginia Theft lawyer can assist you in:

  • Determining if your Fourth Amendment rights were violated. Evidence obtained in an illegal search cannot be used to convict you of a theft offense.
  • Investigating the circumstances of your arrest and the alleged theft offense to identify defenses such as entrapment or mistaken identity.
  • Interviewing witnesses including eyewitnesses and law enforcement officers to find potential discrepancies or inaccuracies in their version of events. Remember, you only have to introduce doubt.
  • Presenting evidence in court to try to avoid conviction.

Theft Crimes in Virginia

Theft refers broadly to taking another person’s property without consent in order to deprive the rightful owner of that property. In Virginia, individuals can be arrested for robbery, burglary or larceny depending on how the property was taken.

  • Larceny comes in two forms (grand and petit) and is the most general type of theft crime. Grand larceny is a felony crime and petit larceny is a misdemeanor.
  • Robbery generally involves the use of force, violence, or a weapon to remove something of value directly from another person.
  • Burglary is the act of breaking into a domicile or other building with the intent to commit larceny or other crimes.

When you have been accused of a theft offense, you do not have to demonstrate your innocence to avoid conviction. If the prosecutor cannot prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a jury should not find you guilty of a theft crime.

Virginia Laws on Theft Offenses

To convict you of theft, a prosecutor must do more than simply showing you have stolen property in your possession. The Virginia theft crimes of larceny, robbery, and burglary all have specific legal definitions. For example:

  • Section 18.2-96 defines petit larceny as taking money, goods or anything of value up to $500.
  • Section 18.2-95 defines grand larceny as taking items of value exceeding $500.
  • Section 18.2-108.01 defines the sale of stolen goods valued at $500 or more as a Class 5 felony if you knew or should have known the goods were stolen.
  • Section 18.2-89 defines burglary as breaking into someone’s house at night with the intention of committing larceny or another felony.
  • Section 18.2-58 defines robbery as using any type of threats or violence (including striking, beating or assault) to commit a theft.

Theft offenses may be classified as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Simple larceny of items valued up to $500 is usually a misdemeanor, which means you face a fine and up to a year of incarceration if convicted. Burglary, robbery and the theft of merchandise valued at $500 or more can result in felony charges and potential penalties of 20 years of incarceration.

Contact a Virginia Defense Attorney Today

An experienced Virginia theft lawyer will be there for you every step of the way in your criminal case, whether you need help negotiating a plea bargain or want to fight a theft charge at trial.  Call as soon as possible after your arrest to get the legal help you need.

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