On Theft Cases in Virginia
What are the different types of theft charges an individual can receive in Virginia?
The most common theft charges are petit larceny and grand larceny. Petty larceny is the stealing or the taking away of somebody else’s item, to the value of under $200. Grand larceny is the same definition, but for items worth more than $200.
What are the penalties for being convicted of misdemeanor theft?
Misdemeanor theft is punishable by up to a year in jail, and up to a $2,500 fine. Typically, with theft, there is some sort of restitution involved. You could be court-ordered to go to a shop-lifting course. There are various fact-specific possibilities, including probation and community service, but it depends on the facts of that particular case.
What are the consequences for being convicted of felony theft?
It is punishable by no less than one year in jail but no more than 20 years in a penitentiary.
Why is hiring an attorney for a theft charge important?
It’s very important to hire an attorney to represent you for a theft charge because they can reach out to the victim and see what the restitution is and how we can make it better. They can find out what would make the victim be whole again, from the offense that occurred. A happy victim is a very important part to making the situation in court much better. Then the attorney can talk to the prosecution and look at the merits of their case, if there are merits to the case. That helps determine what kind of defenses you have. Someone who is not legally trained may not know the ins and outs of the legal system and the legal process, and may not know how to handle a case involving property and theft the way an attorney would know how to handle it.
What is the difference between theft and burglary?
Burglary is far more serious than simple theft. Burglary is entering a dwelling house with the intent to commit a theft. A dwelling house could be a person’s home. It includes breaking and entering at night; during the day it is just entering. Crossing that line of stealing from someone’s house is much more serious than simply stealing a TV from the store, for example, where there isn’t that additional degree of violation of somebody’s privacy.
What are the penalties for being convicted of burglary?
For a first-time offense, the punishment is five to 20 years in prison, unless you are armed. If you are armed during the offense, it’s a class two felony, which is punishable by 20 years to life in prison.
What factors does the state look at in a theft case to prove guilt?
The elements are that you have the intent to deprive a person of an item. Then, the value of that item either needs to be less than $200 for a misdemeanor, or greater than $200 for a felony.
What goes into building a strong defense in a theft case?
What goes into building a strong defense is talking about what actually happened from the defendant’s perspective, and whether or not they formulated the intent to deprive a person or entity of their belongings. You also look at whether or not the person was compliant with law enforcement or security, whether or not the person admitted to it, and what statements were made. You have to look at all of the evidence, talk to witnesses, and see if there is some sort of surveillance footage. Then we look into any type of mitigation we could bring to the table in terms of what type of person the individual is and whether this was the first time they ever did anything wrong, or whether there is some criminal history. Those are very important things to look at when formulating a strong defense.