The Commonwealth of Virginia divides most theft-related crimes into categories under the subheading of larceny. The type of crime, or category of crime, a person is charged with depends on the facts of the case. For instance, larceny crimes generally involve someone taking a valuable item from a person without threat or violence. Offenses like robbery also involve an individual permanently taking something of value from someone. However, the facts point to the accused individual using force or threat of violence. If you or a loved one has been charged with theft, contact a Virginia theft lawyer immediately. It’s in your best interest to protect your rights by fighting the charges.
There are two types of larceny in the Commonwealth: grand and petit. Both have the same legal definition. A person is guilty when he or she intentionally takes and carries away someone’s personal property without that person’s consent. The charge differentiates based upon the amount or value of the item or items stolen.
Per Section 18-2.95, a person is guilty of this felony crime if he or she:
- Steals a gun (value is irrelevant).
- At least five dollars from the alleged victim directly.
- At least $200 in goods or items.
Petit larceny is defined under Section 18.2-96. It is a misdemeanor. An individual is guilty if he or she takes:
- Less than five dollars from the victim.
- Less than $200 in goods or items from a business or person.
According to Section 18.2-58, Robbery is essentially the crime of theft committed with some level of force or threat of violence. To be found guilty of this offense an individual not only takes money or goods from the alleged victim, he or she also resorts to:
- Violence, such as beating, choking or striking.
- Assault, like placing the alleged victim in fear of serious bodily injury.
- Threats, such as claiming to be armed with a weapon.
Those convicted of robbery face a term of not less than five years in state prison.
According to Section 22-801, burglary is breaking and entering into a home or business regardless of the time of day with the intent to steal money or goods..
Possible Punishment for Theft Convictions
Though you may have been charged with a crime, the Commonwealth still must prove your guilt. If you are convicted of the crime, a dedicated Virginia theft attorney will work hard to mitigate any damage or fallout stemming from that conviction. The following punishments, however, may still apply.
- Grand larceny is punishable by 20 years in prison. At the discretion of the court or jury, you may face up to 12 months in jail and/or pay a fine $2,500.
- You face a possible 30 days to 12 months in jail or a fine of $2,000 for a first petit larceny conviction. With any prior petit larceny conviction in any jurisdiction, you face a Class 6 felony under Section 18.2-104 and could face five years in prison. You may receive up to one year in prison instead, at the discretion of the judge or jury.
- Larceny of a certain animals valued at more than $200 is considered grand larceny and therefore results in the same punishment listed previously. The punishment for taking less than $200 worth of livestock and certain other animals is classified as a Class 6 felony and is punishable by five years in prison or 12 months in jail, per the discretion of the court or jury.
- A conviction for carjacking can result in 15 years to life in prison. You may also face other charges, and additional penalties, related to the carjacking.
- Robbery is punishable by at least five years in prison.
- Burglary, a Class 3 felony, carries a sentence of five to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. If a deadly weapon was used, it is a Class 2 felony. The sentence includes 20 years to life and a $100,000 fine.
Virginia Theft Defenses
One common defense strategy is to attack any alleged evidence pertaining to intent. Your Virginia theft lawyer will conduct his own investigation in the search for evidence that may prove that you had no intention of taking, or permanently depriving, the alleged victim or business of their property. Another strategy involves establishing that you had a good faith belief that the property was actually yours. If this is the case, your lawyer will assist your search for and present any relevant and admissible evidence to defend your case.
Your exact defense will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Your Virginia theft lawyer will go through the process, and the facts of your case, to help you determine the best course of action. To ensure the best possible defense, you should contact a Virginia defense attorney as soon as possible. To start building your defense, contact a Virginia theft lawyer today.