Stafford County Theft Penalties
Since there are different degrees of theft charges, the penalties in Stafford County that can be assigned depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. Generally, there are two categories of criminal offenses in Virginia: misdemeanor offenses and felony offenses. A misdemeanor theft charge in Stafford County carries a possible penalty of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. However, a theft charge which is considered a felony can range in penalties from one to 20 years in jail. To learn more about what types of penalties you may be facing or to begin building a defense for your case, consult with a Stafford County theft lawyer today.
Impact of Prior Convictions
There are a number of ways that prior criminal convictions can affect a person’s penalties in Stafford County. If a person has two or more prior, larceny-related or theft-related charges, any theft charge that would ordinarily be a misdemeanor then automatically becomes a felony. This is because it is a third or subsequent offense. In this regard, an individual’s criminal history can affect the decision made by the officers in what degree of theft to charge. Furthermore, if a person is convicted of theft, any prior criminal history will certainly weigh heavily in the court’s determination of what a fair and just sentence would be.
If a person has no criminal record, that person can expect a reasonable opportunity to get probation for their first offense theft. However, if the person has multiple offenses and is convicted again, there may be a possibility that the individual will be sentenced to a period of incarceration.
Alternative Sentencing Options
The Code of Virginia does provide for a first-offender disposition as an alternative sentence to some theft charges in Stafford County. Not all jurisdictions use it, and it is not always immediately available in Stafford County. For that reason, it is a good idea to hire an attorney to help present mitigating evidence on behalf of the individual, which can ensure the availability of a first-offender disposition. An individual could find great risk in facing a theft charge alone because they will not know whether or not the prosecutor is going to agree or disagree to first offender treatment. If an individual goes in and finds out the prosecutor does not agree, then they could be facing possible conviction.
Role of an Attorney
There are two key roles in representing somebody charged with theft, and minimizing any potential theft penalties in Stafford County. From a legal perspective, an attorney could determine whether or not the government is able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and prepare possible defenses which could be used if the case goes to trial. The second is to predict what might happen if the government is able to prove their case, and what an attorney will do in response to that ability. To that end, very often attorneys will assist the client in doing things prior to court, which will help lessen the penalties upon conviction. These things can result in a sentence or outcome which is far better than it would be had the individual done nothing.